USS Becuna (SS-319) was built by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on January 30, 1944, and was commissioned on May 27, 1944.
USS Becuna is a fleet-type submarine (built to maintain speeds averaging 17 knots) of the Balao class. Balao class boats were essentially improved versions of the previous Gato class. They were designed to operate at a test depth of 400 feet as opposed to 300 feet for the Gato class.
USS Becuna was originally a pre-snorkel submarine operating underwater on batteries, and powered by a diesel electric system. In 1951, USS Becuna was converted to a snorkel-equipped Guppy submarine that allowed the boat to operate her diesel engines underwater. During this conversion the boat's exterior guns were removed and the conning tower was enclosed by a new sail casing to reduce underwater resistance.
USS Becuna is in good condition and aside from the addition of the snorkel and exterior changes, retains much of her World War II integrity. USS Becuna is semi-permanently moored in the Delaware River in Philadelphia next to USS Olympia.
Role of the Submarine in World War II
In the conflict against Japan in World War II, the role and importance of the submarine forces of the United States cannot be overestimated. American sub marines sank more than 600,000 tons of enemy warships and more than 5,000,000 tons of merchant shipping, thus destroying much of Japan's ocean commerce. This was accomplished by a force that never numbered more than two percent of naval personnel engaged in the war. The American submarine war against Japan created a blockade that denied her the oil, iron ore, food, and other raw materials she needed to continue to fight. By 1945 this submarine war made it all but impossible for Japanese shipping to sail the ocean. Without this commerce and the raw materials it supplied to her war effort, Japan found it impossible to continue the war outside of the homeland. 
USS Becuna represents the U.S. submarine forces that fought against Japan in World War II for the following reasons:
Edwin P. Hoyt, Submarine at War--The History of the American Silent Service (New York: Stein and Day, 1983), pp. 297-98.
Richard H. O'Kane, Clear the Bridge (New York: Bzantam Books, 1981), pp. 465-67.
Alden, John A. The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy--A Design and Construction History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1979.
Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory--The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1975.
Hoyt, Edwin P. Submarine at War--The History of the American Silent Service. New York: Stein and Day, 1983.
Middleton, Drew. Submarine--The Ultimate Naval Weapon--Its Past, Present, and Future. Chicago, Illinois: Playboy Press, 1976.
O'Kane, Richard. Clear the Bridge. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
Roscoe, Theodore. United States Submarine Operations in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute, 1965.
(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)