Submarine USS S-14 (SS-119) was authorized to be built by the United States Congressional Act of 4 March 1917 which stated in part:”….of the vessels authorized in the ‘Act…’ approved August twenty-ninth, nineteen hundred and sixteen, the construction of the following vessels shall be begun as soon as practical at a cost exclusive of armor and armament not to exceed the following amounts:…eighteen coast submarines to have a surface displacement of about eight hundred tons each, $1,300,000 each,….”
The keel of USS S-14 (SS-119) was laid down on 7 December 1917 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company at Bridgeport, Connecticut. The submarine was christened by Mrs. George T. Parker and launched on 22 October 1919. The S-boat was commissioned on 11 February 1921 with Lieutenant Commander Charles Andrews Lockwood, Junior, in command.
Lieutenant Commander Lockwood, Junior, later, as Vice Admiral Lockwood, directed the highly successful United States Navy’s submarine effort in the Pacific during most of the Second World War.
When commissioned, the S-3 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 231′ in length overall; had an extreme beam of 21’10″; had a normal surface displacement of 876 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 13’1″. Submerged displacement was 1,092 tons. The submarine was of riveted construction. The designed compliment was four officers and thirty-four enlisted men. The boat could operate safely to depths of 200 feet. The submarine was armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes…installed in the bow. Twelve torpedoes were carried. One 4-inch/50 caliber deck gun was installed. The full load of diesel oil carried was 36,950 gallons, which fueled two 1,000 designed brake horsepower diesel engines manufactured by the Busch Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Company at Saint Louis, Missouri …which could drive the boat, via a diesel direct drive propulsion system, at 15 knots on the surface in relatively calm seas. Power for submerged propulsion was provided by a main storage battery, divided into two sixty-cell batteries, manufactured by the Electric Storage Battery Company (EXIDE) at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…which powered two 600 designed brake horsepower main propulsion motors manufactured by the Westinghouse Electric Company at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…which turned propeller shafts…which turned propellers…which coulddrive the submarine at 11 knots for a short period of time when operating beneath the surface of the sea. Slower submerged speeds resulted in greater endurances before the batteries needed to be recharged by the engines and generators.
Attached to Submarine Division 18, USS S-14 (SS-119) departed the United States Naval Submarine Base at New London/Groton, Connecticut, on 31 May 1921, and transited…via the Panama Canal, California, the Territory of Hawaii, and Guam…to the Philippine Islands. The S-boat arrived at Cavite, Island of Luzon, on 1 December 1921…and commenced operations with the United States Asiatic Fleet.
On 11 October 1922, the submarine departed Cavite and transited to Hong Kong…which she visited from the 14th to the 28th of October.
The S-boat returned to Cavite on 1 November 1922.
Departing Manila on 15 May 1923, USS S-14 visited Shanghai, Chefoo, and Chinwangtao…before returning, via Woosung and Amoy, to Cavite on 11 September 1923.
During the summer of 1924, USS S-14 again visited Chinese ports …and returned to Cavite on the 23rd of September 1924.
On 29 October 1924, USS S-14 departed Cavite and transited to the west coast of the United States. The submarine arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, California, on 30 December 1924.
The submarine remained at the Mare Island Navy Yard during 1925 and 1926…and operated along the west coast of the United States through 1927.
From February of 1928 into 1935, USS S-14 operated in the water approaches to the Panama Canal…although the submarine visited Baltimore, Maryland, from 15 May to 5 June of 1933…and was “in reserve” at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone from 1 July to 27 November of 1933.
Departing Coco Solo on 25 January 1935, USS S-14 transited to the Philadelphia Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for work leading to inactivation…and was decommissioned on 22 May 1935 and laid up in the reserve fleet at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
With World War II clouds looming on the horizon, USS S-14 was recommissioned on 10 December 1940. Following duty along the northeast coast of the United States, and a visit to the Panama Canal Zone, the S-boat operated out of Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands from 31 October 1941 to 1 December 1941.
The United States became an active participant in World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii on 7 December 1941.
During the latter part of December 1941, USS S-14 patrolled in the approaches to the Panama Canal.
From January into March of 1942, USS S-14 operated in Caribbean waters…basing at Saint Thomas.
From April of 1942 into August of 1943, USS S-14 again patrolled in the coastal waters of the Panama Canal Zone.
From September of 1943 into March of 1945, the S-boat operated out of the United States Naval Submarine Base at New London/Groton, Connecticut…and provided services to vessels operating in Casco Bay, Maine.
On 27 April 1945, USS S-14 (SS-119) departed the Connecticut submarine base and transited to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. There, she was decommissioned, on 18 May 1945, and was struck from the Navy List.
On 2 September 1945, World War II officially ended with the signing of the instruments of surrender by the Japanese on board battleship USS Missouri…which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, Japan, for that occasion.
On 16 November 1945, Submarine S-14 was sold to the North American Smelting Corporation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…who, subsequently, scrapped the S-boat.