USS S-1 (SS-105) was the lead boat of the S-class of submarines of the United States Navy. The Navy had awarded contracts for the first three S-boats under the same general specifications but of different design types. S-1 was what was known as a "Holland-type", while S-2 was a "Lake-type" and S-3 a "Government-type."
S-1's prime contractor, the Electric Boat Company, subcontracted her construction to the Fore River Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. Her keel was laid down on 11 December 1917. She was launched on 26 October 1918 sponsored by Mrs. Emory S. Land, and commissioned on 5 June 1920, with Lieutenant Commander Thomas G. Berrien in command.
S-1 began her service operations in July 1920 with a cruise to Bermuda attached to Submarine Division 2 (SubDiv 2), with subsequent operations out of New London, Connecticut, cruising the New England coast until 1923.
On 2 January 1923, she shifted to SubDiv Zero, a division created for experimental work, and conducted winter maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea. As a single-ship division, SubDiv Zero, she returned to New London in the spring to continue experimental duty.
As part of a series of studies conducted by the United States Navy after World War I into the possibility of submarine-borne observation and scouting aircraft, S-1 became the experimental platform for this project late in 1923. She was altered by having a steel capsule mounted abaft the conning tower; a cylindrical pod which could house a small collapsible seaplane, the Martin MS-1. After surfacing, this plane could be rolled out, quickly assembled, and launched by ballasting the sub until the deck was awash. These experiments were carried out into 1926 using the Martin-built plane, constructed of wood and fabric, and the all-metal Cox-Klemin versions, XS-1 and XS-2. The first full cycle of surfacing, assembly, launching, retrieving, disassembly, and submergence took place on 28 July 1926, on the Thames River at New London.
Following the aircraft experiments, S-1 served as flagship for SubDiv 2 until July 1927, when she was transferred to SubDiv 4. While attached to this division, she made operational cruises to the Panama Canal Zone in 1928-1930, during the spring months. She visited ports at Cristobal, Canal Zone and Coco Solo, Canal Zone; Cartagena, Colombia; Kingston, Jamaica; and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, during these cruises, and spent the remaining months of those years operating along the New England coast, out of New London.
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