In his introduction to Take Her Deep, the wartime story of HALIBUT, Ned Beach pictures its author, Ignatius Joseph Galantin known as Pete, as a wartime skipper who knew how to tell a story so that it speaks the truth to all who remember how it was. Admiral Crowe, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommends Submarine Admiral as a “must” for anyone interested in the making of U.S. strategy and security policy, describing Admiral Galantin as a competent warrior and peacetime strategist. This reviewer can testify to both views, having had the privilege of serving under Pete Galantin in HALIBUT and for three separate tours in the Washington bureaucratic maze from which military policy, budgetary and force levels, weapons systems, personnel policies and eventually operational readiness, or lack thereof, evolve.
As his Gunnery Officer and Torpedo Data Computer operator on HALIBUT I first witnessed his superb, dispassionate analysis of the Mk 14 torpedo fiasco. As Ned Beach so aptly stated: “Many skippers, especially in the early days tortured themselves with self-doubt when seemingly well managed attacks brought only failure and depth charges. Some completely lost confidence in themselves and their crews. Galantin simply redoubled his efforts.” This same firm, persistent, determined, dispassionate analysis of submarine technical and operational policy and problems on the national and international scene marked Admiral Galantin’s future stellar naval career. It is fascinating that the same naval officer who had, with many others, fought an unprecedented submarine war with a terribly defective torpedo would be a leader in the creation of a submarine weapon system of unprecedented reliability.
Submarine Admiral documents Galantin’s deep involvement in the four phases of the evolution of the submarine in our Navy: (1) trial and error, 1900-1940; (2) proof in combat, 1941-45; (3) wishful thinking, 1946-1954; (4) new dimensions, 1955-79. His career afloat and ashore stretched from the 629 ton 0 boats through the era of R and S boats, through the bewildering search for an effective fleet boat, through (intense) combat at sea, to the new age of nuclear powered 6900 ton attack boats and 8200 ton ballistic missiles submarines.
His three tours of shore duty in the Pentagon office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNA V) were each as the head of successively more senior and more responsible submarine billets. As a commander he was Head, Submarine Maintenance Branch (OP 433). As a captain he was assigned as Head, Submarine Warfare Branch (OP 311), the senior pro-submarine post in OPNA V, with an allowance of only three officers and one civil servant secretary. His Troubled Waters chapter on working for Admiral Arleigh Burke (Chief of Naval Operations) in this billet while advancing the strategic concepts of the submarine role in anti-submarine warfare and as a guided missile carrier (Regulus) is fascinating reading as are his The Rickover Equation and The Ultimate Deterrent (Polaris) chapters for those interested in the development of submarines in both their ASW role and in their strategic deterrent role.
In 1961 Rear Admiral Galantin became Director of Submarine/- Anti-Submarine Warfare (OP 31), the last officer charged with these competing missions before they were separated into two separate offices under the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1962 he relieved Rear Admiral Raborn as Director, Polaris Special Projects Office responsible for the development and production of the strategic deterrent system of 41 ballistic missile submarines and their associated support systems. Programmed development, scheduled invention and concurrent production with industry were the order of the day based on our Navy’s 60 years of submarine experience with a long tradition of persistence, innovation, resolute operation and effective maintenance. Under Galantin’s readership and direction the Special Projects Office produced on schedule a completely reliable and operationally tested deterrent weapon system of utmost historical and international priority. His chapters on The Politics and Polaris and The Special Relationship (United States/United Kingdom Polaris/Poseidon Submarine Deterrent Program) is a must reading for professional naval officers and all others interested in operating in the Washington bureaucratic maze and in the international and joint arena.
One lays down Submarine Admiral with the feeling that Pete Galantin learned well from bis days as Captain of the Fencing Team at the Naval Academy and from his assignment as submarine liaison officer a thousand miles from the sea in wartime China where he was first exposed to intense high level political and inter service conflict. He was a master in fencing with the powerful political and military figures of bis time. We are grateful for his long and productive service to our Submarine Force, to our Navy and to our country. This Chicago lad is personally grateful for having had Pete Galantin as his model of a naval officer and gentleman.
Submarine Admiral is a well written, well documented personal narrative of submarine development through times of breathtaking change in war, both hot and cold. Readers of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW will find it fascinating and a key book for their submarine library. It is published by the University of Illinois Press and can be ordered through most book stores for approximately $25.00.