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Bob Lents

A Profile of a Submarine POW Veteran: Robert W. Lents

Perch Base Life and Holland Club member and SVWWII member Robert Wayne Lents (his home base was Twin Lakes Base in Mountain Home, Arkansas) was a Torpedoman 3rd Class TM3(SS) on board the USS Perch when it was scuttled.
Bob was interviewed for an article in the 1st quarter 2005, issue of the American Submariner HERE. He discussed the loss of the USS Perch and the atrocities by the Japanese during his time as a Prisoner of War.

Bob Lents passed on to Eternal Patrol at the age of 99 on November 23, 2020. His Eternal Patrol notice is HERE.

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Ernie (The Kid) Plantz

Ernie (The Kid) Plantz

Perch Base Life and Holland Club member and SVWWII member Ernie (The Kid) Plantz (his home base was Groton Base in Groton, Connecticut) was a Seaman Electrician Striker (SS) on board the USS Perch when it was scuttled in 1942.
Ernie was interviewed in the book "Trial And Triumph," authored by Stephen Leal Jackson (2005, Dog Ear Publishing.)
He found himself a prisoner of the Japanese for three and a half grueling years; 1,297 days. The book details the atrocities, beatings with bats and bamboo sticks, starvation, dysentery, malaria and pellagra suffered by the POWs.
Although the book is available slightly cheaper from Amazon, I purchased my copy online, signed by Ernie, from the USS Nautilus Museum Store, figuring it was for a "good cause."

Ernie (The Kid) Plantz passed on to Eternal Patrol December 19, 2015, at the age of 95. His Eternal Patrol notice is HERE.

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Henry (Pappy) Strickland Yates, MMC(SS)

Henry (Pappy) Strickland Yates

Henry (Pappy) Strickland Yates, MMC(SS) was a Chief Machinist Mate (SS) on board the USS Perch when it was scuttled on March 3, 1942. The U.S. Navy had no knowledge of the loss and reported the USS Perch as "missing" in April 1942. About a year later, a Japanese radio broadcast (Tokyo Rose?) reported that Pappy was alive, but reported that he was in a prison camp on Shikolu Island, one of the Japanese mainland islands. One might guess that the the erroneous (or misleading) location might have been intentional to try to keep the Allies from bombing the Japanese mainland. It wasn't until after the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945, that the Allied forces learned that he and the surviving crew were in the Makassar POW camp in Indonesia all along.
We did not know much about Chief Yates until Dan Marks, the Perch Base Webmaster, was contacted by Rich Curtis who found a box in an antique shop in Alabama that included writings by Pappy while he was a POW, describing how terribly they were treated.
Many USSVI bases are named after boats on Eternal Patrol. The USS Perch (SS-176) is our Base namesake. When Rich Curtis was trying to find out what to do with the box, he searched the internet and made contact with me, Dan Marks, as Webmaster of Perch Base. Rich Curtis asked me what he should do with the contents of the box and I suggested that he donate them to the St. Marys Submarine Museum in St. Marys, Georgia. I presume he did, but he also sent me pictures of the contents. I have catalogued and presented the results on this website. Although I am not a "historian," I've done my best to preserve this bit of history!
Much of the collection is difficult to read and many of my comments are speculation, but they might be also useful to someone else when combined with other materials.

The results have been posted on this webpage dedicated to Pappy.

Henry (Pappy) Strickland Yates was born January 22, 1909 and enlisted in the Navy on August 3, 1935. He was assigned to the USS Stingray (SS-186) on March 15, 1938 as a Machinist Mate 1st Class. Pappy was later transferred to the USS Perch (SS-176) on Oct 13, 1939. He was promoted to Chief, MMC(AA) (acting assignment) shortly thereafter on November 16, 1939, and MMC(PA) (permanent assignment) on November 14, 1940.
The USS Perch was scuttled on March 3, 1942, and he began his next 3 and 1/2 years as a POW, arriving at the Makassar POW camp on March 10, 1942. His liberation from the Makassar POW camp is officially recorded as September 17, 1945, which is the date he was airlifted out to Borneo.
He was recorded and listed as commissioned to Lieutenant, effective January 1, 1945. He was promoted to Lt. Commander August 1, 1951, retiring from the Navy in December 1954.
Henry (Pappy) Strickland Yates passed on to Eternal Patrol on July 22, 1989.

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The USS Perch (SS-176), a Porpoise-class submarine, made one successful war patrol and was sunk by the Japanese on her second patrol. The entire crew was captured by a Japanese destroyer. Of the fifty-four men and five officers,  all but six — who died of malnutrition in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps — were able to return  to the United States after V-J Day. Below is the complete dialog report of her first patrol and the transcript of the interview with her skipper of the account of her sinking on the second patrol.

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First War Patrol of the USS Perch
(December 11, 1941 - January 17, 1942)

(42 pages)

First War Patrol
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Post-war interviews with Skipper D. A. Hurt and two other crewmembers.
(7 pages)

Second War Patrol
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