Commissioned on 16 December 1944, USS TORSK was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and was one of only ten Tench Class fleet type submarines to see service in World War II. Deployed to the Pacific, TORSK operated from Pearl Harbor and made two war patrols off Japan during the spring and summer of 1945. During her first patrol, which lasted from 15 April to 16 June 1945, TORSK carried out plane guard duties for American aircraft engaged in bombing raids on Japan. TORSK was underway on her second war patrol from 17 July until 9 September 1945 and was credited with sinking three Japanese ships before the end of hostilities. The first of these, a small freighter, was torpedoed on the afternoon of 13 August, and the following day TORSK sank two Japanese coastal defense frigates which turned out to be the last enemy warships torpedoed before peace was achieved.
After World War II, TORSK alternated between duties as a training boat at the Navy's Submarine School in New London, CT, and active deployments in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1952, the boat underwent a fleet snorkel conversion, and in the mid 1950s received equipment for use in the testing and development of the Regulus missile. In 1960, TORSK received a Presidential Unit Citation for service during the Lebanon Crisis, and in 1962 earned the Navy Commendation Medal for actions during the Cuban Blockade. Decommissioned on 4 March 1968, with an impressive record of over 10,600 career dives, TORSK arrived in Baltimore to serve as a museum and memorial in 1972.