Submarine Combat World War II
United States USS Squalus 192
Donato (Dan) Persico, Chief T/M
A Survivor of the Submarine U.S.S. Squalus, which sank on May 23, 1939 off the coast of Portsmouth, NH. A faulty main induction valve caused the engine rooms to fill with sea water trapping 26 sailors who drowned. Thirty three others were in the forward section of the Submarine where water-tight doors held back the water. All 33 were rescued by using a rescue bell, designed by Swede Momsen but never used until this disaster. The bell was lowered 3 times to the depth of 240 ft. and secured to an escape hatch bringing up 25 men to the surface. The bell was lowered a fourth time to bring up the remaining eight. Dan Persico, just 21 years of age, was in the last bell. Disaster struck again. The down-haul cable, attached to the bell jammed and couldn't be freed. This cable was then cut leaving the bell attached only to the surface by a single cable that became frayed except for one strand. After several attempts to attach a new cable failed, the bell was raised slowly by hand to prevent breaking the one remaining strand. The final eight men were brought safely to the surface. Chief Persico received the Bronze Star, the Submarine Combat Pin, and Battle Stars during World War II. He also served in the Korean Conflict. When Dan retired from the U.S. Navy he returned to Amsterdam, NY where he lived.
Donato (Dan) Persico died on January 26, 2001.