To Joy, to Vivien, to Linda and all your families and to the many friends of Admiral Galantin here today in this hallowed building, I say that I am honored to participate in this celebration.
Sylvia and I knew Ginny and Pete when they were young, and we were younger even than that. Although Pete was senior to me by five years, our careers in the boats were remarkably similar.
We both spent two years in a battleship prior to submarine school. At the school we both learned to dive a submarine on a crude mechanical gadget, to make practice approaches in an attack teacher where the staff moved ship models on an upper deck by hand, made escapes in the long-gone 100-foot diving tower, and went to sea in World War I R-Boats.
Before the war, Pete served in ARGONAUT, one of the few mine-laying submarines ever to put to sea; as executive officer and navigator of S-24, and then commanded one of those R-boats that provided services to the submarine school students. My upbringing commenced as a junior officer in another R-boat. Pre-war submarining was a challenge since none of the boats had air conditioning, and computer was a word not in our dictionaries. But in World War 11 Pete and I were two amongst the 465 skippers who fought the long war. With his loss, I estimate that there are but 40 of us left.
By happenstance he was in command of HALIBUT (SS232) while I commanded DRUM (SS228) in October 1944 in the Luzon Straights just after General Douglas MacArthur landed on Luzon with his famous “I have Returned” speech. There were no fewer than 13 submarines operating against the Japanese Naval Forces fleeing north from the great battle of Leyte Gulf and the convoys the Japanese attempted to send southward in relief of their beleaguered forces in the Philippines. HALIBUT sank a destroyer and DRUM three merchantmen.
But it was after the war that Admrial Galantin ‘s career took off like a Polaris missile, while mine prospered more like a cruise missile. We both witnessed the growth of our submarines from a pre-war Model T, to a wartime mid-size with semi-automatic transmission, to a cold war luxury model with unlimited nuclear power, to a Rolls Royce equipped with missiles which have controlled the oceans for almost 50 years.
Long after our respective retirements, our paths crossed once again. In 1984, when we became plank owners of the Naval Submarine League. It was established by some I 00 retired submariners to make the American people and the Congress aware of the importance of submarines to the nation. The League honored the Admiral at its 1987 symposium as “The Submarine Hero” for his offensive success in HALIBUT and his skill in bringing her home after she suffered extreme damage from enemy surface and air counterattacks. I speak for the League’s 4,000 members-active and retired submariners and industry representatives-when I say that the League appreciated all Admiral Galantin did in its behalf. The league will miss him.
He was a brave submarine commander, a skilled administrator, a successful delegator of authority to his troops, and a manager who knew Washington so well that he achieved his every goal his four star retirement was his to enjoy.
His passing is a great loss to his family, to his many friends, to the Submarine Force, and to the United States Navy.