ADMIRAL RICKOVER AND
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE REVIEW
26 October 1992
I was particularly interested in your July issue’s excerpt from Theodore Rockwelrs new book, The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference, published by the Naval Institute Press in October.
Included in the excerpt was an account of Admiral Rick-over’s response to a review he disliked about his book How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed. The review appeared in the Fall1977 issue of the Naval War Colle&e Review. In the next issue, that for Winter 1978, this journal carried Admiral Rickover’s complaint, written to Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, then the President of the Naval War College. Toward the end of his letter Admiral Rickover wrote, as you quote him accurately on page 66 of the July issue, that “elimi-nating the Review would be a noteworthy, precedent-setting action by the War College.”
Clearly that suggestion fell on stony ground. Even Admiral Rickover seems to have taken it lightly, for in April 1982, shortly after I became editor, he called me by phone. He commented on one or two articles he had read in recent issues, expressed some of his general views about the Navy, and then, as was his custom (at least with editors of naval journals), hung up, having had a one-way, but I suppose satisfactory, conversa-tion.
In his letter Admiral Rickover made some cogent observa-tions about the responsibilities of a book reviewer. In each issue we reprint those observations at the head of the book review section. Those useful words are Admiral Rickover’s lasting contribution to the Naval War Colle&e Review.
In order to provide you with some of the flavor of Admiral Rickover’s conversation, I enclose a copy of my letter to him written the same day.
Frank Uhlig, Jr.
Naval War College Review
15 April 1982
Admiral H.G. Rickover, USN (Ret.)
Washington Navy Yard
Washington, DC 20374
Dear Admiral Rickover,
Thank you for your phone call this morning. I wish I shared your thought that the development and management of technology is a bigger part of modern naval work than ‘shooting the guns’ is, for ours is a Navy rich in highly able developers and managers of technology: Dahlgren, Isherwood, Melville, Ftske, Moffett, Hooper, Cochrane, Raborn, and Rickover, to name but a few. In fact, many of the finest achievements of our ordinary officers, such as the OREGON’s run around the Hom, the cruise of the White Fleet, and the continuous keeping at sea of our fleets in the Second World War were wholly or largely matters of managing technology.
But at some point the OREGON had to shoot reasonably accurately and people at least had to believe that the White Fleet could do so, too. It is the shooting part in which most of the Navy glories. But, so far as I can tell, that is the part in which we do least well. Our performance in this regard was not all that good in 1861, or 1889, or 1942 or, so far as I can tell, more recently. If we get to the fight and then do badly, it would have been better had we not gotten there at aU.
You say your interviews indicate the average civilian candidate for the nuclear power program is more intelligent than the average naval officer. That may be so, though I am not convinced that the average junior officer is less able than his college contemporary who chose a career in some other field. Where a serious problem lies is with the middle-aged officer, even if he holds high rank. All too often something seems to have gone adrift with his imagination, his curiosity, and the breadth of his thought. But perhaps that happens to men in other fields, too.
One of the best things we could do for the Navy and the country it serves is to nurture (where weak) and keep alive
(where strong) the imagination, broad curiosity, and spirit of inquiry upon the part of the officers who serve in our ships, in our staffs, in our operational, administrative, and technological headquarters, and most of all, in positions of command.
Frank Uhlig, Jr.
21 June 1992
Hard on the heels of the May 16, 1992 dedication (see Jan ’92 SUBMARINE REVIEW, p. 112) of the Williamsport, P A, WAHOO Submarine Memorial, I read that the boys down in the Bluegrass State are at all-ahead-flank to eulogize one of the scrappiest submarine skippers to dare to enter Empire waters.
Much credit must go to the two Owensboro, KY men, Frank Boarman and Bill McDonough, for their current yeoman effort to erect a memorial to Owensboro native, CDR Dudley W. Morton. Unknown to them they are steaming in the wake of another determined spirit, George E. Logue of Williamsport, P A He already has put in place a memorial to that submariner who, as Thomas Jefferson put it, “Refreshed the tree of liberty with his blood.”
RADM Richard H. O’Kane in his book, WAHOO: The Patrol of America’s Most Famous WWII Submarine, also paid tribute to CDR Morton. His book describes how Morton and his 80-man crew came to rest in an iron coffin on the bottom of LaPerouse Strait in Northern Japanese waters. Post WWII reports show that it took a lot of blasting by sea, shore, and air power to finish off that valiant crew on October 11, 1943, well in sight of people on the shoreline.
That sad news, because of silent service press restrictions, was long reaching the Logue family in Williamsport. George, the younger brother of Ftre Controlman First Class, Robert Logue, a WAHOO crew member, only then knew that his brother was gone.
And forty-eight years later, without any taxpayer dole, George and his volunteer submarine veteran shipmates set in motion another all-hands ship’s store evolution. They put in place a memorial on the banks of the Susquehanna River, not only to brother Robert, but also to CDR Mush Morton, LT Dave Sloan, Jr., lost on CORVINA, and the LTJG Ed Szendry, lost on SEAWOLF. All were WiJUamsport natives.
The 12 foot high combination submarine torpedo/ship’s anchor/submarine propeUer (spare from TORSK) memorial carries the Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley Chapter of Submarine Veterans stamp. Logue is an associate member of same. It stands in bold tnbute, as did the broom on the shears in bygone years, high on the West 4th Street hill, a badge of gratitude not only to Williamsport sailors, but to all veteran warriors lost in support of freedom for mankind.
Bearing witness to the merit of the occasion were guest speaker, CAPT B.L. Heid, past Commander of the Norfolk Submarine Training Facility, and famed WWI M-1 submarine ship’s company, Bert Miller.
The real estate, donated by Mr. Logue, an Air Force veteran, for the Submarine Memorial will be the future site of other memorials for Lycoming County, P A.
EMCM(SS) Marlin F. Schaffer, USNR(Ret)