Her keel was laid down on 27 September 1938 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. She was launched on 15 August 1939 sponsored by Mrs. Edward C. Kalbfus and commissioned on 1 December 1939, Lieutenant Frederick B. Warder (Class of 1925) in command.
The USS Seawolf (SS-197) was a Seadragon-class World War II era submarine. Only four boats of this class were built: USS Seadragon (SS-194), USS Sealion (SS-195), USS Searaven (SS-196), and USS Seawolf (SS-197). In their outward appearance they were almost identical to the Sargo-class boats, however they had a different engine arrangement and all-electric drive. 1
The namesake of the USS Seawolf is the Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), also known as the seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, wolf eel (the common name for its Pacific relative), or sea cat. It is a marine fish, the largest of the wolffish family (Anarhichadidae). They are commonly sighted throughout Asia.
The radio call sign of the USS Seawolf was NAN-EASY-LOVE-WILLIAM.
She was struck from the Navy list on January 20, 1945.
The Seawolf received thirteen battle stars for World War II service. Her JANAC score is eighteen vessels sunk for 71,609 tons. Her Alden-McDonald score is twenty-seven vessels sunk for 97,035 tons and six vessels damaged for 32,950 tons. Her SORG score is twenty vessels sunk for 109,600 tons and fourteen vessels damaged for 74,100 tons.