Robert Stanislaus Griffin was born 27 September 1857, and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1878. He served in Tennessee, Philadelphia, and Vicksburg, and took part in the Cuban blockade of 1898 in gunboat Mayflower, Griffin ros e from Fleet Engineer, North Atlantic Fleet, in 1904 to Engineer in Chief and head of the Bureau of Steam Engineering in 1913. Until 1921, Rear Admiral Griffin performed outstanding service in designing, building, and maintaining ship machinery, and in c onverting captured German vessels. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the President. Rear Admiral Griffin died 21 February 1933 at Washington, D.C.
Griffln (AS-13), originally Mormacpenn, a Maritime Commission C-3 type pre-war cargo ship, was launched by Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock., Chester, Pa., 11 October 1939. She served briefly with Moore-McCormack, Inc., was acquired by the Navy in 1940, renamed Griffin (AS13) and converted to a submarine tender at Robbins Dry Dock & Repair Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. Griffin commissioned 31 July 1941, Comdr. S. D. Jupp in command.
Her conversion completed in September 1941, Griffin conducted shakedown off the East Coast and sailed with a sub squadron to Newfoundland 22 November 1941. Recalled to Newport, R.I., after Pearl Harbor, the ship was assigned to the Pacific Flee t, and departed 14 February for Australia.
Griffin arrived Brisbane 15 April 1942 to tend Submarine Squadron 5. Early in the war, the United States developed a major submarine base in Australia; and submarines tended by Griffin struck hard at Japanese shipping while surface forces strengthened themselves for the first Pacific offensives. During this period Griffin also repaired merchant ships at a time of great need. The tender departed Brisbane for the Fiji Islands 11 November and 1 December sailed to Bora Bora to escort Submarine Division 53 to the Canal Zone. Arriving Balboa 7 January 1943, Griffin continued north to Oakland, Calif., arriving 20 January.
After repairs at San Diego, Griffin again departed for the Pacific, sailing 27 April 1943. She arrived Pearl Harbor 4 May to take up her vital support duties, and remained until 3 January 1944. The ship performed refits, battle repairs, and ge neral upkeep on submarines before sailing to Mare Island to arrove [sic] 10 January.
Griffin returned to Pearl Harbor 17 March, and departed 8 April for the great submarine base at Fremantle, Australia. She arrived 8 May and immediately set about servicing the growing submarine fleet. The tender remained at Fremantle until 20 November 1944, during her stay founding a rubber fabrication shop which solved one of the great shortages on board the submarines. She then moved closer to the Japanese shipping lanes at Mios Woendi, New Guinea, arriving 9 December. There she tended sub marines, surface craft of all kinds, and even lent her repair equipment to shore facilities. Griffin remained at Mios Woendi until 1 February 1945 when she sailed for Subic Bay, via Leyte.
Arriving 10 February, Griffin set up one of the initial submarine repair facilities in the Philippines since 1942. She also helped to salvage damaged destroyer LaVallette. Shifting base, the tender sailed 22 March via Leyte, and arrived in the Hawaiian Islands 10 April. After a brief stay at Pearl she departed 10 May for Midway, arrived 4 days later, and set up another repair facility for submarines. By that time submarines supported by Griffin had practically annihilated Japan ese merchant shipping and had played a decisive role in the great Pacific offensive. She remained at Midway until 10 September, then sailed to Pearl Harbor and San Francisco, entering the bay 24 September. Decommissioned at Mare Island 12 October 1945, the ship was placed in reserve. Later she transferred to the Stockton group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remains in reserve, in service, tending reserve submarines through 1967.