On 5 March, Tullibee stood out of Pearl Harbor to begin her fourth war patrol. Nine days later, she called at Midway Island to top off her fuel and then proceeded to her patrol area in the Palau Islands. She was scheduled to support aircraft carrier strikes against those islands on 30–31 March. On 25 March, Tullibee arrived on station and began patrolling. The next day, off the Palau Islands she made radar contact on a convoy consisting of a large passenger-cargo ship, two medium-sized freighters, a destroyer, and two other escorts. The submarine made several surface runs on the transport but kept losing her in rain squalls. Tullibee finally closed to 3,000 yards (2,700 m) and launched two torpedoes from her bow tubes at the target. About two minutes later, the submarine was rocked by a violent explosion. It was only learned after the war that Tullibee‘s torpedo had run a circular course and she had sunk herself.
Gunner’s Mate C.W. Kuykendall, on the bridge at the time, was knocked unconscious and thrown into the water. When he regained consciousness, the submarine was gone. He heard voices in the water for about ten minutes before they stopped. The next day, he was picked up by Japanese destroyer Wakatake. Kuykendall survived as a prisoner of war and was released after V-J Day.
USS Tullibee (SS-284), off the coast of Mare Island, California.
|Builder:||Mare Island Naval Shipyard|
|Laid down:||1 April 1942|
|Launched:||11 November 1942|
|Commissioned:||15 February 1943|
|Struck:||29 July 1944|
|Fate:||Sunk by own torpedo north of Palau, 26 March 1944|