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December 18, 2001

I would like to comment on the letter of minority view regarding USS GREENEVILLE by Captain Byron in the October 2001 SUBMARINE REVIEW

First-Captain E.L. Beach at the June Symposium asked the question of Admiral Fargo as to why the mast instead of a court martial. I feel that this was a very valid question. The minority view comments are in agreement with Captain Beach.

Second-I had the opportunity to ride a Los Angeles class submarine out of San Diego two weeks before the GREENEVILLE incident. The crew carried out their assignments and moved the passengers out of the way when they had work to do. I know of none of the 65 shipriders who felt that they were put upon. About one third of the crew did not make the trip and it was well manned. I took a tum at the helm on the way back into port and the crew member who instructed me was very competent and professional and did not relax even though he said I was the best he had watched that day and I was as good or better than the ship’s company.

Third-I am not a retired officer, but in my days in private industry I found that those individuals on a design team who were in fear of the management or their own lack of qualifications would tell you what they thought you wanted to hear and would be reticent to speak for fear of losing their jobs. This kind of behavior will also manifest itself where the management team leader is a martinet and leads by fear. I had a Captain years ago who would have fallen into this category. Was the Captain of GREENEVILLE hiding an insecurity which contributed to the breakdown in the proper transmission of information and resulted in the incident? If GREENEVILLE ran aground some weeks later, does it not show the imprint of the earlier administration?

Lastly-Do we not know of boats in the old days that had reputations as happy or “please don’t assign me to that ship under that Captain “? It takes a long time to rum a poor organization around and make it purr on all cylinders. Many of the old team members have to be replaced or reassigned and fresh blood has to rejuvenate the old team.

Frank A. Walker


January 5, 2002

With the recent passing of Richard Compton-Hall the international submarine community has lost a truly authoritative and respected voice in submarine operations and the concept of undersea warfare. His knowledge and insight of submarine tactics combined with candid analysis of command decisions made his articles in THE SUBMARINE REVIEW most worthy of attention.

I had the privilege of serving alongside Richard at New London while we were in Submarine Development Division TWO, 1957-59. He, as the Royal Navy Submarine Liaison Officer, and I as the staff Research and Science Officer. In developing the tactics and operational concepts during that SUBAIR era of coordinated operations, Richard’s common sense input and/eel for the most effective way to design operational orders for an exercise were invaluable. He had the respect of all in the U.S. Naval Submarine Service who ever worked with him. Richard was the type of military professional on which the long standing mutual cooperation between The Royal Navy and the United States Navy rests.

We became close personal friends that extended past the years we shared military experiences. Following respective retirements, we kept contact by correspondence and all too infrequent visits to his homes in Europe. Richard was a superb writer with a candid but humorous commentary on the strengths as well as the weakness of submarine operational decisions. Often he was critical of the U.S. Submarine Service as well as the actions of his own Service, but always with strong justifications for his views.

I, as well as all submariners will miss his articles in the REVIEW. His published works will remain a legacy to submariners of all nations.

A.B. Catlin
CDR, USN(Ret.)
813 West Fem Drive
Fullerton, CA 92832-1014


February 20, 2002

In THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, January 2002, issue, page 127, USS DRUM is identified as SSN 667. I have some memorabilia in my den that states I am a Plank Owner of USS BERGALL (SSN 667). I also have memorabilia showing I was the commissioning Engineer Officer on USS GUITARRO (SSN 665) at Mare Island at the time USS DRUM (SSN 677) was commissioned.

All friendly jibes aside, I do enjoy receiving THE REVIEW and take it to the office. It is tough being a retired bubblehead amongst many meat servos, sometime referred to as Naval Aviators.

Jack Ford
Advanced LO Technology
Air Combat Systems
Integrated Systems Sector
Northrop Grumman

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