(A few of the comments received just wanting to say they liked the first edition of the Submarine review and want to be sure it is continued. Ed.).
“Congratulations on your first issue of Submarine review. It is going to be a fine house organ putting forth the point of view which has been lacking. I wish this had been going 25 years ago.”
“The first journal is more than I expected. I was a ‘white hat’ during the war, respected our
officers but never realized the strain they were under constantly. Could you let me know if M. V.
Moore, Dev Group Commander in 1964 was Gunnery Officer on the RATON during the war?”
“Just finished reading the first issue and enjoyed it very much. I would like, to point out that I (Capt. W.G. Ellis) am CO of the USS City of Corpus Christi, not Cdr. William Owens, whom I relieved on 28 August 1981.”
“Found the Submarine review to be beautifully done. The review was well printed and am sure it
will become widely popular. Congratulations and continued good luck.”
To the Editor:
Richard Laning’s “Submarine Command in Transition to War” was the premier article of the inaugural issue of The Submarine review. It exemplifies what I think the Naval Submarine League is all about. It provides useful food for thought for today’s and tomorrow’s skippers from a man who had the “Right Stuff.”
But my principal reason for coamenting is that Dick Laning has cited comments from VAdm. Bob Rice
to prove his point — that they didn’t all make it. Bob and I are the only two left from DRUM’s original wardroom. Nick Nicholas, the Exec of later SALMON fame, died in 1970; Manning Kimmel, engineer, was lost in ROBALO in July 1944; and John Harper, communicator, in SHARK II in October.
Bob did indeed feel he was old for the job. I recall clearly a day in 1943 at Pearl Harbor when he confided this to me, expressing real envy for my youth. I was 26!
He was a meticulous skipper, a quality gained, as Dick suggests, during the peacetime years. But he was also a superior teacher, and early on made it clear to all of us that DRUM existed to sink ships. He was the most skillful periscope handler I ever saw.
That was not all he was good at, however. “Normal” wardroom conversation leaned regularly
to history and literature. His later job as Head of the Department of English and History at USNA
was no accident.
The best example of his maturity came on the first night in area, south of Tokyo, on DRUM’s
first patrol. We shot two single MK14 torpedoes on the surface and sank the seaplane tender
MIZUHO (Bob was the only one on board who was privy to the extreme torpedo shortage in April
1942). following the successful attack, we were driven down by a destroyer; and fired one more
MK14, which ran deep under the stopped target. For 15 hours, we listened to our first depth charges, some close, others distant (but who could know then?). With the battery gravity down to 1.025, about 0200 the next morning, Bob concluded that we must surface even if the enemy was “up there”. His guidance to us began: “If we don’t make it, my only regret is that this fine new ship has not done the job for which it was built.” Fortunately, we did make it; and DRUM did do its job!