Last Update: November 22, 2020

A Tribute Honoring

Arizona World War II Submarine Veteran

Louis Richard Orth, SC1(SS)


Oakland, California

      Lewis R. Orth as identified on the plaque is actually Louis Richard Orth born on 18 July 1922 in Oakland, California to Richard Louis and Helen Lillian Wilson Orth.  Louis was the oldest of three children raised by the couple while Richard earned a living working as a Drayman on a farm in Sonoma County.  On 18 October 1927, Louis' twenty-seven year old father of three, was killed in an accident while at work.  Louis, the oldest of the three, was 5 years of age at the time of his father's death. His mother, Helen remarried and with her new husband, Walter Magee, raised her three children and the couple raised 3 more children. 

     Louis went on to attend and graduated from San Mateo schools. None of the Orth or Magee families were born in Arizona, as they were all born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The only connection made to Arizona was when Louis' wife, Helen, remarried Walter Magee in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona on 19 May 1945 about 6 months after Louis lost his life on the USS Growler (SS-215). 



   On 24 July 1940, at age 18, Louis enlisted in the Navy at the Naval Receiving Station, San Francisco, California.   At the time of his enlistment, he was identified in the Navy Muster Report as a Fireman Third Class ( F3c).  Although the muster reports do not indicate he attended basic submarine training, the reports do reflect that on 16 August 1941, he reported to the Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia from the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut.  Louis was then transported on 28 August 1941 by the stores ship, USS Procyon (AF-61) to Commander Submarine Squadron 3 based at Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone. He then reported to his first submarine on 12 September 1941, the USS R-9 (SS-86).  While serving on board the R-9 conducting shipping lane patrols in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Louis became a qualified submariner.  On 21 April 1942, his rating was changed from a Fireman Second Class (FC2) to Ship's Cook Third Class (SC3c).

     On 1 December 1942, Louis was transferred to the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where he was to become a member of the commissioning crew of the Balao class diesel electric submarine, USS Billfish (SS-286).  While Louis was in New Hampshire, he married Beverly Adair Curl of Los Angeles, California on 5 March 1943.  The couple's engagement was announced in the Sacramento Bee on 5 March 1943.  The Billfish was commissioned on 20 April 1943 and in July, Lewis was transferred back to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Coco Solo Base in the Panama Canal.  From there records reflect that he spent time aboard the USS S-14 (SS-119) for training and on 20 September 1943, he was on board the troop transport, USS Munago (AP-20).  On 15 January 1944, Ship's Cook Second Class Louis Richard Orth reported to the Gato class USS Growler (SS-215) for duty which was ungoing repairs at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard.  Growler had already made 7 combat war patrols in the Pacific.

     With Louis Orth now on board, Growler headed to Pearl and on 21 February 1944 made 3 additional combat war patrols (#8, #9, and #10).  The tenth patrol ended at Fremantle, Australia.  On 20 October 1944, Growler with a crew of 90 men under the command of Commander Thomas Benjamin Oakley, USN was sunk by a Japanes depth charge attack on or about 8 November 1944 in the South China Sea.

    Navy Casualties records reflect the address of Louis' wife, Beverly, was the Palomar Hotel, 435 10th Street, Douglas, Arizona, which ties him to Arizona.


Growler's Ship's Patch USS Growler (SS-215) Growler's Lost Location
USS Growler (SS-215) Growler Crew Photo (Date unknown)  


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



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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.