Burrfish (SS-312) was launched 18 June 1943 by Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, sponsored by Miss Jane Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Senator James J. Davis from Pennsylvania, and commissioned 14 September 1943, Commander William B. Perkins, Jr. in command.
Burrfish's war operations extended from 2 February 1944 to 13 May 1945 during which period she completed six war patrols, sinking one 5894-ton Japanese tanker. Her operating area extended from the Western Caroline Islands to Formosa and the waters south of Japan. Burrfish also participated with in the destruction of a 200-ton patrol vessel. During her third war patrol the ship accomplished several special missions, conducting reconnaissance of the beaches of Palau and Yap where landings were planned.
Burrfish arrived at Pearl Harbor from her last war patrol 13 May 1945. On 16 May she was ordered to return to the United States for major overhaul and arrived at Portsmouth Navy Yard 19 June. On 12 October 1945 she reported to New London, Conn., for inactivation and was placed out of commission in reserve 10 October 1946.
On 2 November 1948 Burrfish was recommissioned and assigned to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for conversion to a radar picket submarine. Her designation was changed to SSR-312 on 27 January 1949 and her conversion was completed in November 1949.
Burrfish returned to duty with the active fleet 7 February 1950 and was assigned to Submarine Squadron 6 at Norfolk. Between February 1950 and June 1956 she completed three tours with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean; participated in several major type and inter-type exercises; and operated along the eastern seaboard as a radar picket ship.