Jan 2

The Sinking of the BB Kongo during WWII

Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:01 AM


Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich, USN (Ret.)


In this excerpt, Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich recounts the 21 November 1944 sinking of the Japanese battleship BB Kongo by the USS Sealion (SS-315).

This excerpt comes from Volume I of Vice Admiral Reich’s oral history and covers his career prior to 1963. He graduated from submarine school in 1939 and was assigned to the first USS Sealion (SS-195). In Manila in December 1941, he was lunching on a ship in the harbor when the Sealion (which he had left moments before) was demolished by Japanese bombs. His descriptions of submarine experience in the Pacific and Sea of Japan are graphic and detailed, as are his descriptions of his experiences in destroyers. He concludes his volume with his command of the missile cruiser USS Canberra (CAG-2) and his fight to uncover the flaws in the Terrier missile system. It was this experience that led him inevitably to the job as “czar” of the investigative study of the 3-Ts—Tartar, Terrier, and Talos missiles—as chronicled in Volume II.


USS Sealion (SS-315)

USS Sealion (SS-315). (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)


To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/press/oral-histories.