The submarine was named after a fish capable of making a drumming sound.
The sub was launched May 12, 1941 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine.
The submarine was commissioned on 1 November 1941.
Drum was decommissioned 16 February 1946.
The Drum was dedicated and opened as a museum ship in Mobile on July 4, 1969.
Originally moored in Mobile Bay behind the U.S.S. Alabama, the Drum was damaged by Hurricane Georges in 1998. It is now displayed on shore. It was also damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Repairs were made, and tours were resumed in January of 2006.