Submarine BECUNA

Length: 307 feet, 7 inches

Beam: 27 feet

Displacement: 1,800 tons surfaced, 2,400 tons submerged

Crew: 8 commissioned officers, 5 chief petty officers, 67 enlisted men

Top Speed after Guppy refit: 15 knots (17mph) submerged, 18 knots (21mph) surfaced

Launched in 1944,  Submarine Becuna (SS-319) completed five wartime patrols in the Pacific Ocean. Submarine Becuna is similar to many submarines built in Philadelphia for the U.S. Navy.

Submarine Becuna is a BALAO-class submarine built in New London, CT. During World War II, "Becky" prowled the Pacific Ocean for Japanese ships, and is credited with sinking 3.5 Japanese merchant ships. Converted in 1951 to a Guppy 1A type with sophisticated radar and torpedo equipment including nuclear warheads, she is the only Guppy 1-A submarine on display.

Submarine Becuna's Cold War missions often found her in the Atlantic, trailing Soviet submarines with eavesdropping equipment aboard. She served in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and ended her long and distinguished career as a training submarine.   

Submarine Becuna was decommissioned in 1969 and has belien part of Independence Seaport Museum's Historic Ship Zone since 1996. Submarine Becuna is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, Submarine Becuna received the American Welding Society's Historical Welded Structure Award is an official project of Save America's Treasures.

Historic Ship Collections

Along with the Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna, the Seaport Museum also maintains a vast collection of historical artifacts and records relating to both vessels. The Cruiser Olympia Collection has been inventoried and a collections guide can be found on the Online Resources page of the website.

The Submarine Becuna collection, which is not currently processed, dates from the 1940s until the 1960s. The collection is essentially divided into two parts: the submarine's plans and mechanical operations, and the personal accounts and artifacts of those that served aboard her. Accounts and artifacts include correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, oral histories, biographies and ephemera, like menus, ration cards, invitations, and programs, relating to submariner's time on Submarine Becuna.

For more information about either historic ships' collection, please contact the J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library. If you are interested in donating historical artifacts and records to the collections, please contact the Seaport Museum's Chief Curator.

Want to volunteer on Submarine Becuna? Contact Travis Davis, Superintendent of Boats and Docks at or 215-413-8686.