Docked on Lake Erie in the downtown section of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, the USS Cod Submarine and its accompanying memorial are a popular Cleveland tourist attraction. Located near Burke Lakefront Airport and just a block from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the USS Cod is a National Historic Landmark, declared as such in 1976.
The USS Cod was indeed named for the fish that is considered to be the most important "food fish'' in the world. A World War II GATO Class submarine, it was built in 1942 at the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut and launched for the first time in March 1943. It was placed in commission three months later.
During its lifetime of duty, the USS Cod Submarine was used to maim enemy ships, fighting numerous underwater battles during the war. The Cod served in the Pacific theater of the war, destroying many a Japanese vessel and assisting the U.S. in its victories in that portion of the world. The ship was eventually decommissioned and put in reserve in 1946, only to be restored to active duty in 1951, chosen to participate in NATO anti-submarine training exercises. She was decommissioned again in 1954. In 1959, the vessel was sent to Cleveland to serve as a training ship and was eventually turned into a museum in 1976. In all, the ship sunk 12 enemy vessels totaling more than 37,000tons, and damaged another 36,000tons of enemy ships. The Cod received seven battle stars.
Those visiting the Cod today will have the opportunity to view it as it was during the war years as the ship has not been altered in any way. Agile visitors must be prepared to climb up and down small, narrow ladders and make their way in and out of the ship's original hatches. Tours are self-guided and include a chance to experience the way members of the U.S. Navy lived aboard the tight quarters in this historic diesel-electric submarine.
In addition to being a museum vessel, the USS Cod Submarine serves as a memorial to the more than 3,900 U.S. military personnel who lost their lives aboard a submarine during the 100 year history of the U.S. Naval Submarine Forces.
On the shore near the submarine are a number of other items guests can view including a Mark 14 steam-driven torpedo, which functioned as the standard anti-ship weapon during the Second World War. The Mark 14 could travel up to 9,000 yards and carries 600 pounds of explosives. Also on display is a five-bladed, 2,080-lb. bronze submarine propeller that is similar to the two four-bladed propellers used on the Cod. The propeller serves as the location for the plaque that designates the ship as a memorial to the fallen. Guests can also view a type 8A search periscope, originally located aboard a 1950s-vintage submarine.
The submarine is open for tours daily from May 1 through the end of September from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., but guests may view the memorial plaque throughout the year. A small admission fee is charged and is used for the upkeep of the vessel.