The submarine was the first vessel of the United States Navy to be named after the kingfish, a fish from the mackerel family. It was sponsored by Mrs. Harry A. Stuart, wife of Rear Admiral Harry A. Stuart and had Lieutenant Commander Vernon L. "Rebel" Lowrance in command. It was built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1941, a time when asbestos was a greatly popular insulating material. For this reason, everyone who was present on the USS Kingfish, even for a short period, should undergo regular medical examinations to ensure the asbestos fibers they inhaled onboard have not affected their lungs. In 1946, the submarine was decommissioned and later sold for scrap.