Eugene Wallace Post, Gene to his friends, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 19, 1939 just eight days after his seventeenth birthday serving as a torpedo man. The U.S.S. Growler, a Gato-Class submarine, was commissioned on March 20, 1942, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Howard W. Gilmore. Gene was excited to be transferred to this new ship as its initial training took place off our Connecticut shores. But it wasn’t long before he was headed to the Pacific, arriving in Pearl Harbor on May 31, 1942. Growler’s eleven war patrols took her as far north as the Aleutians and as far south as Australia and saw plenty of action. In late summer 1944, Growler left on her final patrol in the South China Sea. Growler’s Wolf Pack detected an enemy convoy. The U.S.S. Growler went in for the kill while the U.S.S. Hake and the U.S.S. Hardhead flanked the convoy. It was the last communication heard from Growler. Hake noted in her war diary that she heard two explosions of “undetermined character,” and almost simultaneously, the convoy zig-zagged away from Growler’s position. Hardhead heard what sounded like a torpedo explosion followed by three depth charges on the opposite side of the convoy. Both ships continued to attack, sinking the 5,300-ton tanker Manei Maru. The two ships searched for three days for the Growler and her crew.
On February 1, 1945, the U.S. Navy announced, “Growler is overdue from patrol and presumed lost, cause undetermined. All 86 crew members lost. Over the course of her eleven missions, Growler sank 15 enemy vessels and damaged seven others. Her crew remains on Eternal Patrol as the Growler was never located. There is a stone marker at Fountain Hill Cemetery for Gene but an empty grave.
Visit DRHS on Saturdays throughout the summer for more stories of Deep River’s WWII veterans.