Last Update: December 1, 2020

A Tribute Honoring

Arizona World War II Submarine Veteran

James Teel Porter, MoMM1(SS)


Litchfield Park, Maricopa County, Arizona

    James Teel Porter was born on 2 June 1913 in Litchfield Park, Maricopa County, Arizona to Joseph A. and Mina Alice Teel Porter.  James was the couple's youngest of the 3 sons and 4 daughters they raised while Joseph earned a living as an attorney in the city of Glendale.

    James' mother, Mina, was not mentioned in Joseph's death announcement in April 1934 and she is believed to have moved to California along with the couple's children except James.  In the announcement published in the Arizona Republic newspaper on 24 April 1934, James was mentioned to be a "high school student" at Glendale High School at the time and is believed to have graduated before leaving Arizona.   



   On 9 October 1936, James enlisted in the Navy in San Diego where he probably received his basic training.  After "boot camp" he was sent to the Asheville class gunboat USS Tulsa (PG-22) which was famously known as the "Galloping Ghost of the South China Sea".  When James reported aboard the Tulsa on 5 May 1938 he was a Fireman Second Class.  While serving on Tulsa, Navy Muster Reports reflect he reenlisted on 5 December 1939 and was later promoted to Fireman First Class on 16 December 1939. On 11 August 1940, James was transferred to the troop transport USS Chaumont (AP-5) for duty.  Chaumon was in the port of Hong Kong at the time and was on its way back to the United States where it arrived in San Francisco on 5 September 1940.  Porter remained assigned to the Chaumont until 13 August 1941 when he was transferred to the USS Ballard (AVD-10), a Clemson class destroyer that had been converted to an auxiliary seaplane tender.  

     On 14 October 1941, a marriage record found on reflects he married Bette Margaret Palmateer Mesa, Puma County, Arizona.  Bette's family tree reflects she was born in Tempe, Arizona in 1922.  The newly weds became residents of San Diego while James performed his machinist's mate duties on the Ballard there.  James volunteered for submarine duty as on 23 June 1942 Navy muster reports indicate he was transferred to the Henderson Class troop transport USS Henderson (AP-1) as a passenger for further assignment to the Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut.  

     After receiving enlisted basic training, Porter reported to his first submarine, the USS S-38 (SS-143), on 24 November 1942 which had entered the shipyard in San Diego for overhaul after conducting combat war patrols in the Pacific.  On 24 September 1943, Porter was transferred from the S-38 to the Submarine Repair Unit at Navy #89 (North Island) and was assigned to CTF 72's Submarine Relief Crew.  On 20 December 1943 Porter reported for duty on the Gato class diesel electric submarine, USS Albacore (SS-218) which was in overhaul. On 13 January 1944, James Teel Porter, Junior was born in San Diego. 

     With James Porter Senior on board, the Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May 1944 and according to Internet sources, she conducted training exercises with the Gato Class diesel electric submarine USS Shad (SS-235) enroute to Hawaii.  Albacore arrived at Pearl Harbor and spent two weeks of final repairs and training, and began her ninth combat war patrol on 29 May 1944.  During that patrol, she concentrated her operations west of the Mariana Island and around the Palau Island.  She returned to Pearl and prepared for her 11th patrol departing 24 October 1944 under the command of Commander Hugh Raynor Rimmer.

     According to sources, Albacore, with 85 crewmembers on board, topped off its fuel tanks at Midway Island on 28 October, and was never heard from again.   Captured Japanese records after the war revealed a submarine (presumed to be Albacore) struck a naval mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaido on 7 Novemer 1944.  A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface, which was believed to be from the Albacore


Albacore Ship's Patch USS Albacore (SS-218) Albacore's Loss Location
Albacore Crew Photo (Date unknown)


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

The source of the above "mini-plaque" is


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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.