A beautiful 1.75-inch brass coin honoring the men of World War II who gave their lives fighting for our country...
The front of the coin honors the USS Lagarto SS-371. The back has the following quote:
"To the 374 officers and 3131 men of the Submarine Force who gave their lives in the winning of this war, I can assure you that they went down fighting and that their brothers who survived them took a grim toll of our savage enemy to avenge their deaths."
About the USS Lagarto... LAGARTO, under CDR F.D. Latta, departed Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, on April 12, 1945, for her second patrol in the South China Sea. On April 27, she was directed to the outer part of Siam Gulf.
LAGARTO contacted BAYA, already patrolling in Siam Gulf on May 2, 1945, and exchanged calls with her by SJ radar. Later that day BAYA sent LAGARTO a contact report on a convoy she had contacted consisting of one tanker, one auxiliary and two destroyers. LAGARTO soon reported being in contact with the convoy and began coming in for an attack with BAYA. However, the enemy escorts were equipped with 10cm radar, and detected BAYA and drove her off with gunfire, after that the two submarines decided to wait and plan a subsequent attack.
Early on the morning of May 3, 1945, LAGARTO and BAYA made a rendezvous and discussed plans. LAGARTO was to dive on the convoy's track to make contact at 1400, while BAYA was to be ten to fifteen miles further along the track. During the day, numerous contact reports were exchanged. At 0010 on May 4, after a prolonged but unsuccessful attack, BAYA was finally driven off by the alert escorts, and no further contact was ever made with LAGARTO.
Japanese information available now records an attack on a U.S. submarine made by the minelayer HATSUTAKA, believed to be one of the two radar-equipped escorts of the convoy attacked. The attack was made in about 30 fathoms of water, and because of the information presented above, the attack here described must be presumed to be the one which sank LAGARTO.
This vessel's first patrol was in the Nansei Shoto chain as part of an anti-picket-boat sweep made by submarines to aid Admiral Halsey's Task Force 38 in getting carrier planes to Japan undetected. She sank the Japanese submarine RO-49 on February 24, 1945, and participated in several surface gun attacks with HADDOCK and SENNET. Two small vessels were sunk and two more damaged in those attacks, and LAGARTO shared credit for the results with these submarines. Commander Latta had previously made seven patrols as Commanding Officer of NARWHAL. Every patrol made by this officer was designated successful for the award of combat insignia, a record surpassed by no commanding officer in the Submarine Force.
UPDATE: FOUND The wreck of USS Lagarto (SS-371) was found in the Gulf of Thailand on May 18, 2005, by Jamie Macleod and Stewart Oehl of the MV Trident dive boat. The wreck lies in 280 feet of water.
Would make an excellent addition to your collection or for your favorite sailor! Collect the entire series!
OPTIONAL: Our Air-Tite acrylic cases provide the ultimate long-term protection for your coin. They are made of crystal clear, hard Acrylic and will never yellow over time; the foam rings are made of Volara and both are free of PVC that could damage your coin.