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On October 31, 1944, the USS Kete (SS-369), captained by Commander Royal L. Rutter, sailed from the submarine base at Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol. In accordance with Commander Task Force 17’s operation order 366-44, she had been charged with conducting a cooperative patrol in the East China Sea and other nearby areas with the USS Sealion (SS-315). Their task unit designation was 17.1.26. On November 4, 1944, the pair made it to Midway Island and fueled to capacity. While there one Kete crewman suffering from chronic sea sickness was sent ashore and a replacement was received. The task unit departed Midway the same day at 1530 hours. On November 19, 1944, after only one day at her assigned patrol area, Kete reported that her bow planes were out of commission; examination had found metal chips and indications of scoring on the piston. The planes were operative in the emergency position only. In his patrol report Rutter stated “…the same failure which had plagued other submarines had come home to roost.” After her damage reports were dispatched, she stood by to await COMTF17’s orders. On November 20th she was told to proceed to Saipan for repairs. From November 23 to December 22, 1944, the Kete moored in the nest next to the tender Fulton while her bow planes were overhauled. During this period, eight crewmen were transferred and eight replacements were received.

On December 24, 1944, the Kete was finally underway again, to continue her first patrol, this time in company with the USS Kraken (SS-370). In keeping with COMTF17’s operation order 416-44, the submarines used the same task unit designation that had previously been assigned to the Kete and Sealion wolf pack. Kete’s assigned patrol area was in the Ryukyu Islands area. Even though this and her earlier patrol area was in the Empire’s home waters, Kete did not detect any enemy surface vessels susceptible to attack; none of her twenty-four Mark 18-1 torpedoes were used. On January 19, 1945, her deck watch sighted a “floater” and fired 600-rounds from her twenty millimeter gun to sink the renegade mine. From January 22-26, 1945, she stood off various locations in the Ryukyu Islands chain to be available to carry out rescue service for downed aviators during air strikes by carrier-based planes, however she never had the opportunity to do so because no planes were shot down in her area. On January 26, 1945, she was ordered by radio dispatch to head back to Apra Harbor on Guam for a refit. On January 30, 1945, she hove to at Apra Harbor next to the submarine tender USS Sperry AS 12, ending her first war patrol.

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