Chain of Command Lieutenant Howard Joseph Abbott (Commanding Officer)
Other Memories USS F-4 (Submarine Number 23), 1913-1915. Name changed from Skate while under construction USS F-4, a 330-ton "F" class submarine, was built at Seattle, Washington. Originally named Skate, her name was changed to F-4 in November 1911, while she was under construction. The new submarine was commissioned in May 1913 and operated along the U.S. west coast until mid-1914, when she was transferred to Hawaii. On 25 March 1915, during a routine dive a few miles off Honolulu, F-4 sank in 51 fathoms of water, with the loss of her 21 crewmembers.
The ensuing rescue attempts and successful recovery of the sunken submarine were major events in the history of Navy diving and salvage. Raising F-4 was done under the technical direction of Naval Constructor Julius A. Furer in April-August 1915. Initially, cables were dragged under her hull and she was lifted and towed into shallower water during May. While taking part in the extremely deep diving activities involved in this phase of the operation, Navy Diver Frank W. Crilley performed an act of heroism for which he received the Medal of Honor.
As F-4's weakened hull could not withstand further measures of the type used in the initial lifting, the final part of the recovery effort had to await construction of special salvage pontoons. On 29 August 1915, after the pontoons had been brought to Hawaii from the west coast, and following extensive additional diving work, the submarine was raised from the bottom and taken into Honolulu Harbor for drydocking. Examination of the wreck revealed design defects that were corrected in existing and future Navy submarines, greatly enhancing the safety of the undersea service. F-4 was not repaired. Her remains were buried near the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base in 1940.