The history you are about to read was researched and compiled over many, many hours by JOE SABOL GM1(SS) USN Ret who was a member of the Commissioning Crew on 13 July 1943.  Joe is listed in the Crew Personnel Listing on the Raton Web Page.  Joe lives in Spring Hill, Florida and can be reached at (352) 688-2932.  Joe recently resigned as the historian for the U. S. Submarine Veterans of WWII after many years of dedicated service to his fellow submariners.  Joe attended the Raton reunion held in Mobile, AL in 1997 and may be found in the reunion group picture on the Raton Web Page.  Without Joe's help and encouragement the reunions, crew listing development/maintenance, and this Web Page could not have been possible.  If you enjoy reading this gripping story of the Raton during her war years, give Joe a call and let him know how much you appreciate his time and effort to document what the Raton and its crewmembers endured to ensure the freedom that all Americans enjoy and take for granted today.  This Web Page is dedicated to the men who served aboard Raton during WWII, the Cold War, and especially to Raton crewmembers and all submariners who are on Eternal Patrol.
The RATON, an attack submarine, was laid down on 29 May 1942 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, WI; launched on 24 January 1943 and sponsored by Mrs. C. C. West; and commissioned 13 July 1943.  Following training on Lake Michigan, Raton proceeded to Chicago, IL entering the control lock, then through the Chicago River and sanitary canal.  The trip from the lock at Chicago to the trimmed down dry-dock at Lockport, IL was a distance of 34 miles with 53 bridges passed under or through.  Raton entered the dry-dock, which was then pushed down the Mississippi River by the tug Minnesota, a distance of 1,500 miles to New Orleans, LA.  The periscope shears, periscopes, and radar masts were cut off, or removed, for the trip and then had to be re-installed.  Raton was refitted at the Algiers Naval Base and loaded for war.
Raton left New Orleans on 6 August 1943 for the trip to the Panama Canal Zone which was another 1,500 miles.  During the transit, Raton was fired upon by the after gun of a friendly merchant tanker (LTJG John P. Owens was OOD).  Raton arrived at the east side of Coco Solo on 14 August 1943.  During the Raton transmit from Coco Solo to Bal Boa (three times and approximately 160 miles) the crew enjoyed many good liberties.
Raton left Bal Boa for the Galappagoes Island group, arriving on 24 September 1943 and traveled a distance of 1,150 miles.  Dummy torpedo firing, gunnery practice and torpedo approaches (radar/submerged) were conducted.  The crew enjoyed a few swim parties and the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.  Raton departed the Islands, bound for Brisbane, Australia, a distance of 7,700 miles.  En-route, torpedoes were fired at Raton.  Lookout Winfisky, S2C, saw the wakes, gave the alert, Raton altered course, and the torpedoes passed down both sides of the boat.  Raton arrived at Brisbane on 16 October 1943 with two main engine crankshafts out of commission (metal shavings were found in the crankcases).  Again, the crew enjoyed many good liberties.  Much time was spent at the Lenin Hotel, where General D. MacAurthur and his staff were staying, after he fled the Philippine Islands.
RATON WAR PATROL # 1 - Commanding Officer, J. W. Davis CDR USN.
On 13 November 1943 Raton departed Brisbane in company with PETO and COUCAL, conducting submerged and radar approaches, en-route to the Tulagi Island, Solomon Island group, to top off fuel, and then left on her first war patrol, which was conducted in the Bismarck Archipelago-Solomon's-New Guinea area.  On 24 November, acting on DRUM contact, made contact with two cargo-type ships (AK) with two escorts and a "Rufe" type aircraft circling.  Made an end run on four main engines, tracking smoke of the smaller ship.  Near sunset, on 24 November at T-2000 made radar contact at 19,500 yards.  Ships were zigzagging.  At T-2315, fired forward (attack #1).  When firing #5, a premature explosion occurred, blinding the bridge personnel at a range of 2,200 yards.  The smaller ship, warned, turned away.  Heard, saw, and felt three explosions.  As the CO, OOD, and lookouts watched the target, one torpedo hit forward of the bridge, one amidships and one aft.  Saw explosions, heard rumbling, saw ship break up.  Navy recorded it as ONOE MARU, approximately 6,666 tons.  The two escort's countermeasures thwarted four attempts to sink the remaining ship, which escaped.  
28 November sighted smoke, closed, and then submerged.  There were five cargo ships with two escorts bound for RABAUL.  At T-1209 fired six torpedoes (attack #2).  Five hits were felt and heard, two hits were seen on the near Maru, one on the bow, one aft of the bridge, and the ship broke up.  Went to 325 feet, first of 15-20 depth charges.  At T-1307 heard explosions, then breaking up noises, probably from the second ship.  At T-1557, the three remaining Maru's and the two escorts formed up on base course.  At T-1700 we surfaced, saw wreckage strewn over a two square mile area.  Took pictures, gave 20 MM gun crews practice on empty lifeboats and landing craft.  This convoy probably unloaded troops on East New Guinea area and was returning to RABAUL.  This action took place north west of Manus Island.  Navy records indicate ship was HOKKO MARU, 6,000 tons.  At T-1738 sent radio message, reported results and resumed chase of convoy.