From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


The bowfin is a fresh water fish of the eastern United States.

(SS-287: dp. 1526; l. 311'8"; b. 27'3"; dr. 16'10"; s. 20.3 k.; cpl. 66; a. 1 5". 10 21" TT.: cl. Balao)

Bowfin (SS-287) was launched 7 December 1942 by Portsmouth Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. J. O. Gawne, wife of Captain Gawne; and commissioned 1 May 1948 Commander J. H. Willingham in command.

Bowfin departed New London, Conn., 1 July 1943 and arrived at Brisbane, Australia 10 August 1843. Between 16 August 1943 and 4 July 1945 she completed nine war patrols operating from the Netherlands East Indies to the Sea of Japan and the waters south of Hokkaido. Bowfin sank 15 merchantmen and one frigate for a total of 68,032 tons. She also shared credit with Aspro (SS-309) for a 4,500-ton merchantman.

Leaving Pearl Harbor 29 August 1945 Bowfin sailed to the east coast, arriving at Tompkinsville, N. Y., 21 September. She operated with the Atlantic Fleet until placed out of commission in reserve at New London, Conn., 12 February 1947.

Bowfin was recommissioned at New London 27 July 1951. Following a short training period she departed for the Pacific, arriving at San Diego 6 October 1951. She continued to operate from San Diego on local operations and training exercises until 8 October 1953 when she arrived at San Francisco to commence inactivation. Bowfin was placed out of commission in reserve at Mare Island Naval Shipyard 22 April 1954.

Bowfin received the Presidential Unit Citation for her second war patrol, the Navy Unit Commendation for her sixth war patrol, and eight battle stars during World War II.