A historical marker sign outside the museum. It reads
Wisconsin Official Marker
At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called
upon America to rearm. Increasing the number of submarines became a goal.
Because existing shipbuilders could not meet production schedules, the U.S.
Navy approached Charles C. West, president of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding
Company, and requested that his firm build submarines.
Government contracts led to the expansion and modernization of the Manitowoc
Shipbuilding Company facilities. Workers and engineers rapidly developed
innovative construction methods, including side-launching of submarines.
Ultimately, the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company employed some 7,000 workers in
three shifts, even days a week.
U.S.S. Peto, launched in 1942, became the first of
twenty-eight fleet submarines built at Manitowoc. The submarines were towed to
New Orleans via the Illinois-Mississippi Waterway using a special floating dry
dock. U.S.S. Rasher, a Manitowoc submarine, sank 99,901 tons
of Japanese shipping, the second highest total for an American submarine. Four
Manitowoc submarines, Golet, Kete,
Lagarto, Robaldo along with 336 officers and
enlisted men were lost during the war.