Navy Yard in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
USS Balao (SS-285)
Displacement: 1,526 [tons](surfaced), 2,414 (submerged)
Length: 311' 9"
Draft: 16' 10"
Speed: 20.25 k. (sufaced), 8.75 k. (submerged)
Complement: 6 officers and 60 enlisted men
Armament: 10 21" torpedo tubes, 1 4" gun, 2 20mm. A.A. guns
USS BALAO's keel was laid by the Portsmouth (NH) Navy Yard on 26 June 1942. She was launched 27 October 1942 (sponsored by Mrs. Theodore C. Aylward) and commissioned on 4 February 1943, LCDR Richard H. Crane commanding.
BALAO's combat operations spanned the period from 25 July 1943 to 27 27 August 1945. She carried out 10 war patrols, during the course of which she was credited with sinking seven Japanese ships, totaling in excess of 32,000 tons, as well as 1,100 tons of small craft sunk by gunfire. BALAO earned nine battle stars for her World War II service. Her battle flag was designed by a Disney artist at the request of Motor Machinist Mate 3rd Class William G. Hartley in 1945.
BALAO returned to the United States in 1946, ultimately arriving at New London, Connecticut, where she was decommissioned on 28 August 1946 and placed in reserve.
Recommissioned on 4 March 1952, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and based at Key West, Florida. There, she served
Erected by U.S. Navy.
Location. 38° 52.376′ N, 76° 59.921′ W. Marker is in Navy Yard, District of Columbia, in Washington. Touch for map. The marker is on the starbord side of the restored conning tower which is on the lawn, near the Anacostia River, approximately 70 yards southwest from the corner of Sicard Street and Isaac Hull Avenue, SE. Marker is in this post office area: Washington Navy Yard DC 20374, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "4-in. 40 caliber rifles" (within shouting distance of this marker); Frank W. Crilley Building (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Leg of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren (about 500 feet away); Willard Park Washington Navy Yard Chapel (about 700 feet away); 16-inch Projectiles (about 700 feet away); Navy Gun Car (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named Willard Park (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Navy Yard.
More about this marker. Parking is restricted during business hours. Visitors without military identification are required to enter the Yard via the west (Isaac Hull Avenue) entrance off M Street, SE. Drivers must obtain a visitor's pass and proceed to an authorized parking area as directed.
Regarding USS Balao (SS-285). Please feel free to edit the following change to the caption that appears beneath the Balao battle flag: This is the original Battle Flag created in 1944 by Bill Hart. Bill together with shipmate Joe Klein donated the flag to the Department of the Navy Historical Center at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard in 1982.
Also see . . . USS Balao Photos. More photos of the USS Balao. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
1. "Battlin Bee" emblem
In a number of places on the internet, including this site, it is stated that the "Battlin' Bee" emblem of the U.S.S. Balao (SS 285) was "designed by a Disney artist". The artist was in fact Pearl Harbor veteran Bill Hart, who was like my father Joseph F. Williams, a 1943 Balao plank-owner. I have an original painting of the "Bee" emblem given to me by Bill Hart many years ago, with the following inscription: "This is a replica of the original "Battlin' Bee" designed and painted by me on the fifth war patrol of the USS Balao (SS 285) in 1944.
The original emblem was flown on a burgee type of flag... as the Balao skimmed in under the Golden Gate Bridge in October of 1944. I now have the original flag in my posession. A copy of the battle flag (with the "bee" emblem) was made and additional Japanese ensigns added. At last report the flag occupied a space in the EM Club at Pearl Harbor." Bill Hart died at Seattle in 2002, and his old Balao shipmate and best friend my dad, died aboard the U.S.S. Nerius (AS-17) in San Diego Harbor fifty years ago this month, September 1959 at the age of 37 years.
If anyone has an interest in an email copy of Bill Hart's "Battlin' Bee" motif or his supporting letter, I am happy to provide it. As for the Disney connection, Bill
— Submitted October 1, 2009, by Bruce Williams of Centerville, Massachusetts.
Categories. • War, World II • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,499 times since then and 43 times this year. Last updated on October 2, 2009, by Bruce Williams of Centerville, Massachusetts. Photos: 1. submitted on August 17, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2. submitted on August 18, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on August 17, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 1, 2009, by Bruce Williams of Centerville, Massachusetts. 7. submitted on August 16, 2012, by Larry Sorensen of Cumming, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.