Welcome to PigBoats.COM
On October 12th, 1900 the U.S. Navy's first submarine, the USS Holland (SS -1)
was commissioned and put into service. Over the next 40 years, the navy continuously
tinkered with and improved on the concept, creating from scratch the technology
and tactics that would help us win the great struggle of World War II. The 1900
to 1940 time frame also laid the foundation for today's Submarine Service and its'
great nuclear powered fast-attack boats and ballistic missile submarines. Yet,
this highly important and pioneering era is poorly documented and is often quickly
passed over in many publications in favor of the better known and heady tales of WW II and the Cold War.
I had long been fascinated with submarines. When I was a kid, I found an old
book of my dad's that concerned the sinking and salvage of a submarine back in
the 1920's. It was an incredible tale of perseverance and courage that hooked me
for life. I read everything that I could get my hands on and my heroes became the
great submarine captains of WW II . When it came time to decide what I wanted to
do with my life, there really wasn't any question. In September, 1983 I shipped
out to navy boot camp and Submarine School. I was fortunate enough to be offered
a billet aboard one of the few remaining diesel boats, the USS Darter (SS-576),
which was homeported in Sasebo, Japan. I spent the next four years running around
the old stomping grounds of my heroes, living on a submarine very similar to the
ones they took to sea and experiencing many of the same things they did. I left
the navy in 1987 to pursue a civilian career, but never lost my interest and
fascination with submarines. I amassed a fairly respectable library of reference
materials on the subject and became a bit of an amateur historian.
Several years ago, I was surfing the net looking for submarine information
sites when I came across "Through the Looking Glass: A Historic Look at Submarines".
It was a site devoted to the photographic documentation of the Pigboat era. Its'
creator, a fellow submarine veteran and website designer by the name of Ric Hedman,
had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of rare photos to publish. He had done an
outstanding job with the design and execution of the site, it was one of the best
I had seen and indeed had already won several Internet awards. I became enthralled,
and soon began to correspond with Ric via email, helping with the identification
of photos or explaining details. Ric graciously and willingly accepted my help.
Ric and I got along rather famously from the start, and although we have yet to
meet in person (I lived in Texas and now in Maine while he lives on the west coast),
I consider him a colleague and shipmate.
Ric recently bought the rights to the domain name Pigboats.com, and elicited
my help and the help of another fellow submariner, Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (Retired),
in developing this new website. I agreed the name was just too good to pass
up and accepted his offer to help. It was decided to expand upon the concept of
Looking Glass by offering in-depth information and further background stories and
articles. The aim of this new website is to bring to light the important contributions
that were made to our naval heritage during the Pigboat era, but in a readable and
interesting format. Our target audience is the general, non-submariner public, but
we will try to appeal to our shipmates as well. The intention is for this to be an
interactive and collaborative effort, first person oral history being much more
interesting than something interpreted from a text. There will of course be the
pictures, stories and articles concerning submarine technology and tactics, specific
histories of selected boats, and a section were you can help in the identification
or explanation of photos that have stumped us.
If you would like to contribute to the success of this site, contact Ric or myself.
We will review your material and give you full credit for it if it is presented.
As we do not in any way claim to be all-knowing or all-seeing, we also will graciously
accept any corrections to information that is presented here. Help us make this the
best site on the net !!
David L. Johnston