USS Cobia (SS 245) was launched November 28, 1943, in Groton, CT. In June 1944, it began the first of six war patrols in which she sank thirteen Japanese vessels. By July 1944, Cobia had established itself in the annals of World War II sub history by attacking an enemy convoy bound for Japanese-held Iwo Jima. Cobia sank two vessels, including a troop transport carrying a Japanese tank battalion of twenty-eight tanks. U.S. Marines considered this sinking critical to their success in capturing Iwo six months later.
In 1970, Cobia was brought to Manitowoc to serve as an international memorial to submariners. In 1986, Cobia was incorporated as a part of the Manitowoc Maritime Museum, declared a National Historic Landmark, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a National Historic Landmark, Cobia has been restored to it’s original 1945 configuration. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a guided tour through the boat and see where the crew slept, ate, and prayed to make it out alive.
USS Cobia is a major exhibit at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, requiring thousands of man-hours of maintenance and restoration. Cobia was dry docked in 1996 and went through an intensive interior restoration over the next few years. Staff and volunteers focused on returning the submarine to her 1945 look. In 1998, the Museum was awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program (STEP). This grant helped underwrite interior restoration that included installation of WWII era flooring, bunks, metal trim, and crew lockers.
After many years of meticulous research, cleaning and repair, some of the submarine’s systems have come on-line. Two specific volunteer-led projects was the installation of a DC power drive on board the submarine and the rebuilding of main engines #1 and #2. Other recent successes include the restoration of Cobia’s SJ-1 radar, thought to be the oldest operational radar in the world, and the return of the WWII radio shack to operational status.
Interested in Volunteering?
Cobia volunteers of all kinds make a significant contribution to both the preservation and the rehabilitation of the submarine. Cobia is fortunate to have a truly outstanding and talented volunteer support group. These dedicated individuals have brought to bare valuable skills in the long-term preservation of the vessel. Cobia‘s dedicated volunteers continue to maintain the radios, periscopes, main engines #1 and #2, the high-pressure air compressor, ship’s whistle, the sound powered phones, and repairs to light panels.
Over the years, special projects have been initiated and led by Sub Vets, Inc., U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII, and many of individuals interested in preserving this living memorial to the submarine service. Visit us any time during the year to see the results of this ongoing restoration work and many other submarine related events occurring at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.