This Day in Naval History - May 15

Story Number: NNS020131-16Release Date: 1/31/2002 10:49:00 AM
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From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1800 - The frigate USS Essex, commanded by Capt. Edward Preble, arrives in Batavia, Java, to escort United States merchant ships. During her journey, she is the first U.S. Navy warship to cross the Equator and the first U.S. man-of-war to double the Cape of Good Hope.

1930 - The streamlined submarine (V 5) is commissioned, then named Narwhal in Feb. 1931, and receives the hull number (SS 167) that July. During World War II, Narwhal participates in 15 war patrols, serving in the Pacific Theatre, earning 15 battle stars.

1939 - A contract is issued to Curtiss-Wright for the XSB2C-1 dive bomber, thereby completing action on a 1938 design competition. Retired from the active Navy in 1947, SB2Cs continues to serve in the reserves until 1950.

1942 - The first Naval Air Transport Service flight across the Pacific takes place.

1944 - PBY-5 Catalina aircraft from (VP 63) and British escort vessels HMS Kilmarnock and HMS Blackfly sink German submarine U 731 off Tangiers.

1969 - The pre-commissioned submarine Guitarro (SSN 665) accidentally sinks while moored at U.S. Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Calif. Due to the damage, her commissioning date is rescheduled to Sept. 1972.

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