USS Harder Memorial

Photo by Rylan A Suzzi

Write-up by Rylan A. Suzzi

Placed by: Utah Chapter of United States Submarine Veterans

GPS Coordinates: 40.44188775552948, -111.93219578198409

Historical Marker Text (1)

Photo By Rylan A. Suzzi

HARDER MEMORIAL

The USS Harder crew under the superb leadership of Commander Samuel D Dealey USN set a war record for submarines by sinking five Japanese destroyers in five days and was credited with sinking 78,000 tons of Japanese shipping before being lost in 1944.

May all the lost Submariners have eternal peace knowing the sacrifice they made helped defeat the evil forces who tried to enslave the world. 

May this hallowed place reflect the bond the living share with those who have given all for the price of freedom and peace.

This memorial was erected by Utah Submarine Veterans in 1997. We appreciate the donations from former crew members and others.

Photo By Rylan A. Suzzi

USS HARDER SS-257

ON ETERNAL PATROL

NAMERATENAMERATENAMERATE
ALTHERR, C.R.MOMM2HATFIELD, H.D.ELECMORGAN, A.B.EM2
BABER, R.O.MOMM2HOOD, E.V.TM1MOSS, R.B.S1
BEUTELSPACHER, W.F.SC3HUTCHERSON, V.W.CMOMMMURRAY, M.H.TM2
BLUM, R.A.MOMM3JAMES, D.R.LTJGOGILVIE, T.D.S1
BOURG, S.GM3JONES, R.E.MOMM3OPISSO, L.A.MOMM2
BROSTROM, W.A.SM1KECKLER, R.W.CEMPAQUET, F., JR.GM1
BUCKNER, T.W.LTJGKELLOG, J.H.EM2PECK, E.R.S1
BULL, C.A.RM2LAKEY, G.W.S1PICK, R.S.S1
CASH, V.J.MOMM1LANE, J.M.EM3PRATT, R.E.S1
CHENARD, R.R.F1LAWSON, H.W.MOMM3PRZYBILLA, R.P.EM2
CLARK, W.L.RT2LEVIN, G.B.RT2ROGERS, M.M.S1
CONLEY, J.C.MOMM1LILLEY, S.B.S1ROGERS, M.M.TM3
CRASK, H.F.S1LO CASCIO, A.PHM1ROOSEVELT, R.B.ENS
CROMWELL, J.E.STM2LOGAN, S.M.LTSAMPSON, P.T.ENS
DAHLHEIMER, D.B.MOMM2LONAS, J.P.CMOMMSCHEIBELHUT, F.X.MOMM2
DALLESSANDRO, V.L.TM1LYNN, H.A. JR.TM3SCHWARTZ M.MOMM3
DEALEY, S.D.CDRMAJURI, F.P.EM1SIMON, D.J.RM3
DEVOE, E.W.F1MANNING, R.E.EM2SLOGGETT, V.L.LTJG
DIAMOND, W.V.RM1MCGREVY, F.B.EM2SMITH, A.TM2
EDGAR, J.M.FC2MCWILLIAMS, G.K.BKR3SNIPES, J.W., JR.MOMM1
FINNEY, C.E.MACHMEDLEY, B.R.RM2SNYDER, W.N.TM3
FISHER, G.R. JR.MOMM3MILLER, C.CTMSOMMERSCHIELD, L.H.COX
GIFFORD, R.L.TM3MILLS, R.R.EM3SPICE, N.MOMM3
GLUECKERT, J.L.MOMM2MOFFETT, C.A. JR.MOMM2SWAGERTY, J.T.MOMM3
GULLY, D.J.Y1MOORE, O.J.SM2WHITE, L.TM3
HALOUPEK, W.O.ENSMOORE, R.CK2YOUNG, B.SC2
ZANDER, W.G.MOMM2

LOST IN WORLD WAR II

24 AUGUST 1944

Photo By Rylan A. Suzzi

U.S. SUBMARINE VETERANS WORLD WAR II

TO HONOR AND PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OF THOSE SUBMARINERS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES DURING WORLD WAR II

U.S.S. SEALIONU.S.S. POMPANOU.S.S. HARDER
U.S.S. S-36U.S.S. CISCOU.S.S. SEAWOLF
U.S.S. S-26U.S.S. S-44U.S.S. DARTER
U.S.S. SHARK IU.S.S. DORADOU.S.S. SHARK II
U.S.S. PERCHU.S.S. WAHOOU.S.S. TANG
U.S.S. S-27U.S.S. CORVINAU.S.S. ESCOLAR
U.S.S. S-39U.S.S. SCULPINU.S.S. ALBACORE
U.S.S. GRUNIONU.S.S. SCORPIONU.S.S. GROWLER
U.S.S. ARGONAUTU.S.S. GRAYBACKU.S.S. SCAMP
U.S.S. AMBERJACKU.S.S. TROUTU.S.S. SWORDFISH
U.S.S. GRAMPUSU.S.S. TULLIBEEU.S.S. BARBEL
U.S.S. TRITONU.S.S. GRUDGEONU.S.S. KETE
U.S.S. PICKERELU.S.S. HERRINGU.S.S. TRIGGER
U.S.S. GRENADIERU.S.S. GOLETU.S.S. SNOOK
U.S.S. RUNNERU.S.S. S-26U.S.S. LAGARTO
U.S.S. R-12U.S.S. ROBALOU.S.S. BONEFISH
U.S.S. GRAYLINGU.S.S. FLIERU.S.S. BULLHEAD
Photo by Rylan A Suzzi

TORPEDO MK.XIV MOD. 3A

Explosive In Head 600 lbs.

Weight Complete 3185 lb.

Size 21” Dia. X 20’6” long.

Low Speed 9000 Yds. at 36 M.P.H.

High Speed 4500 Yds. at 55 M.P.H.

Extended Research:

USS Harder Courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.

Construction on the USS Harder began on December 1st, 1941, six days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan forced the United States into the Second World War. The USS Harder was a gato-class, the first mass-produced submarine by the United States, a diesel-electric submarine, one of the first gato class submarines to be constructed. She was launched on August 19, 1942, and later commissioned on December 2, 1942 when she began active duty.[1] Under the command of Samuel D. Dealey, the Harder sailed from Groton, Connecticut to Pearl Harbor, where she began active combat patrols. From Pearl Harbor, she began her first patrol off the coast of Japan, striking the Japanese Sagara Maru. She returned to Midway Island on July 7, 1943 to refit and receive new orders.

            The Harder began her second war patrol on August 24, 1943, launching from Pearl Harbor with orders to patrol off the coast of Honshu, Japan. On September 9, Harder sank the Koyo Maru, followed by the Yoko Maru two days later. On September 13, she was spotted by Japanese planes and forced to submerge. After evading Japanese search planes, Harder surfaced on September 19 and sank the Kachinas Maru. On September 23, she sank the Kowa Maru and Daishin Maru off the coast of Nagoya Bay. Having spent all her torpedoes, Harder returned to Midway Island on September 28 but was able to destroy two more Japanese boats with her main deck cannon. She made port at Midway Island on October 4.[2]

            On October 30, the Harder joined the USS Snook (SS-279) and USS Pargo (SS-264) to create a “wolfpack.”[3] While patrolling the Mariana Islands in the North-western Pacific Ocean on November 12, the Harder sank two Japanese anti-submarine ships. Changing course to Saipan, Harder encountered three Japanese warships, the Udo Maru, the Hokko Maru, and the Nikko Maru, and was able to sink them all with help from Snook and Pargo. With all her torpedoes spent yet again, Harder returned to Pearl Harbor on November 30.[4]

Crew members of the USS Harder with the ship’s pennant. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

On her fourth war patrol, the Harder left Pearl Harbor on March 16, 1944, along with the USS Seahorse (SS-304). With orders to serve as a lifeguard ship, Harder sailed to Woleai, a small coral atoll in the eastern Carolina islands in the Pacific Ocean, where she rescued an injured pilot who had been shot down. Continuing her patrol, the Harder encountered Japanese search planes on April 13. The Japanese Destroyer Ikazuchi moved to intercept the Harder, but Commander Dealey chose to engage the vessel instead of submerging. The Harder fired four torpedoes, sinking the Ikazuchi. Four days later, Harder encountered a Japanese merchant escort and, firing four torpedoes, sank the Matsue Maru. She then returned to the Fremantle Submarine Base in Western Australia.

The Harder received orders to patrol Tawi-Tawi, an island in the Philippine Sea, where the Japanese fleet had been last spotted. The Harder left Fremantle with the USS Redfin (SS-272) on May 26. Harder encountered three Japanese tanker ships and two destroyers in the Sibutu Passage, a deep underwater channel that separated Borneo and Tawi-Tawi, on June 6. The Harder surfaced and fired three torpedoes at the two warships, with two hitting the Minazuki and sinking it. The other destroyer was undamaged and Harder submerged due to depth charges. The very next morning, Japanese search planes spotted the Harder, and a destroyer engaged her. Commander Dealey yet again decided to attack the destroyer head-on, firing three torpedoes at the Hayanami. Two of the torpedoes hit their mark, and the Hayanami sank. Harder then left the Sibutu Passage and rescued six Australian Coastwatchers off of northern Borneo. On June 9, Harder returned to the Sibutu Passage and encountered two more Japanese destroyers. She sent four torpedoes at the two ships, destroying the Tanikaze and crippling the second ship. The next day, Harder encountered a Japanese task force of three battleships and four cruisers. Commander Dealey commanded the crew to turn the Harder so that she was to the front of the lead cruiser, fired three torpedoes, and immediately submerged. The crew reported a massive explosion just as the Harder passed underneath the lead destroyer. Harder was only 24 meters below the destroyer when her torpedoes hit the destroyer. The Harder then performed reconnaissance on the Japanese fleet at Tawi-Tawi, reporting intelligence to Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commander of the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy. This intel was crucial in Admiral Spruance’s Battle of the Philippine Sea. Harder’s aggressive attack strategy also led Japanese Admiral Soemu Toyoda to believe Tawi-Tawi was surrounded by American submarines.[5] The Harder’s radioman, Calvin Bull, was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during Harder’s fifth war patrol.[6]

 “Sub Is Given Up for Lost”The Wilkes-Barre Record. 1945. p. 3.

 After returning to Fremantle on July 3, Harder began her sixth and final war patrol on August 5, 1944. She received orders to patrol the South China Sea and formed a “wolfpack” with the USS Hake (SS-256), Haddo (SS-255), Ray (SS-271), Guitarro (SS-363), and Raton (SS-270) on August 21. They then attacked Palawan Bay, Mindoro, destroying four Japanese ships. The next day, Harder and Haddo sailed to Bataan and patrolled Dasol Bay. There, they encountered three Japanese ships, the Matsuwa, Hiburi, and Asakazi. Harder sank Matsuwa and Hiburi, but Asakazi was only injured by Haddo, which by then had expended all of her torpedoes. Joined by Hake, Harder followed Asakazi to Dasol Bay, where they encountered a Japanese minesweeper, the Phra Ruang, escort ship CD-22, and destroyer PB-102. Hake and Harder worked to escape the Japanese ships, but at 07:28 on August 24, Hake’s radioman reported 15 explosions in the distance. Afternoon, Hake surfaced and examined the area, but there was no sign of the Harder or any of her crew. The United States Navy declared the Harder lost on January 2, 1945.[7]

 The USS Harder earned the nickname “Hit ‘Em Harder” for her aggressive combat style. She received six battle stars and earned the Presidential Unit Citation. Commander Dealey was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously[8]. Information about the Harder, and any American service vessel, can be found on the Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Walker Neal Snyder

Torpedoman’s Mate, Third Class Walker Neal Snyder was the only casualty aboard the USS Harder from Utah. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 21, 1925. He was originally declared Missing in Action on August 24, 1944, but was later declared Killed in Action.[9] Along with the USS Harder memorial in Bluffdale, Utah, PO3 Snyder is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery.[10] He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation. He was the only surviving son of Guy Mckinley Synder, born in 1896, who was born in Richfield, Utah, and lived until July 12, 1980.[11] His mother, Kathryn Marie Synder, was born on January 11, 1902, and died on February 19, 1933.[12]

Walker Neal Snyder is also listed in the “Killed in Action, Died of Wounds, or Lost Lives as a Result of Operational Movements in Warzones” in the Combat Connected Naval Casualties by States: Volume II under the subsection Nevada, although Walker Neal Snyder was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. Combat Connected Naval Casualties by States: Volume II was commissioned by the United States Naval Department of Information in 1946.[13]


[1] “Sub Is Given Up for Lost”. The Wilkes-Barre Record. 1945. p. 3.

[2] Harder I (SS-257). Accessed March 2, 2022. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/harder-i.html.

[3] The term “wolfpack” when used in terms of naval combat, refers to a coordinated attack group or squadron. Coined by the German Kriesgmarine.

[4] Harder I (SS-257). Accessed March 2, 2022. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/harder-i.html.

[5] PacificWrecks.com. “Pacific Wrecks.” Pacific Wrecks – World War II Pacific War and Korean War. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://pacificwrecks.com/subs/SS-257.html.

[6] “Nebraskan Awarded Bronze Star Medal”. Beatrice Daily Sun. 1945-03-26. p. 8

[7] “Sub Is Given Up for Lost”The Wilkes-Barre Record. 1945. p. 3.

[8] “Navy Man’s Family Will Receive Medal”Eau Claire Leader. 1945-08-28. p. 2.

[9] “Walker Neal Snyder.” On eternal patrol – walker Neal Snyder. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://www.oneternalpatrol.com/snyder-w-n.htm.

[10]“Walker Neal Snyder.” Walker Neal Snyder : Petty Officer Third Class from Utah, World War II Casualty. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=117196.

[11] Snyder, William Orson. “Guy McKinley Snyder.” geni_family_tree, October 23, 2017. https://www.geni.com/people/Guy-Snyder/6000000054258198986.

[12] Snyder, William Orson. “Kathryn Marie Snyder.” geni_family_tree, October 23, 2017. https://www.geni.com/people/Kathryn-Snyder/6000000054258675878.

[13] Combat Connected Naval Casualties, World War II, by States. 2. Vol. 2. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1946.

Further References

Primary sources

“Sub Is Given Up for Lost.” The Wilkes-Barre Record. January 3, 1945. p. 3

“Nebraskan Awarded Bronze Star Medal”. Beatrice Daily Sun. March 26, 1945. p. 8.

“Navy Man’s Family Will Receive Medal”. Eau Claire Leader. August 8, 1945. P. 2.

 Combat Connected Naval Casualties, World War II, by States. 2. Vol. 2. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1946. 

Secondary sources

Harder I (SS-257). Accessed March 2, 2022. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/harder-i.html

PacificWrecks.com. “Pacific Wrecks.” Pacific Wrecks – World War II Pacific War and Korean 

War. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://pacificwrecks.com/subs/SS-257.html.

“Walker Neal Snyder.” Walker Neal Snyder : Petty Officer Third Class from Utah, World War II Casualty. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=117196

“Walker Neal Snyder.” Walker Neal Snyder : Petty Officer Third Class from Utah, World War II Casualty. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=117196

News, Deseret. “Utah Submarine Veterans Dedicate Memorial Today.” Deseret News, Deseret News, 27 Sept. 1997, https://www.deseret.com/1997/9/27/19336391/utah-submarine-veterans-dedicate-memorial-today

“Samuel Dealey, USS Harder (SS-257).” The National Medal of Honor Museum, 21 Aug. 2020, https://mohmuseum.org/samdealey/

“Sub Is Given Up For Lost.” The Wilkes-Barre Record, 3 Jan. 1945, pp. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/15307934/sub-is-given-up-for-lost/ 

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