POMFRET (SS 391) was returning to San Diego from an extended deployment to the western Pacific. We were in our dress whites as we headed toward the channel into Pearl for a brief stop on our way home. Rear Admiral John H. Maurer, USN, who was COMSUBPAC, met us early in the channel and boarded us from his barge. The Admiral usually met returning submarines in this manner. A trip through the boat, underway, gave him an opportunity to meet with the crew members at their stations. The Admiral would remain nothing more than an abstract being otherwise. This way the troops had a chance to see that he could be looked at as a real person, another submarine sailor; and, more importantly, he had a chance to recognize the work and get a feel for the pulse of the men that performed so well for ship and for the service.
ET3 David was manning the radar console as a member of the nav team when the Admiral climbed into the conning tower. During a break between radar ranges and bearing readings Petty Officer Davis took his head out of the rubber hood to look into the face of COMSUBPAC himself, who had been observing the nav team for a few moments. The Admiral looked Petty Officer Davis over closely, observed the sparkling whites, the ET3 crow on his sleeve and the silver dolphins on Davis’ breast. The Admiral asked how old Petty Officer Davis was. “Nineteen, sir”, was the reply. “Well”, COMSUBPAC stated, “nineteen, hmmm. I see you’ve made petty officer already, and you are already qualified in submarines. You’re doing pretty well for yourself, son.” Petty Officer Davis, startled to be the subject of the Admiral’s interest, did what any red blooded American sailor would do under the circumstances. He noted the bright gold shoulder marks of the flag officer, the heavyweight gold braid on the bill of the Admiral’s cap, his gold dolphins and his combat patrol pin, and the several rows of umpteen ribbons above his left shirt pocket. And he said to the Admiral, “You’re doing all right yourself, sir.”