The USS Runner (SS-275) was a Gato-class World War II era submarine.
The namesake of the USS Runner is any of certain species of fishes in the family Carangidae (order Perciformes), which also includes the jacks, amberjacks, and pompanos. The blue runner (Caranx crysos) is a shiny, greenish or bluish fish of the Atlantic. Like others in the family, blue runners have deeply forked tails. They are popular game fish that reach lengths of sixty centimeters (two feet).
On May 28, 1943, the USS Runner, captained by Lieutenant Commander Joseph. H. Bourland, departed the Midway Island submarine base on her third and final war patrol. Her orders were to proceed to coordinates 48° 30' N, 154° 0' E, which is in the Kurile Islands, and from there to patrol southwesterly until she reached the Hokkaido and northeast Honshu area. Once on station there, she was to patrol that area from June 8th until July 4th. She was expected to return to Midway Island between July 11th and July 15th. No word was heard from her while she was on patrol and she failed to return to Midway as expected. On July 20, 1943, she was posted overdue and presumed lost. 1
On October 27, 1943, Runner was declared overdue and presumed lost:
Navy Department Communiqué No. 477, October 27, 1943
1. The U. S. Submarine Runner is overdue and must be presumed to be lost. The next of kin of personnel in the Runner have been so informed.
She was struck from the Navy list on October 30, 1943.
The Runner was probably lost sometime after sinking the Japanese cargo vessel Seinan Maru, on June 11, 1943, at the geographic position 41° 00' N, 141° 30' E. This is the Runner's last known position. A summary of Japanese antisubmarine attacks received after the war did not contain conclusive evidence of an attack which could be tied to the loss of the Runner. According to Wilfred J. Holmes, the captain of the Runner had been cautioned to stay outside of the 100-fathom curve in order to avoid minefields northeast of Honshu. At that time it was not known that the Japanese were laying anchored mines there within the 250-fathom curve. Holmes attributed the the losses of the Runner and the Pompano to the new minefields. 2
Records of the Submarine Operations Research Group (SORG) score the USS Runner with sinking three cargo vessels with a gross tonnage of 19,800 and damaging three cargo vessels worth 19,000 tons. Her JANAC score is two vessels sunk, for a total of 6,274 tons. The Alden-McDonald score for the USS Runner is one vessel sunk, for 1,338 tons and one vessel damaged, worth 9,625 tons. I note that the Alden-McDonald analysis for Attack Number 928 indicates that the Shinryu Maru was not sunk by the Runner as indicated in its JANAC score. The vessel was en route to Otaru and Matsuwa with gasoline, shells, and 188 military passengers when it ran aground on June 26, 1943, at 49° 06' N, 153° 15' E. Bad weather delayed removal of the passengers. In the early morning hours of June 29 an explosion occurred from an unknown cause; the ship burned and most survivors tried to swim to Banjo Jima in cold and stormy seas. At about 0330 hours the ship blew up killing 97 passengers and 32 crew members. Sources indicate the explosion was caused by the ignition of the vessel's bomb load. 3
Runner was awarded one battle star for World War II service.
A list of the personnel lost with Runner is maintained at On Eternal Patrol.
1. United States Submarine Losses World War II, p. 48.
2. Holmes, Wilfred J., Double-Edged Secrets: U. S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific during World War II, p. 156.
3. Alden, John D., and Craig R. McDonald, United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During World War II, Fourth Edition, see USS Runner (SS-275), Attack Nos. 593, 594, 606, 612, 624, 770, 878, 921, 928, 4770, 4818, and 4820; Submarine war patrol reports on CD, data collected by the Submarine Operations Research Group (SORG) in the report "Results of U. S. Submarine War Patrols Listed Alphabetically by Name of Commanding Officer"; Japanese Naval And Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II By All Causes, Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee, USS Runner (SS-275).