Last Update: December 4, 2020

A Tribute Honoring

Arizona World War II Submarine Veteran

James Edward McGahan


Fort Morgan, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona

        James Edward McGahan is a new name to be added to this memorial plaque.  He was born 1 July 1923 to James Edward and Blanche A. Niles McGahan in Fort Morgan, Colorado. James Edward (Junior) was the couples second child raised by the couple while James (Senior) earned a living as a machinist working in a machine shop.   In 1925, James and Blanche were divorced and Blanche with her daughter, Rose Eileen and sons, James Edward (Junior), and newborn William Mark moved to Arizona. Blanche married George Glen McDowell and the couple took up residence in the Phoenix area where they raised the family.  The 1940 Census reflected James as a freshman and his sister Rose as a Senior  attended high school.  The photograph James cropped from a photo provided by his younger brother, William.  

     On 23 September 1943, Navy muster reports reflect that James enlisted in the Navy.   Although not reflected in the muster reports, James probably received his basic training at the San Diego Naval Training Center in California.   From there it is believed he attended enlisted submarine basic training in New London, Connecticut.  The muster reports show that he reported to the Gato class USS Snook (SS-279) on 31 May 1944 as a Seaman First Class. At the time, Snook was at Hunters Point Navy Yard undergoing a major overhaul.  Snook left the West Coast and on 24 June 1944 departed Pearl Harbor for its 6th patrol.   While serving on Snook James McGahan was promoted to Quartermaster Third Class Petty Officer on 1 March 1945, was awarded his dolphins becoming a qualified submariner and made Snook's 7th and 8th combat war patrols.  On 25 March 1945, Snook with 84 men on board under the command of Commander John Franklin Walling departed Guam for its 9th and final war patrol.  On or about 9 April 1945, Snook was lost at sea with all hands on board by unknown causes.  One report raises possibilities of her loss to depth charging by a patrol aircraft on 14 April or torpedoes by a Japanese submarine, the I-56.


Ship's Insignia USS Snook (SS-279) Snook's Loss Location

USS Snook Ship's Crew Photo (date unknown)


  More information about and the names of its crewmembers, go to the following link:

     James younger brother William Mark McDowell was born in Phoenix, Maricopa County on 1 October 1929.  He joined and served in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Korean War.  William died in 2011 while residing in Arroyo Grande, California.   James older sister Rose Eileen married Richard Eckert, divorced him, and she died in 2001 while living in Los Angeles, California.


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Website developed and maintained by Ray Olszewski USS TUNNY (SSG-282) 1958-1962 Boat Yeoman YN1(SS) and IS1(SS) USSVI Life Member and Author of USS TUNNY: A History, Tribute and Memoir.