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At the May meeting of the Submarine League’s Board of Directors, I was elected President of the League for a two-year term. My first order of business is to thank Shannon Cramer (who asked for an early replacement) for his excellent job as the first President of the League. His calm and well controlled hand at the helm has recognizably steered a steady course of progress since the founding of the Submarine League. Fortunately, Shannon has agreed to continue to serve– now as aDirector and Vice Chairman of the Board. It is also my privilege to announce that the Board elected Admiral Bob Long to replace A! Whittle as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Submarine League. (Al’s replacement was necessary after he took a job with Lockheed on the West Coast.) Losing former Chairman Al Whittle– a main spark plug in getting the League started on the right foot– seemed like a major setback. Hut with Bob Long aboard and each of you lending a hand, the League should be able to achieve the objectives which Al helped to outline and push for. Again, fortunately, Al has agreed to remain a member of the Board of Directors and will head up the Western Region of the League. In this role, Al continues to be a good contact for inputs to League matters. All other serving officers of the Submarine League and committee chairman were continued by unanimous Board consent. And, the state of League finances, as shown in the Financial Report published elsewhere in this Review, was very reassuring to a new President.

The Second Annual Symposium proved a highly successful affair with its warm-up night’s singfest of submarine songs, it’s all-day session of outstanding talks by our leading active-duty submariners and a candid, fraternal, banquet-talk by the top man of our submarine service– the CNO.

All involved deserve a special thanks. Our Third Annual Symposium is now scheduled for 20 June 1985 at the Radisson Hark Hotel and Convention Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Put this on your calendar.

To wrap up these thoughts, I would emphasize the need to keep our League a vital adjunct to the submarine service. Keeping League members current on submarine issues and openly discussing past and new potential submarine problems, I feel, will make the members of the League stronger and more dedicated advocates of what in my opinion is the key to national security today– submarines.

Chuck Griffiths


More and more we see evidence of thoughtful veteran submariners wrestling with the problem of how, through the dialogue created within the Submarine Review, members of the Submarine League can help the submarine profession. The greatest challenge, it seems, lies in providing material and discussions which improve the art of submarining– while still keeping such writings unclassified. A frank admission of problems encountered in past operations along with tactical errors made in battle seems possible now within these pages– 40 years later– and might be applied in some way to today’s art of submarining. This is suggested in at least four of the articles in this Review.

Although it is easy to believe that nuclear submarining bears little relation to that conducted by diesel-electrical submarines, Musashi, the sixteenth century Samurai, would emphasize: “There should be no such thing as this is the modern way to do it”.

The Soviets, interestingly, are not satisfied with an unclassified dialogue which is limited to their own war experience. To them it is so necessary to have an open discussion of submarine problems– in order to develop a high level of war readiness- that even active duty Soviet naval officers and some from the highest ranks are apparently encouraged to write about matters which further their skills in the use of the submarine. Still, they write unclassified in such a disguised fashion that we in the West are likely to discount what the Soviet writers are trying to tell their own naval people. For example; when writing about how Soviet coordinated torpedo attacks should be conducted, the writer will selectively cite unclassified  descriptions  of  U.S. examples published in magazines of the West. The Soviet reader then is apparently expected to recognize that this is for today (even for nuclear submarines) the correct way to conduct a coordinated torpedo attack. A rebuttal to such a description would similarly reflect, selectively, that material which is citable from Western writings which would rebut the coordinated tactics described. Thus the Soviets write copiously and freely about how to improve their submarining. At the same time, we in the West pay little attention to what reads like the ruminations of envious copy-cats. It should be remembered that we in the U.S. paid the same sort of lack of attention before World War II to the occasional Japanese writings which inferred an intentness to gain a mastery of the seas. We, too easily, wrote off the Japanese navy as a service of “copy cats”-doing a poor job of emulating our first-rate u.s. Navy.

More than 40 years later there still seems to be a tendency to believe that if the enemy doesn’t do it our way, he’s not being very smart or efficient.

This is not to say that  it is desirable or recommended to use the Soviets’ technique foropen writing about military subjects. Hut the considerable volume of their unclassified writings suggests a desirability to have an active open dialogue on the art of war– mainly because of the rapidly changing nature of warfare with the advent of new technology. Submarining is in a state of flux and seems to require a lot of thinking and discussion to make it best applicable to today’ s warfare. And it does seem possible to have an unclassified useful dialogue in the Review which can of fer much to today’ s submarine profession. Historically sound principles of war which can be applied to today’s submarine operations can be discussed. Similarly, fighting philosophies derived from personal war experience as well as from the writings of warriors of the past– the Musashi-type of wisdom– can be useful reminders for developing today’s tactics. Showing how the oceans can be made more opaque to enemy ASW forces by skillful use of the ocean’s anomalies should be a profitable area. And, recognizing the distinctive differences in the environments of war– for nuclear war, war under the ice, shallow waters, third power wars, etc.– can help alert submarine commands to the varying submarine problems likely to be encountered.

The creativity of today’ s very intelligent submariners in promoting the art of submarining can, it seems, be put into high gear with what appears to be an increasing thrust by the Review to produce stimulating articles.


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