Vic Krygowski joined the Navy while he was in college before the US became involved in World War II. He was commissioned as an Ordnance Officer and went through torpedo school opting to become part of a submarine squadron.
He was first assigned to the USS Beaver and went to Britain dodging the German wolf pack in the Atlantic before heading back to the Aleutians Islands for a tour of duty on a sub tender. While at Attu Island he was finally granted submarine duty aboard the SS-292 Devilfish, one of a brand new fleet of submarines destined for the south Pacific.
Following active duty, Vic worked for Western Electric Company building secret, sound-sensing torpedoes. Vic’s interview was conducted in 2008.
Images: Top left, the USS Beaver; right, Vic and his wife Irene, 2009; bottom left, Vic and former shipmate George Reynolds
courtesy vic krygowski
- Complete transcript, no audio or images (148 KB)
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Transcript summary (39 KB)
- Entering military service audio / transcript
- Training for Navy service and submarine school audio / transcript
- Assignment to a submarine tender – USS Beaver audio / transcript
- Leaving for Scotland aboard the USS Beaver in a convoy of ships, attack by a German U-boat wolf pack, conversion of the USS Beaver from a pleasure craft to a submarine tender, purpose for going to Scotland audio / transcript
- Submarine squadron 50, participation in the war in North Africa, the USS Beaver in Great Britain audio / transcript
- Assignment to lookout on the bridge, torpedo hit on a ship carrying fuel, watching men burn and die on the ship, trying to rescue several men from the water, thoughts about seeing the horrible tragedy, hospitality of Scottish people, setting up the officer’s club in Rosneath audio / transcript
- Submarine duty on Attu, trip from Scotland to Attu, crossing the 180th parallel three times audio / transcript
- Description of USS Beaver and deficiencies in the ship for military service, switching from deck officer to the engine room, working as an engineer on a steam driven engine, making coffee on a high pressure steam line audio / transcript
- Scotland, duration of trip from Scotland to the Aleutians, men returning from liberty on Attu with Japanese guns and ammunition, Japanese corpses on Attu audio / transcript
- Knowledge of battle of Attu, Japanese bomb Attu while men watch a movie audio / transcript
- Service to S type submarines, primitive nature of S type submarines, assignment to Devilfish submarine audio / transcript
- Submarine missions in the Aleutians, purpose of the sub tender, base at Attu, USS Beaver as the only sub tender in the Aleutians, where the sub sailors stayed on Attu audio / transcript
- Food on board the USS Beaver and on submarines, impressions of the Aleutians as a young man, submarine school, choosing which submarine to sign on to audio / transcript
- The Devilfish (SS-292), Cramp Shipbuilding Company, Devilfish sister ships, sequence of completion of the Cramp submarines, learning of the fate of the Escolar and Hackelback while enroute to Hawaii in the Devilfish, Cramp Shipbuilding boats earn the title of “jinxed” audio / transcript
- Fate of two officers after transfer to another sub audio / transcript
- Kamikaze aircraft hit on the Devilfish audio / transcript
- Career with Western Electric following the war, secret torpedos audio / transcript
- Discharge from service, marriage, considering a job with both General Electric and Western Electric, years of employment at Western Electric audio / transcript
- War time experiences that shaped his life, facing death, keeping in touch with ship mates, meeting fellow ship-mate George Reynolds after many years had passed audio / transcript