Joseph Francis Enright, Captain
by former shipmates and admirers

Joseph F. Enright was born in Minot, North Dakota, on 18 September 1910. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933, he joined the submarine force in 1936. Over the next six years, he served in USS S-35 (SS-140) and S-22 (SS-127), including duty as Executive Officer of the latter. In 1942 and 1943, Lieutenant Commander Enright commanded USS O-10 (SS-71) and USS Dace (SS-247). Following several months service at the Midway Islands submarine base, in September 1944 he took command of USS Archerfish (SS-311). On 29 November 1944, his submarine sank the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano, an action for which Commander Enright was awarded the Navy Cross.


5 March 1945

Following World War II, Enright had a variety of shore and seagoing duties and was promoted to Captain in 1952. His later commands included Submarine Division 31 in 1949-50, USS Fulton (AS-11) in 1953-54, Submarine Squadron 8 in 1954-55 and USS Boston (CAG-1) in 1959-60. Captain Enright retired on 1 July 1963.

(above extract from the Naval Historical Center) 

How does one document the service of such an outstanding Submarine Captain?

Let's begin with notes and recollections of his former crew and others who stood in admiration of this man:

From a 7/21/2000 post on the Martini BBS:

Posted by "Pig" (Kenneth Henry) on July 21, 2000 at 13:19:35:

I'm sad to report that we have lost another of our great heroes. On Thursday 20 July 2000, Captain Joseph F. Enright started his Eternal Patrol. He will always be remembered as the man that sank the largest warship ever built (at that time), the 59,000-ton Japanese aircraft carrier SHINANO. This action took place during the 5th patrol of ARCHER-FISH (SS-311) on 29 November 1944. For this action Captain Enright received the Navy Cross and ARCHER-Fish was presented with the Presidential Unit Citation.

Only two weeks ago three of our shipmates traveled to Fairfax to visit with the Captain. At the time he was in good spirits and really enjoyed the visit. Following is a message we received today from the director of the assisted living facility where he was living in Fairfax, VA.

"I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Enright died yesterday as a result of a fall, I believe. You will never know how much your visit changed the Captain, and I am so glad you were able to make the trip when you did. What a good lesson for all of us - don't put off until tomorrow...He was a changed man when you and your colleagues were here. He really blossomed. Thanks so much for the time and effort."

Another BBS post:

Posted by Jerry Cornelison on July 21, 2000 at 18:29:47:

In Reply to: We have lost another of our great heros. posted by Pig on July 21, 2000 at 13:19:35:

I encourage you to pick up the phone and call or go on that visit to a Shipmate that you've been planning on but just haven't got around to. You just never know when it might be too late.....

Two Archerfish (AGSS-311) Shipmates and I had a wonderful three hour visit with Captain Joe Enright on July 6th (2000). We had prepared a scrapbook of pictures and memorabilia for him, including taking him an Archerfish ball cap.

It was a super visit! He really enjoyed and appreciated the visit and the scrapbook. Our reward was to be in the presence of a genuine WWII Submarine Hero and got to hear first hand accounts of some great sea (war) stories!

Capt. Enright's memory had faded on some things but the Archerfish War patrols, especially #5, were as clear in his mind as if they had happened yesterday.

I saluted him when we walked in his apartment. I saluted him when I left and will always remember him sitting at his desk in his Archerfish ball cap with a big smile on his face...... Little did I know he would be gone just two weeks later.

Captain Joseph F. Enright - "Sailor, Rest Your Oars..."

Message from Doc Carter

I served with Captain Joseph Francis Enright on the USS ARCHER-FISH SS311 during the last two war patrols the boat made. He was a gentleman and Navy Officer of the highest caliber. 

Over the last 40 years Joe attended many of the ARCHER-FISH reunion and even hosted one in Dedham, MA in the 1980's at his home. Joe and Virginia were two of the finest people any of our crew had the privilege to know. Joe's cool, calm efficiency in his capacity of Commanding Officer was recognized and appreciated by the entire crew. 

Sailor Rest Your Oar.
Leo A. (Doc) Carter

Message from Frank Torres

It is with deep sorrow that I send this tribute. Captain Enright and his leadership, and daring as C.O. of Archerfish were an inspiration to us all as we worked on our quals, and afterwards, to uphold the reputation of this boat in our daily lives.

Frank Torres
USS Archerfish (SS 311)

BBS Post by Paul Farace, Curator of the Cod Museum

Sad to hear the news about Capt. Joe Enright's passing. About four years ago the Archerfish crew held a reunion in a town about an hour west of COD. They came down (unannounced) to visit. Thank God my shipkeeper called me down.

 I got to meet Capt. Joe and his crew. Joe had suffered a stroke at that point, but he was still in fighting trim and sharp as ever! While aboard, I made a point to let our visitors know they were in the presence of a true hero. In two sentences, I told the crowd about him. 

The line to get his autograph or pose for a picture with him was truly touching and you could see the years melt away from his face. The sparkle in his eyes told the story... and the shine could be seen in the dim light of COD's mess decks. 

My COD work may be volunteer in terms of not getting cash money pay, but with experiences like this as pay, Bill Gates must be a pauper next to me! (the archerfish ball cap signed by Joe Enright is among COD's collection of artifacts). 

Fair winds and following seas skipper... we are not likely to see your kind again....


Paul Farace, COD curator

BSS Post by Warshot

(in response to viewing the tribute on the Archerfish website)

Yes. I read them with GREAT INTEREST.

I think very few people know the significance of the sinking of Shonanu.

My reference is The Rise and Fall of the (Imperial) Japanese Navy by Itaki Ito.

Ito was attached to the governing Military bosses of Japan, led by Tojo, as a "Spin doctor" in today's verbiage.

He said that most of the people in Japan KNEW they were losing the war. The Shonanu was to be their "Secret Weapon", a ship so big and powerful, it would "Save Japan". It was highly publicized in Japan as their key to turning the tide of the War.

When she was sunk by an AMERICAN SUBMARINE, and almost easaly, the Japanese high command had "Egg all over their faces", they never did tell the Japanese people, knowing the loss would further demoralize the Japanese people.

A very important event in WWll. It wasn't long after that they began asking for a Surrender Treaty.


BBS Post by John Martin

Farewell Skipper. Thanks for your years of service with pride. God be with you on your eternal patrol.

Right Hand Salute....!!

John Martin....Radioman..

Other Links on Joe Enright

Books by Enright

  • Shinano: The Sinking of Japan's Secret Supership (out of stock)
  • Sea Assault (to be published in October, 2000, per


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