Alston, Augustus Howard, Jr., LCDR

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1941-1943, USS Pickerel (SS-177)
Service Years
1927 - 1943
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

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Home State
South Carolina
South Carolina
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sheila Rae Myers, HM3 to remember Alston, Augustus Howard, Jr., LCDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Charleston, SC
Last Address
1515 Wrightsboro Rd
Augusta, GA

Casualty Date
Apr 03, 1943
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Other Explosive Device
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Court 5 (cenotaph)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

USS Pickerel (SS-177) began her 7th war patrol on 18 March 1943 and topped off her fuel tanks at Midway, 22 March 1943. She was never heard from again and was the first submarine lost in the Central Pacific Area. Commander Alston Jr. was listed as missing in action and later declared dead 10 August 1945.

Service number: 070184

Command positions:
Executive Officer - USS Pickerel (SS-177) - 1/1/41-10/8/42
Commanding Officer - USS Pickerel (SS-177) - 10/8/42-death

Submarine war patrols: USS Pickerel (SS-177) - 3rd through 7th

Bronze Star
For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of (the USS PICKEREL) during a War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters. An Aggressive leader and brilliant tactician, Lieutenant Commander Alston boldly intercepted and vigorously engaged hostile convoys and conducted intensive engagements to sink or damage an important amount of Japanese shipping. By his expert, cool and courageous action in the face of grave danger, (he) contributed essentially to the success of his ship throughout a period of bitter offensive action and his zealous devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself, his gallant command and the United States Naval Service.
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USS Pickerell (SS-177)
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End Year

USS Pickerel (SS-177), a Porpoise-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the pickerel, a young or small pike.

Her keel was laid on 25 March 1935 by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 7 July 1936 sponsored by Miss Evelyn Standley, and commissioned on 26 January 1937, Lieutenant Leon J. Huffman in command.

She departed Pearl Harbor on 18 March 1943 and, after topping off with fuel and provisions at Midway Island on 22 March, headed for the eastern coast of northern Honshū, Japan and was never heard from again. Pickerel was the first submarine to be lost in the Central Pacific area. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 August 1943.

Post-war analysis of Japanese records give conflicting suggestions about Pickerel's fate. The Japanese officially credit her with sinking Submarine Chaser Number 13 on 3 April and Fukuei Maru on 7 April, and give no official report of her destruction. Those records also describe an action off Shiramuka Lighthouse on northern Honshū on 3 April 1943 in which naval aircraft first bombed an unidentified submarine, then directed Shiragami and Bunzan Maru to the spot, where they dropped twenty-six depth charges. A large quantity of oil floated to the surface, which was often enough for Japanese ASW ships to believe their target was sunk. It is likely Pickerel's fuel oil bunkers leaked. Since there were several other ASW operations in the area in that period, and Pickerel was the only American submarine in that area; one of these other attacks, sometime after 7 April, probably claimed her.
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Apr 3, 2014
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