New Photo Donation: Submarine USS Besugo (SS 321)

Thomas Earl Gennette

Thomas Earl Gennette

From time to time, we get something interesting or surprising in the mail. We recently received a wonderful collection of photographs – completely unsolicited – from Marie Gennette. Upon opening this unexpected package, we were delighted to find dozens of black and white images from the 1940’s. The photographs were from the collection of her father, Tom Gennette, a sailor from Fort Benton, Montana. He’d served in the Navy as a Fireman in the late 1940’s, and the images document a portion of his service. In particular, his time serving in the submarine USS Besugo (SS 321) is very well represented in the collection.

We’ve scanned just a small sample of the Gennette images, and want to share a few with you here in this story. The collection seems to primarily focus on life on board Besugo, likely during her 1947 Far East cruise. A selection of images ashore in China (one of which bears the caption “Tsingtao”) seems to confirm that suspicion. There are numerous images taken on board the submarine (most of them on deck with the submarine on the surface), primarily showing the crew lounging around or mugging for photos. There are photos of sailors operating machinery, loading torpedoes, and tinkering with film projectors. There are views of a dog that was perhaps the ship’s mascot, and a few images of a crossing the line ceremony. Also included are a series of images of what appears to be a hasty wedding for one of the sailors. There are even a couple of photographs taken through the sub’s periscope. Unfortunately, most of the images do not have captions, so the identities of the men shown are not known.

We have contacted the Photographic Section of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), and have arranged the transfer of these images to their collection. There, the images will be archived and made available to researchers. You can see images of USS Besugo on the NHHC website here.

We thank Marie Gennette for her generous donation!

Gennette Besugo 6

Gennette Besugo 7

Gennette Besugo 4

Gennette Besugo 1

UPDATE: Marie Gennette has uploaded the full collection of photos online, if you are interested in taking a look, please go to her Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/margen2013/. Many thanks to Marie for sharing the link with us!

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10 Responses to New Photo Donation: Submarine USS Besugo (SS 321)

  1. Harper Brame says:

    I served on the Besugo With Thomas Earl Gennette on the far east patrol to Tsingtao etc. I was surfing the web pages and recognized his picture as someone I knew and served with. That was an interesting patrol,particularly Tsingtao. I would be interested in getting the full set of pictures, but I would also be interested in discussing the cruise with his daughter Marie. My home phone is 704-554-0771 in Charlotte ,NC. I’ve lost contact with with all my fellow members of the Besugo 321, and it was good to see a picture of someone I knew.He was a fine fellow and good shipmate. (If possible, will you pass this note to his daughter Marie) Sincere thanks to her for her thoughtfulness and to you’ll for followup with her work. Harper Brame

    • admin says:

      Thank you for this message Harper. We have passed your information on to Marie and we hope the two of you connect!

  2. Steve Bakken says:

    My father Carrol Bakken was on the Besugo. We have a carved chest that he brought home on the sub from Tsingtao and also photos. He was originally from Minnesota. He was a farmer and businessman in Iowa and died in 2002.

  3. Robert Taber Allured says:

    I too was on the Besugo from Dec 1945 until May 1947. Thanks for shareing.

  4. Larry Otreba says:

    My father, Joseph S. (Joe) Otreba, TM2c, native of Baltimore MD, was on the Besugo from 1945 til he mustered out of the Navy in October 1947. Dad worked for Proctor & Gamble from 1948 to 1986 and always fondly spoke of his time in the Navy, his shipmates, and had many photos of his time that we could easily donate to this collection. I served as a TM in the Navy from 1970 to 1976 and serviced submarines of Sub Flot 1 San Diego which included Squadrons 3 & 5 while aboard USS Sperry AS-12. Dad left this life in May of 2008 at age 85. BRAVO ZULU and ‘Sailor Rest Your Oar’! If anyone would like to contact me about Joe, feel free at baridaddy@yahoo.com

  5. Jim stephenson(SS)(DV) says:

    I just found this website concerning the USS Besugo. My father, Robert L.Stephenson EM3(SS),was also stationed on the USS Besugo during WWII. He participated in the sinking of the last German U-boat, sunk by the US. He had in his memorabilia more photos, ID cards, War patrol cards, and even some liberty cards. I donated his uniforms and the ships war patrol notes to the Farragut naval museum. I still have many photos and such and if there might be something the Foundation might be able to use, please let me know @ mountaincruiser@hotmail.com. Thanks

  6. Debbie Flavin says:

    My beloved father, Lewis Bradley Fleener, was a radioman on the Besugo during WW II. He shared with us some of the fascinating stories about his experiences aboard the submarine. One of his favorite activities was writing a little newspaper for the entertainment of the crew. Dad spoke fondly of his fellow crew members such as CJ McKinney, Pat Kinny, Seymour (whose cousin was June Allyson), Bornstein, etc. He remembered Karl W, the lone survivor of the U-183. My family has my dad’s uniform, photos, and various mementos. I would love to hear from others who either served on the Besugo or whose family member did. I can be reached at dflavin@arthur.k12.il.us. Thank you.

  7. Joshua Shute says:

    I am looking for anyone who served with my Grandfather Harold Shute aboard the USS Besugo. He passed not long after I was born in 1978 and I have been very interested in his service history. Any information that can be provided to me would be a great help to my records. Thank you for all of his brothers who served along with him.

  8. B Allured says:

    My husband Robert Taber “Bob” Allured was on the Besugo during the last years of WWW11 until May 1947. He had pictures of many of you that I would be happy to share. Unfortunatley he passed away 9 August 2014. I can be reached at ballured@sbcglobal.net. Betty Allured

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