Skip to main content

Samuel Higa Oral History

Identifier: OHP 120

Scope and Contents

Samuel Higa served aboard Growler as a seaman from 1963 to 1964. He began his interview by discussing his family’s relocation to a concentration camp for Japanese Americans in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Higa then stated that his family moved to Southern California, where he completed high school and briefly attended UCLA, before joining the Navy. After explaining how he enlisted, Higa discussed boot camp, electronics school, submarine school, and SINS (Ship’s Inertial Navigation System) school. The interview then shifted to Higa’s time on Growler, and he noted his first job aboard the submarine, unloading dirty linen that had been packed into the showers. He also discussed the Regulus missile program and explained some of his duties, from chipping and painting, in order to repair the corrosion on the superstructure, to mess cooking. Higa then spoke about his status as a non-qual, which in this case meant he did not have a bunk in the barracks at Pearl Harbor with the rest of the qualified crew. However, Higa noted that he did have a bunk on Growler since he was mess cooking. He also stated that he was not able to qualify on Growler, as the crew had been recently informed that Growler was going to be decommissioned. Higa then explained that, despite Growler’s future, the boat had practically maintained a full crew, as a full complement of men would be necessary to sail Growler from Pearl Harbor to Mare Island. The interview then transitioned to a discussion on the decommissioning process and how the crew preserved Growler in case the boat was to be recommissioned. Higa explained that he was tasked with preserving the superstructure by chipping away rust and preventing any further corrosion. He also noted that there was still camaraderie among the crew even though most men were looking forward to their next assignments and explained how submarine crews interacted with, and occasionally irritated, one another. The interview then shifted back to Growler’s decommissioning, and Higa spoke about Growler’s decommissioning ceremony, stating that, although he did not remember the ceremony itself, he did remember the commissioning pennant being taken down and presented to the chief of the boat. Higa then stated that, after his time aboard Growler, he visited the World’s Fair in New York during a 30 day leave, before reporting aboard his next submarine, Permit. He discussed his duties and experiences aboard Permit and noted that he qualified aboard Permit. The conversation eventually transitioned to a discussion on a ship’s inertial navigation system, and Higa explained how this system operated, both in general and aboard Growler. As the interview came to end, he noted why Growler was decommissioned, and Higa ended his interview by stating that he hopes museum visitors who tour Growler will gain an understanding of, and an appreciation for, a submariner’s duty.


  • September 16, 2016



1 Files

22 Sheets

Language of Materials



David Dzendzel
October 1, 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Online Archives Repository

One Intrepid Square
W. 46th Street and 12th Avenue
New York NY 10036-4103 United States