Bill Rhue was a fine Naval Officer and among his many other accomplishments; submariner, musician, and author, he was an accomplished editor. By no means does that skill flow automatically from any of the previously named fields of endeavor, but Bill brought forth real talent in the early I 980’s and got the Naval Submarine League’s magazine off to a fine start. The founding fathers of the League wanted an effective way to carry out the prime mission of the League, educating the public about effectiveness of American submarines, and they called on Bill Rhue to create a professional journal for the submarine community. Bill guided, prodded and even wrote extensively for the magazine during its first seven years. During that time he established THE SUBMARINE REVIEW as a source of submarine commentary which helped lead the way to recognition of the Naval Submarine League as an independent and authoritative voice for submarine matters.
Bill’s contribution to the League’s magazine did not stop when he left his post as Editor to pursue his authorship of books. In January of 1997, the REVIEW carried an article by Bill entitled Submarine Lessons from World War II. There is a lot of good information in that piece. Bill made the specific point that lessons he cited are for submarines, not just for diesel-electric boats. His main case is for understanding, and taking maximum advantage of, a submarine’s unique strength in its stealth. It follows that he disapproved, strongly it seems, of those in higher naval authority who did not understand that basic rule and thus wasted submarine value in less than effective dispositions. To Bill, those commanders who caused submarines to disclose their position by communication requirements were even worse than those who did not use submarines correctly, and he specifically cited one egregious USN example.
It would be fitting tribute to Bill Rhue to recommend that article as a thought piece for those still on active duty with the potential or making future decisions on the employment of submarines. Indeed, most of Bill’s writings for the magazine reflected his study of submarine warfare for the lessons to be learned. One of his ways of illustration was to publish accounts of well handled, and very successful, war patrols. Those accounts were always fascinating and very instructive. His grasp of the larger meaning of submarines also came through in his articles which he often wrote under a pen name. An excellent example is his Nuclear Submarines and the Principles of War in the July 1988 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW.
It is true that not all of Bill Rhue’s observations, opinions and conclusions about the world of submarine warfare met with universal agreement within the community. He did give forum, and voice, to discussion of those matters, however, and for that as well as for the legacy he left us in this magazine, we are very grateful. He was as he wanted to be, a student of submarine warfare, and certainly added significantly to the body of that knowledg.