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Joseph Francis Enright (born September 18, 1910 in Minot, North Dakota - died July 20, 2000 in Fairfax, Virginia)[1] was a submarine captain in the United States Navy. November 29, 1944 USS Archer-Fish commanded by Enright sank Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano - the largest vessel ever sunk by a submarine, "most significant single submarine sinking of World War II."[2]

Enright graduated from United States Naval Academy in 1933, served three years on USS Maryland[1] and achieved submariner's qualification in 1936.[2] During World War II lieutenant commander Enright commanded USS O-10, USS Dace and USS Archer-Fish.[2]

Enright assumed command of the newly built USS Dace on July 23, 1943[3] and in October sailed out on her first war patrol into busy Japanese waters. On November 15[4] an ULTRA message alerted him to intercept aircraft carrier Shōkaku; Enright located the target and "made a timid approach, abandoning the effort as daylight approached".[4] He then found another target, a tanker, but was depth charged by escort ships and withdrew from active pursuit.[4] In the end the 49-day patrol brought no results.[4][5] Enright took the blame for failure: "I was responsible for an unproductive patrol and request to be relieved by an officer who can perform more satisfactorily".[5] Admiral Lockwood[4] granted the request and demoted Enright to administrative duties ashore.[5] After half a year at Midway submarine base,[6] Enright requested to be given another submarine command[5] and received "a rare second chance"[4], command of USS Archer-Fish, in September 1944.[6]

Archer-Fish left Pearl Harbor on October 30, 1944 and reached Saipan on November 9.[4] For the next two weeks the submarine provided search and rescue support to American aviators in the areas of planned air strikes.[4] On November 28, when the submarine was patrolling south from Nagoya, radar operator identified a surface contact 12 miles away.[4] Visual contact with Shinano became possible at 2140, and by 2300 Enright identified four escort ships protecting the carrier.[7] At 0241 November 29 the target turned away from Archerfish and then straight at her.[7] At 0317 at a mere 1,400 yards from the target, Enright fired all six available torpedoes at Shinano.[7] Enright stayed at periscope depth to see first two torpedoes hit Shinano, then dived down to escape revenge from her escorts.[7] Shinano struggled with damage for more than seven hours and finally capsized, becoming the largest vessel of World War II (and, as of 2009, in all history) to be sunk by a submarine. The action earned Enright his Navy Cross.[6]

On September 2, 1945, Enright and his crew, along with eleven other submarines, were honored with the task of protecting USS Missouri during the signing of Japanese Instrument of Surrender.[1]

After the end of World War II Enright commanded Submarine Division 31 (1949–1950), USS Fulton (1953–1954), Submarine Squadron 8 (1954–1955), has been chief of staff for the submarine force of the United States Atlantic Fleet (1955–1957) and commander of USS Boston (1959–1963).[2]

After retirement in 1963 Enright worked at Northrop on the OMEGA Navigation System.[2]

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Goldstein, Richard. "Joseph Enright, 89, Dies; Sank WWII Carrier". The New York Times, July 26, 2000. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Callo p. 98
  3. ^ "USS Dace (SS-247), 1943-1955". Department of the Navy. Naval Historical Center. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Newpower, p. 186
  5. ^ a b c d Galantin, p. 78
  6. ^ a b c "Captain Joseph Francis Enright, USN". Department of the Navy. Naval Historical Center. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b c d Newpower, p. 187
  8. ^


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