Last Known Activity Grayback’s tenth patrol, her most successful in terms of tonnage sunk, was also to be her last. She sailed from Pearl Harbor on 28 January 1944, for the East China Sea. On 24 February Grayback radioed that she had sunk two cargo ships 19 February and had damaged two others (Taikei Maru and Toshin Maru sunk). On 25 February she transmitted her second and final report. That morning she had sunk tanker Nanho Maru and severely damaged Asama Maru. With only two torpedoes remaining, she was ordered home from patrol. Due to reach Midway on 7 March, Grayback did not arrive. On 30 March ComSubPac listed her as missing and presumed lost with all hands.
From captured Japanese records the submarine's last few days can be pieced together. Heading home through the East China Sea after attacking convoy Hi-40 on 24 February, Grayback used her last two torpedoes to sink the freighter Ceylon Maru on 27 February. That same day, a Japanese carrier-based plane spotted a submarine on the surface in the East China Sea and attacked. According to Japanese reports the submarine "exploded and sank immediately," but antisubmarine craft were called in to depth-charge the area, clearly marked by a trail of air bubbles, until at last a heavy oil slick swelled to the surface. Grayback had ended her last patrol, one which cost the enemy some 21,594 tons of shipping.
Grayson CO, John Anderson Moore was posthumously awarded after this mission by third Navy Cross (see Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 336 (March 1945))
Grayback ranked 20th among all submarines in total tonnage sunk with 63,835 tons and 24th in number of ships sunk with 14. The submarine and crew had received two Navy Unit Commendations for their seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth war patrols.
Grayback received eight battle stars for World War II service.
Name of Award
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Chief Radioman Thaddeus Bukowski (NSN: 2283332), United States Navy, for gallantry and intrepidity in action in the performance of his duties as Sound Operator in the U.S.S. GRAYBACK (SS-208) during the NINTH War Patrol of that Submarine from 2 December 1943 to 4 January 1944. His outstanding skill and efficiency in operating the Sound Equipment and ability to furnish his Commanding Officer with a valuable flow of information during gun and torpedo attacks against escorted enemy shipping contributed directly to his vessel's success in sinking six enemy ships and an armed trawler for a total of 23,995 tons, and damaging of two additional enemy ships totaling 11,021 tons. His efficiency and coolness greatly assisted his ship in conducting successful evasive tactics during enemy countermeasures. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to all with whom he served and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander in Chief, Pacific: Serial 06666 (November 17, 1944)
Action Date: December 2, 1943 - January 4, 1944
Rank: Chief Radioman
Division: U.S.S. Grayback (SS-208)