USS Gunnel SS-253 Port side view 1945
ss-253 image

Dedicated to my father
James M. Lavelle TM2c
1921 - 1964

As well as all the officers and men who served aboard the


Welcome to Give 'em Hell - The Story of the USS GUNNEL. The purpose of this on-line book is to detail the history of one World War 2 US submarine, the USS GUNNEL (SS-253), from keel laying to scrapping. Each of the GUNNEL's War Patrols, there were 8 in all, has it's own chapter. There are also chapters on the boat's statistics, the attacks she made, the trip back to New London after the war, as well as many photos of the crew and boat.

This work was a cooperative effort between RAdm Lloyd "Joe" Vasey, Capt. Guy O'Neil and myself, Jim Lavelle. Many of the crew have contributed stories and photos to this effort as well.

Joe served aboard the GUNNEL as the First Lieutenant, Torpedo and Gunnery officer for the first 2 patrols and as Executive Officer and Navigator on patrols 3, 4 and 5.

Guy served as the Commanding Officer for Patrols 6, 7 and 8 as well as the trip home after the war. He was awarded the Navy Cross for War Patrol # 7.

I am the son of TM2 James M. "Jimmy" Lavelle who served in the After Torpedo Room on patrols 2 through 8. I was a BT3 (Boiler Tech) on board the USS COOK (DE-1083) during the war in Vietnam. It has been a distinct privilege and an honor for me to work with men of such character. Telling their story has given me great insight into their quiet heroism.

Jim Lavelle, Guy O'Neil and Joe Vasey

The authors in Branson, MO. on October 13, 1999
Jim Lavelle, Capt. Guy O'Neil and RAdm Joe Vasey

We hope you enjoy reading this online book and find the information contained in it interesting and informative.

James M. Lavelle
December 2014


Commissioning Day cover from Erin
Commissioning Day Cover
August 20, 1942




John F Dugan rubbing from the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington

chapman_grave_sml.jpg - 35541 Bytes
Sgt. Frederick G. Chapman
Normandy American Cemetery
Colleville-sur-Mer, France

Frederick G. Chapman
memorial page

Fred Chapman was killed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day,
June 6, 1944.

He served with the "A" Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

E-Mail me at:

Copyright @ 1997 - 2022 James M. Lavelle

Click here to return to