We are here today to say good-bye to the physical remains of Admiral Galantin. But we will never forget his spirit, his soul, his personal and professional leadership
I represent the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II and his WW II submarine HALIBUT. We sailed in harm’s way with a young Lieutenant Commander as he attacked Japanese ships, evaded depth-charging and avoided minefields. Four of his crew are here today. Then Lieutenant Jack Hinchey was his Engineering & Diving Officer. I was his Torpedo & Gunnery Officer. Tudor Davis, who came from the West Coast with me, was in the forward torpedo room gang and John Perkins who was in the after torpedo room. Seven or eight more of the HALIBUT crew could not come because of various physical disabilities. All did contribute, however, for this beautiful HALIBUT wreath that Jack Hinchey arranged for us. Tudor Davis, incidentally, was the Chief Torpedoman on the first Strategic Deterrent patrol by U.S.S. GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN 598) under the command of Captain (later Rear Admiral) Jim Osborne. He is also a Past National Commander of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. John Perkins arranged our HALIBUT reunions over the years where we grew to know the warm, humorous side of our Skipper and his wonderful wife, Ginny. As his family just said in describing Pete with his grandchildren and about his accordion playing, he truly was a Renaissance man. He was my model of a superb naval leader and a true gentleman. I never heard him use a foul word-either as a wartime warrior when his torpedoes did not work properly or as a peacetime warrior dealing with various people in the jungles of the Navy and Defense Departments and with the Congress.
I worked for Admiral Galantin twice in Washington, D.C. First, when he initiated a new branch (OP-312) in his Submarine Warfare Directorate. I was given four outstanding submarine officers responsible for advancing and supporting cutting-edge technological programs in the budget processes-one for sonar, one for torpedoes, one for the Polaris submarine program and one for nuclear propulsion. In this position I witnessed on a daily basis the way in which he delegated authority and responsibility to those who had earned his confidence. Later, after he had become Director, Special Projects (the Polaris program), he brought me over to be his Deputy for Plans and Programs (SP-11).
I would now like to tell Admiral Galantin’s children and grandchildren three anecdotes to illustrate his humanity and humor and his personal and professional leadership.
The first happened on Christmas Day, 1943. He pulled away from the Japanese coast where we had been patrolling. He took HALIBUT to 200 feet for a special all-hands turkey feast. Knowing we would be on patrol on Christmas I had smuggled a bottle of wine aboard. I had the wine between my legs at the junior officers end of our small wardroom table. The Captain sat at the head of the table with our Exec, Mac Butler, at his right. After we had done justice to the turkey I placed the wine bottle in the center of the table. The captain gave me a stern glare. He turned to Mac Butler saying “Isn’t this against Navy Regulations?” Mac then glared at me while agreeing with the Captain. They then proceeded to hold a Captain’s Mast, finding me guilty. He restricted me to HALIBUT for 30 days. We had 40 some days before returning to a submarine tender. The Captain then dipped his fingers into a water glass, sprinkling the water on the bottle to tum the wine into water, making it okay to drink with our dessert. (The Chaplain conducting the funeral service later told me he planned to use this anecdote in conducting his ministry with midshipmen).
My next HALIBUT anecdote is a serious one. In a torpedo attack on Japanese shipping one of our torpedoes in the forward tubes did not fully eject. It was stuck half in, half out. The impeller that armed the torpedo was outside the tube being turned by the submarine’s motion through the water. We evacuated the forward torpedo room except for Chief Emil Ade and me. The Chief and I agreed that the torpedo might be armed and would explode if we tried to eject it with high pressure air. We agreed that our best bet was to pull the torpedo back into the tube. I reported our recommendation by phone to the Captain in the Conning Tower. He approved our proposal to pull it back into the tube. We opened the inner door. Chief Ade crawled into the tube to put a line around the propellers. Throughout this process we had both outer and inner doors open with only the torpedo keeping the ocean out. The Chief and I pulled the torpedo in, inch by inch until we could close the outer door, remove the line and then close the inner door. With great yells of relief we pounded each other on the back. This was my first witness of how the Captain could delegate responsibility to a subordinate. Neither he nor the Exec ever came to the torpedo room to supervise us. I cannot describe how much confidence this gave to me in future wartime and peacetime situations of stress. I would have gone to hell and back for Pete Galantin.
My last anecdote is again illustrative of why it was such a pleasure to work for the Admiral.
While under him in the Submarine Warfare Directorate, I became concerned about the lack of an operational test of the total submarine system. We were firing demonstration (DASO) missiles at Cape Canaveral to prove the readiness of the missiles. I was driven by our disastrous experience with faulty torpedoes in the early days of WWII. As far as I know the responsible laboratories never conducted adequate operational testing prior to issuing torpedoes to the Fleet. I developed a point paper to make the case. Later, after the Admiral had become the second Director of Special Projects he had me ordered over as his Deputy for Plans and Programs (SP-11 ). I had been pedaling the point paper around the Navy and Defense Departments with no success. Both Admirals Galantin and Levering Smith (the technical genius of the POLARIS program) supported the case.
One Saturday night while having dinner with Joan and our five children I had a phone call from the Admiral. He told me to be at Defense Secretary McNamara’s home at !000 Sunday morning to brief him on the point paper. McNamara was appearing before the Goldwater Congressional Committee on Monday to present the readiness of the Polaris Submarine Deterrent Force. I briefed him and answered his probing questions for hours. He used the point paper proposal in his Congressional testimony the next day. This became the genesis of the POLARIS OPERATIONAL TEST PROGRAM (OT). This is illustrative both of the Admiral’s manner of leadership in advancing submarine programs and of the trust and confidence and delegation of responsibility he gave to his subordinates. It was a privilege to work for him in the bureaucratic jungles of Washington, D.C.just as it was to be one of his wartime crew.
In our many reunions and visits during our retirement years I grew to know him as Pete Galantin, the man. In his multi-roles as HALIBUTs Captain, as the Admiral advancing submarine pro-grams, or as the grandfather playing his accordion and enjoying his grandchildren, he honored us. We honor him this morning here in the magnificent Naval Academy Chapel where he honored his Lord. I grew to know and love Pete Galantin. So now we say good-bye to his physical remains. We will never say good-bye to his soul and his spirit. May the good Lord always hold Pete in the palm of His hand until we meet again.
Aloha and Mahalo