Twelfth patrol: March 1945
Trigger (with new skipper Commander David R. Connole) stood out to sea on 11 March to begin her 12th war patrol and headed for the Nansei Shoto area. On 18 March, she attacked a convoy west of the islands, sinking the cargo ship Tsukushi Maru No.3 and damaging another. She reported the attack on 20 March, and the submarine was subsequently ordered to radio as many movements of the convoy as possible to help find a safe passage through a known mined area of the East China Sea. On 24 March, Trigger was ordered to begin patrolling west of the islands the next day, outside the 100 fathom curve, and to steer clear of restricted areas. On 26 March, she was ordered to join a wolf pack called “Earl’s Eliminators” and to acknowledge receipt of the message. A weather report came from the submarine that day but no confirmation of her having received the message. The weather report was Trigger’s last transmission. On 4 April, she was ordered to proceed to Midway, but she had not arrived by 1 May and was reported as presumed lost.
Postwar records indicate she torpedoed and sank the repair ship Odate on 27 March. The next day, Japanese planes and ships joined in a two-hour attack on a submarine heard by Silversides, Sea Dog (SS-401), Hackleback (SS-295), and Threadfin (SS-410) in adjacent areas. Threadfinwas the only one of these submarines attacked that day, and she reported hearing many depth charges and several heavy explosions east of her after the attack on her ceased. Postwar Japanese records showed a Japanese aircraft detected and bombed a submarine on 28 March 1945. Kaibokan Mikura, CD-33, and CD-59 were then guided to the spot and delivered an intensive depth charging. After two hours, a large oil slick appeared.
Trigger was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 July 1945.
Trigger was immortalized and eulogized in Beach’s 1952 book Submarine!.
Destroyer escort USS Connole (DE-1056, later FF-1056) was named in honor of Commander David R. Connole.