A NAVAL CONFERENCE ON THE HORIZON?
The Soviets, by relaxing their political control of the Warsaw Pact countries and Republics within the Soviet Union have at the same time reduced their ground army threat to Western Europe. The cold war against the U.S. and her NATO partners is believed to have ended.
At the same time, there has been no Soviet move towards reducing their naval forces. Soviet imperialistic moves overseas appear even more likely as Soviet imperialism within the Eurasian land mass seems to have been renounced. Additionally, Gorbachev’s own military people have indicated that they believe he is putting them out of business. So he must — to ensure his political power — reassure the military officers that their future usefulness remains certain.
In this environment, the way in which Gorbachev might ensure successful moves outside of the Soviet Union is by calling a Naval Conference, similar to the Washington Naval Conference of 1921 and aimed at limiting the sea forces which might be used to thwart Soviet overseas actions.
With the navy he presently has under his control, he cannot risk overseas adventurism. The NATO navies and particularly the U.S. with her nuclear submarines stand in the way of his fleet gaining the measure of sea control necessary to carry out Soviet worldwide aggression. But, at a Naval Conference involving the major navies of the world, Gorbachev can be expected to propose a limitation on particularly nuclear attack submarines – while not making strategic submarines a subject of negotiations. Similarly, he is unlikely to propose a limitation on attack carriers because he has little or nothing to deal away in order to reduce the size of the U.S. carrier fleet.
Greatly limiting nuclear attack submarines, however, would cater to a world in fear of war between the superpowers. And, it could be very attractive to the people of the United States who have been led to believe that nuclear submarines are the major destabilizing threat against world sea commerce — ours and theirs.
How would an offer by Gorbachev to cut nuclear attack submarines by 40 for the U.S. and 40 for the Soviet Union (not worrying about those of Britain and France), be regarded? The U.S. seems not adverse at this point to retiring their 37 STURGEON SSNs and 3 SKIPJACKs, while the Soviets should also readily scrap their 12 NOVEMBERs, 16 VICfOR Is, 5 ECHO ls, and 7 HOTEL conversions. But then the U.S. would have only about 55 nuclear attack submarines while the Soviets still had at least 87 nuclear attack subs (most of which would be cruise missile boats) and another 170 conventional attack submarines – enough to neutralize U.S. carrier strength and wrest control of the seas from the United States. Such a tradeoff might – except to the dyed-in-the-wool nuclear submariner – appear reasonable to almost all persons who have been led to believe that Soviet nuclears are considerably inferior to the U.S. ones.
Are our submarine leaders ready to prove why this would not be a reasonable proposal?
Captain Henry G. Munson, cited in the January 1990 issue of The Submarine Review (“the Rasher’s Fifth”), served as Commander of the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office from April 1959 to June 1960 (The Hydrographic Office became the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office in 1962). During his tenure as Commander, Captain Munson initiated the use of submerged, hovering submarines as platforms for observations of ocean wave height spectra, longitudinal and transverse cross-flow velocities, water temperature, water conductivity and water clarity in addition to measurement of boat motions such as pitch and roll angles and heave acceleration. The USS REDFIN (SS-272), for example, was one of the first boats specifically instrumented for oceanographic research during the period when very little was known about possible sea state effects on a POLARIS launch.
THE FOUNDING OF U.S. NAVY’S SUBMARINE SERVICE
As you know, USS HOLLAND (SS-1), but usually known as HOLLAND VI, was bought for the United States Navy on 11 April 1900. She was commissioned (Lieutenant Harry H. Caldwell commanding) on 12 October in the same year.
Hence, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Service is approaching.
I have, at my Museum, the only surviving example of the first Holland boats (HM Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 1, or HOLLAND 1, as she was called in the RN); and she is now fully restored to her in-service condition. It may be that I know more of the strange historical background in the USA than in the UK.
The Royal Navy is indebted to the U.S. Navy (by virtue of J.P. Holland’s design) for its own Submarine Service. (Flag Officer Submarines is well aware of this and will doubtless be making the point on at least one of his trips to Norfolk and New London next year). Indeed, if truth be told the RN is actually indebted to what today would be called the IRA (then the Fenian Society and Noraid (then the Fenian Skirmishing Fund).
CDR Ricluud Compton-Hall
Director “The Royal Naval Submarine Museum”
HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER PREMIERE
On behalf of the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation and all submarine families, I want to extend to the Naval Submarine League and all your Corporate Sponsors our heartfelt thanks for the magnificent support you all have given the Foundation. We are deeply appreciative of the generous financial gift you have given to us by making the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation one of the beneficiaries of the premiere for HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.
As you know, our Submarine Officers’ Wives have for 29 years been truly remarkable in their efforts to “take care of our own: We are proud of our growth in those years, from one $350 scholarship awarded in 1961, to the ninety $1,750 grants awarded these past several years.
Now, as we enter our 30th year, our hope and expectation is for continued growth. The proceeds received from the premiere will be a major factor in enabling us to reach our goal of growing both in number of grants awarded annually and in our ability to contribute even more substantially towards our children’s educational opportunities.
Please accept the enclosed certificate as a small token of our appreciation for your most generous support.
Joan D. Bacon
A BRONZE STAR FOR COMBAT SUBMARINERS?
I found an interesting thought in the February issue of the Sacramento Subvet Chapter publication, “PERI-SCOOP.” It reads as follows, “President Peterson (of the Sacramento Chapter) read a letter from the last surviving Officer of the SCULPIN urging all to contact our Congressmen to pass a resolution to go to the President stating that all holders of the Submarine Combat Pin be awarded the Bronze Star. A precedent has already been set. Holders of the Combat Infantry Badge receive the Bronze Star.”
I think that this is a wonderful ideal As a CO, I often felt the need for a better way of awarding medals to our crew members.
I believe that President Bush would understand this idea from his personal wartime experience with submarines. Further, since a precedent has already been established, it appears that the time is ripe for an organized effort to push such a resolution through Congress, if that’s what it takes. I think the Naval Submarine League would gain stature and support among ex-submariners by spearheading this effort.
SSBN GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORABILIA
I understand that there was at )east one submarine named after George Washington, and on this account have thought that some memorabiJia from that submarine wouJd be an interesting addition to a collection of artifacts inspired by George Washington which is displayed here at Washington College, Chestertown, MD.
Specifically, we wouJd be interested in getting some symbolic memorabilia from the submarine GEORGE W ASIDNGTON. Importantly, our colJege is the only one for which George Washington gave permission to use his name.
William P. Jones
The Clifton M. Miller Library
Chestertown, MD 21620
NAVAL UNDERSEA MUSEUM NEARING COMPLETION
Construction of the Naval Undersea Museum is 95% complete. While the first role of the museum was envisioned as a place to chronicle undersea warfare and its applications, the Navy in 1987 enlarged its mission to represent all undersea activities for the Navy and all aspects of the technology and phenomena used to explore the oceans.
The museum is the only one of its kind in the nation and houses artifacts related to all aspects of undersea exploration, including commercial and military applications. It is much more than a collection site for relics. It will serve as a national repository for technological advances in the field of undersea technology and will be a viable resource for researchers and scientists, and educational institutions, including elementary through high school classes. The museum of 68,000 sq. ft. houses an extensive library, orientation theatre, a 450 seat auditorium, an 18,000 sq. ft. Exhibit Hall and an 18,000 sq. ft. Repository.
In July 1979, after a nationwide search, the museum was donated by the U.S. Navy – adjacent to the Naval Base property at Keyport, WA After its completion the Navy will maintain and operate this facility. There will be no general admission fee to tour the museum. Of the $9.1 million needed for the facility $7.3 million has been raised to date. If present fund raising efforts are successful the museum can be opened to the public this year.
Acquisition of remarkable artifacts continues. The museum was fortunate in obtaining the deep submergence vehicle TRIESTE II, a deep sea exploration and research craft, which is displayed on the museum grounds. It will join an impressive list of acquisitions including a KAITEN torpedo (a one-man submerged Japanese KAMIKAZE) and a World War II submarine 5″/2.5 wet mount gun.
Recently the museum welcomed a new addition to its historical collection with the arrival of the MAKAKAI, a manned submersible built by the Navy to study the use of new materials and devices underwater. It was used for two-man observation dives, marine ecology studies, observation of experimental work stations, study of oil leaks, and underwater Photographic work.
This Museum facility will be a national asset and enable the Navy to preserve it’s heritage and bard earned knowledge obtained through its efforts to utilize the ocean’s depths both in peace and in defense of the nation.
Individuals who have artifacts, documents, appropriate undersea memorabilia to donate, or would like to become a member of the Foundation should contact the Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, WA 98345. Phone (206) 396-6218 .