PERSONAL; TO THE CNO
November 29, 1993
Admiral Frank Kelso, USN
Chief of Naval Operations
Dear Admiral Kelso:
This letter from a former shipmate is long overdue. Too much time has passed without my telling you how proud we are of your extraordinary service to the Navy and to our country.
Twice in the past two years I began letters to you to express my personal admiration and gratitude for your leadership of our Navy during incredibly changing and challenging times. The letters were not sent lest they be considered sucking up to the boss. I regret having not finished those letters-1 will finish this one.
For over 30 years our leaders were challenged with ensuring that our nation created and maintained war-deterring and war-fighting capabilities superior to those of the Soviet Union. Many of our leaders’ terms of office called for maintenance of our capabilities rather than creation of new ones. Our goal was clear … beat the Soviets. Leaders’ plans and new ideas were measured against this clear goal, and most plans and new ideas amounted to incremental improvements on the incredible developments in the 1950s of the nuclear submarines and submarine launched ballistic missiles that assured our deterrence and fighting capabilities.
On the other hand, your term of office has been characterized by unpredicted and unpredictable global changes and a fast changing set of domestic priorities. How much harder it is to lead when the principal enemy will not stand up and identify himself. For sure, one’s plans and ideas will be measured by a wide variety of yardsticks when no single overriding goal or requirement is clear.
In this sea of unbelievable change, you have been challenged repeatedly and you have proven to be a man of great vision and courage in setting the Navy and the country on new courses to steer. From your tactical successes as an area commander in the Middle East, to your courageous overhaul of the Navy organization to better compete in the post Cold War era, and to your development of the first new-era naval warfare strategy, the coun-try has been so very fortunate to have you at the helm.
I assure you that today’s Tailhook-associated publicity cannot shake the faith or admiration or respect of your former shipmates. We who have been fortunate to work beside you know of the extraordinary integrity, dedication and abilities you have always applied to serving our Navy and our country. Please know that you have hundreds of well informed, unshakable supporters for
every possible detractor. Unfortunately, the detractors have a greater access to the public’s attention because they purvey news of tabloid level interest. But then, that’s the nature of this wonderful country that you have so skillfully served with unflagging dedication.
God bless you and Landess-don’t let the buggers get you down.
Kenneth A. Lee
A WORLD WAR I LOSS
Re Ute To the Bottom of the Sea – and Back reflections piece in July 1993 The Submarine Review, I’m reminded of a bit of information I picked up from my friend, Gus Britton, at the Royal Navy Museum in Gosport, England a few years back.
During World War I, LT Earle W.F. Childs, USN, was serving aboard USS L-2 (SS 41) in the Irish Sea area. On March 2, 1918 he was temporarily assigned to HMS H-5 for an instruc-tional cruise. That night at 2030 hours the British H-5 was accidentally rammed. It sank with all hands off Liverpool, England. Among them LT Childs and three British officers, along with 19 enlisted, one of them a 16 year old telegraph operator.
On 3 January 1919, L-2 (known as AL-2 in foreign waters) departed Portland, England for the States without LT Childs, perhaps the only US submariner lost in WWI.
Martin F. Schalffer
A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
For the last three years I have been researching an incident which involved a pre-World War ll Russian submarine. The submarine is a small coastal submarine-an M Class Series VI-BIS (1935). None of the publications by authors I am familiar with (Norman Polmar, David Miller, etc.) have anything on the internal layout and construction of these boats. If any of your readers are aware of where I could obtain this information, and would provide it to me, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanlcs for your assistance.
9121 Summer Glen Land
Dallas, TX 75243
Tel: (214) 343-8337
Fax: (214) 343-3059
February 12, 1994
Dear Naval Submarine League Member:
I have recently begun a research project in which I intend to study the 52 U.S . submarines which were lost in action during the Second World War. It will attempt to tell the story of these boats from their commissioning through their loss. Sources I anticipate using include the official records of war patrols prior to the boat’s loss, deck logs, muster rolls, messages to and from the boats while on patrol, previously written reference works and books, archive photos, and oral and written histories and remembrances of the men who served on them prior to their loss.
While being as factual as possible with regards to operations, it is my intention to tell the stories of the boats through the eyes of the men who served on them. Now, 50 years after the fact, it is going to be very difficult to do that, since many of those who survived the war have passed from us. But hopefully many of you who remain will wish to tell your stories. I intend to compile this study into book form.
If you served on any of the 52 boats which were lost during the war, I would very much like to hear from you. I am interested in learning about the time you spent on any of these boats which are still on patrol. Specifically, what was your job, whom did you serve with that you were close to, what was daily life like in general, your impressions of your boat and shipmates, battle experiences, shore experiences, memorable characters and simply anything and everything you wish to say regarding your tour. In addition, I’d be interested in seeing diaries you might have kept and any artifacts or mementos you have from your time in submarines.
If you did not serve on one of the 52 lost boats, but still have remembrances to relate, I would like to hear or read about them also. The more material about life in the boats, combat and otherwise, the more understanding I will have of my subject.
Should you wish to participate, please contact me at the address and/or phone number below. You may write to me, call me, or if you would prefer, I would be happy to arrange a time when I could meet with you.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
201 South Main Street #900
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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