The SS393 Battle Flag & P.U.C.

"Small But Mighty"

Drawing of a Queenfish spitting out a torpedo
Original battle flag design.
Donated by EMC William J. Cavanaugh to
Submarine Force Library and Museum, Groton, CT

The 1944 version.

 1945 after
last patrol

 The refined 1945 version

These photos donated by Harry Hall.

The battle flag being flown on ship.
The photo is flipped for flag comparison.

From Jack Bennet, former XO.

"I've seen erroneous claims on the internet that our QM Cowboy Handrix designed our first battle flag. He did not - what he did was sew the original flag from canvas and I believe was also the one who painted it. "

"I had just reported to the pre commissioning detail as 3rd Officer fresh from 3 mo's sub school. I was a full LT as I'd already spent the first half of WWII in the cruiser SAN FRANCISCO from Pearl Harbor through Guadalcanal and the Aleutians before volunteering for submarines. It was intended that I fleet up and relieve Harry Higgs as Exec when I qualified, which I did. The CO of course was C. Elliott Loughlin. "

"Disney Studios offered a logo for our battle flag which we rejected so Harry's wife Mickey asked her cousin Jack Cunningham, a commercial artist with one of the Big 5 New York advertising agencies, to draw one for us and that is what we adopted - a blue & green fish with a royal crown and red lips spitting out a torpedo.   (I just called Mickey to verify the artist's name). The torpedo has been omitted from time to time due to space limitations but was included on the reproduced cloth copies I had made after the war while we were in Mare Island. I think I ordered 2 dozen battle flag copies and gave them to wartime crewmembers still available. "

"I sent one to Elliott Loughlin and kept one, which is now apparently lost. The original flag disappeared before I could send it to Elliott and I suspect Davey Davisson took it along with the few reels of movies we'd taken. He was photo officer and had custody of the 16mm movie camera, which also disappeared. Of course 7X50 binoculars were magically whisked away faster than I could count. "

"I'm probably the only man aboard who didn't walk off with some loot at the end of the war when the largely reserve crew was paid off. I figured they deserved whatever they could swipe as long as it didn't affect the combat readiness or safety of the ship and I'm sure the COB sensed this and acted accordingly. Their trophies are important to them and perhaps that's all they have to remind them of our unique war in the boats - the few, the elite, which submariners still are."

Battle Flag # 2

Mystery Battleflag
This flag was used in the SSN651 commissioning literature, and a color print was displayed in the crew's mess.  Is it yet another battle flag or a shipbuilder creation?
Color tint by J. Uffelman, Photo by J. Burson

From Jim Romig, 2/6/98:

"In your web page re the old and new Queenfish Subs and their battle pennants. You display the original, a fish spitting torpedoes, and the one used by the 'new' USS Queenfish (SSN 651) a Mermaid type holding a torpedo. Above, over the front of the fish are two Japanese flags one with 2 by it the other with 11 to the left of it. At the rear of the fish is a J flag with the broken sun and a 2 near it. Beneath the prop is the Presidential Unit Citation Pennant. "

"From what I read you folks don't know where the second flag came from. Well I think you will now know. "

"When I went aboard the SS 393 in '52 the flag that SSN 651 used was the only one I ever saw on board. It was still there when I was discharged in '54. There was talk of going back to the original flag/pennant. (I may have seen a drawing of it but I'm not sure)."

"Anyway I was told that an SO1, on board when I arrived, had designed and drawn the Mermaid etc. I believe this to be true. On the wall to my left at this minute is a picture of that design and it has just below the 393, 'R. Pierce', the SO1."

"His name and info as it appeared on the sailing list: Pierce, Robert H., 301 97 45, SO1, USN; Alice Pierce, Mother, Allanson Road, Mundelein, Illinois."

James Grant Romig, "Jim", GM2 (SS) San Diego, CA

"And now you know the rest of the story, good day!" Paul Harvey
Thank You, Jim and Paul.

Presidential Unit Citation



         The President of the United States takes pleasure in
presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the


for service as set forth in the following


     "For extraordinary heroism In action during; the
First and Second War Patrols in restricted waters of
the Pacific. Aggressive and tenacious in tracking her
targets, the U.S.S. QUEENFISH boldly defied severe
air and surface opposition to strike with concentrated
fury at heavily escorted Japanese convoys and combat-
ant units. With her forward torpedoes expended, heavy
enemy air cover overhead and riding dangerously in the
shallow waters of a flat, calm sea, she conducted a
brilliantly executed periscope attack on a Japanese
carrier, escorted by seven surface units, to sink the
hostile vessel and her embarked planes. Comprehen-
sive in her coverage of assigned areas, she launched
her attacks with relentless determination to destroy or
damage thousands of additional tons of shipping vital
to the enemy's continued offensive or defensive warfare.
Daring and skilled in combat, the QUEENFISH also
braved the perils of a tropical typhoon to rescue
eighteen British and Australian prisoners of war,
survivors of a hostile transport ship torpedoed and
sunk while enroute from Singapore to the Japanese
Empire. Her illustrious record of gallantry in action
reflects the highest credit upon the valiant officers
and men who brought her through two successful
patrols to safety."

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