United States Photo Gallery
Lt (jg) Victor S. Horgan (left) and Lt. (jg) L. Rodney Johnson (right) grew up in Portland and skied the slopes of Mt. Baker together. When war broke out the two old friends found themselves reunited aboard the USS Segundo (SS 398). Johnson was the first to spot the I-401 while Horgan was responsible for plotting her destruction.
When the USS Segundo (SS 398) launched stern first into the Piscataqua River on February 5, 1944, the Portsmouth Navy Yard was the preeminent builder of Balao-class boats. Portsmouth built a total of 80 combat subs during World War II more than half of them Balao-class. The fastest Electric Boat every built a sub was 317 days, but by the time the Segundo was commissioned in May 1944, Portsmouth had reduced that time to a record 173 days.
USS Segundo officers at the sub's commissioning party held on the evening of May 9, 1944 near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Segundo's commanding officer, Lt. Commander James D. Fulp Jr., is seated on the extreme left.
"Let them eat cake!" The crew of the USS Segundo are shown celebrating their sub's commissioning at a party held near Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the evening of May 9, 1944.
J.D. Fulp, Jr. is shown standing at attention (extreme right) at the Bailey Military Institute (BMI) in 1928. Fulp's father, who was called the "Colonel," was superintendent of BMI, which was located in Greenwood, South Carolina. The military academy eventually closed and was converted into a hospital.
Wedding photograph of Lt. Commander J.D. Fulp, Jr. with his Honolulu-born and bred bride, Marion Waterhouse Isenberg. Marion came from a prominent Hawaiian family that once owned the land that would become Pearl Harbor naval base. With the winds of war fast approaching, Fulp undertook a whirlwind, six week courtship before marrying his 19 year old bride on their tenth official "meeting." The outdoor ceremony took place on August 3, 1940 on the grounds of Marion's parent's house. It was by all accounts a long and happy marriage.
October-November 1944: Segundo crew members enjoying some much deserved R&R on Majuro atoll following their first war patrol. Left to right: Lt. (jg) Jack Brozo; Lt. (jg) Lewis Rodney Johnson; Lt. (jg) Victor Horgan; Executive Officer, Lt. Commander John E. Balson; Lt (jg) Jack McClaughlin; Lt. Al Cannon.
Officers and crew of the USS Segundo shown during their R&R on Guam following their second war patrol. Though the patrol was an outstanding success, a shipmate paid the ultimate price.
January 1945: the USS Segundo is shown in a sub nest at Guam in between her second and third war patrols. She appears bottom left of this photo with the hull number 398 painted on her bow.
Commander Fulp having some fun on an Oahu beach March-April 1945 during the Segundo's R&R in Hawaii after her third war patrol.
The Segundo's future commanding officer, Lt. Commander Stephen L. Johnson, is shown standing exactly in the center of the back row of the 64th Submarine Officer Basic Training Course in Groton, Connecticut. Johnson readily admitted he was far from an outstanding student graduating 30th out of a class of 43. Nevertheless, when it came to his show down with the I-401, Johnson proved it takes more than good grades to defeat an enemy.
A Japanese hospital ship as seen through the periscope of the USS Segundo (SS 398) during one of her Pacific war patrols.
May 29, 1945: On her fourth war patrol, the Segundo intercepts a sampan suspected of carrying supplies to Japan. When Japanese markings were discovered on the bow of a samapan, Commander Fulp had no choice but to sink her.
Carlo Carlucci (sitting left and all smiles) celebrates surviving the war with his Segundo crew mates at a bar in Seattle, September 1945.
James D. Fulp's class of 1934 entry in the U.S. Naval Academy's "Lucky Bag" yearbook was highly complimentary of the Segundo's future commanding officer. Fulp's classmates cited him a "natural leader" and "true southern gentleman." They also credited his football tackling ability to "some mixture of iron." Though women found the handsome Fulp attractive, his classmates ribbed him for failing to reciprocate saying, "many...of the fair sex...have given up in despair."
Stephen Lobdell Johnson, tellingly nicknamed "Slick" by his friends, was the first to admit that academics were not his strong suit. His Annapolis classmates agreed. In the entry under Johnson's class of 1939 photo in the U.S. Naval Academy's "Lucky Bag" yearbook, they remarked:
"Although Steve failed to get an N-star, five stripes, or passing marks in numerous subjects, his four years were by no means fruitless, because he did manage to learn to make excellent coffee, and to acquire a top hat...The sub, weak, and extra duty squads held no terror for the Lafayette Laughing Boy, although they did often interfere with his afternoon siestas."
Unsurprisingly, Johnson graduated 576th out of a class of 581 midshipmen. Nevertheless, he would prove to be one hell of a sub commander.
Portsmouth subs like the Segundo had a more angular silhouette than those of Electric Boat. Edward Beach, author of Run Silent, Run Deep and a sub commander himself, said Portsmouth boats looked like "sleek, streamlined monsters."
Only three weeks after his twentieth birthday Fireman, First Class George H. Saunders paid the ultimate price during the Segundo's second war patrol in the South China Sea. He'd been aboard the sub less than a month, but the crew still mourned his loss especially since Saunders marked the Segundo's first wartime casualty.
Chief Petty Officer, Carl Stallcop, served on all five of the Segundo's war patrols. Like more than half her crew, he'd been with the boat since her commissioning. In other words, when the Segundo crossed paths with the I-401 on August 29, 1945 she was a well-seasoned combat sub despite what some of her officers may have thought of their new, unproven skipper.
Souvenir tag commemorating the USS Segundo's launch in February 1944.
February 1944: Candid photo taken by USS Segundo crew member, Jack Davis, of the sub's launch at Portsmouth Naval Yard.
Seaman First Class Harold Schedin served on all five of the Segundo's war patrols.
Quartermaster Third Class Jack Davis also served on all five of the Segundo's war patrols.
Quartermaster Third Class Carlo "Charlie" Carlucci was new to the Segundo when he came just prior to the sub's fifth war patrol. "One hundred and seventy five pounds of solid muscle," Carlucci was, "afraid of nothing!" Responsible for signaling the I-401 to stop, Carlucci was also a member of the the Segundo's six man boarding party sent to capture the Japanese sub.
Lt. John E. Balson was the USS Segundo's Executive Officer. He served on all five of the sub's war patrols under both her skippers: Commander James D. Fulp, Jr., and Lt. Commander Stephen Lobdell Johnson. Fulp nicknamed Balson, "Silent Joe," which was the pot calling the kettle black given Fulp wasn't exactly loquacious. Balson's personal restraint came in handy though when Captain Johnson named him to lead the six man party responsible for boarding the recalcitrant I-401. Balson is shown here receiving the bronze Star for his efforts.
UPDATE: Am sorry to report that Lt. John E. Balson, Executive Officer of the USS Segundo (SS 398), passed away on May 14, 2013. A Segundo "plank owner", "Silent Joe" led the boarding party that captured the I-401 sub just five days before Japan signed the instrument of surrender. Rest your oar, sailor.