Joy, Vivien, Linda, Captain Veazey, family and friends of ADM Pete Galantin, I am honored to be a part of this Memorial service and to represent the Admiral’s extended family at the Strategic Systems Programs Office … the successor to the Navy’s Special Projects Office, one of many organizations in our great Navy which bears ADM Galantin’s hand print! You see, he was the second Director of this great organization … an organization that will celebrate its 501h anniversary next year!
To put that in perspective, I am the 11th Director of SSP … I received by commission as an Ensign here at the USNA in June 1970 … the very same year that ADM Galantin retired from the Navy as a four star admiral! I guess I may have been the Admiral numerical replacement! Not a good deal for the Navy … trading in an Admiral, a warrior, and a seasoned Veteran for a wet-behind-the-ears Ensign!
Al though times have changed beyond our imagination since then-RADM Galantin commanded the Special Projects Office, most of the management and leadership procedures, processes, and tools that the Admiral used in his tenure, some 40 years ago, are still in use today by my management team. That is a real testament to his foresight, and management and leadership skill.
In verse 35 of the I 81h Psalm, we hear a wonderful philosophy about greatness; listen to God’s word:
Your right hand supports me;
your gentleness has made me great.
David offers an interesting twist to the concept of greatness, saying that God’s gentleness made him (David) great. Our society believes that greatness is attained through a combination of opportunity, talent, and aggressiveness. But true greatness comes from living according to God’s laws and standards and recognizing that all we have comes from the gentleness of God’s mercy. (Life Application Bible 2003 Calendar)
I can only imagine that ADM Pete Galantin lived his life with this knowledge and understanding. That is what made him a great man!
During over 41 years of service to the Navy, ADM Galantin made phenomenal contributions to the Navy in the defense of our Nation. It is my privilege to highlight some of these contributions for you.
From the review of his book SUBMARINE ADMIRAL From Battle wagons to Ballistic Missiles we read that ADM “Galantin learned well the unspoken rules of the silent service: the fate of the entire crew depends on each man’s action; that rank has no priority beneath the waves. Submariners got no second chances; fifty-two of the Navy’s subs became Iron coffins during the war, the highest mortality rate in the armed forces.” As the skipper of the Halibut in WWII he was a highly decorated submariner who stood tall among a number of real war heroes!
We get a sense of his abilities as a submarine warrior and as a courageous leader as we peer into one of his letters.
The Admiral in his own handwriting responded to the following question he received in a letter from a William Stanhope in 1990 (while he was living in Pinehurst, NC): “Of all the many combat situations that you were in, which one is the most vivid in your mind, and why?
“18 July ’90
A good question
Without doubt, the most vivid is the first in which I was commanding officer. On 29 August ’43 I was skipper of HALIBUT, and my first torpedo attack was against a destroyer, the submarine’s traditional enemy.
To my officers and men I was largely an unknown quantity, how would I act in combat? Was I aggressive, foolhardy, or what? Conversely, I had not seen my crew tested in battle.
With ideal periscope attack conditions I was able to make not one but two torpedo attacks from excellent positions. That we missed was only because the Mark XIV torpedo was grossly defective. The ensuing depth charging that we endured was all the more bitter. But now I had great confidence in my men and my ship, and perhaps they did in me. In the future we would go into combat with mutual trust and confidence.
That reflects a true leader … one who led under fire!
Now I would like to reflect on the period when ADM Galantin worked on the FBM -the Fleet Ballistic Missile -program … 26 February 1962 to 1 March 1965.
The press release upon ADM Galantin taking the helm at the Special projects Office gave the biography of a seasoned veteran, both at sea and in Washington.
Under his direction and leadership the Polaris A2 missile was first deployed, the Polaris A3 missile flight test program was completed, the A3 was then successfully deployed on the first of our “41 for Freedom” SSBNs. He was then given the task by President Johnson to develop the Poseidon C3 missile … a completely new and more capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile.
There is no program more important to the defense of the United States than the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile System. The systems for which the Admiral was responsible are only successful if they are never used in anger. The purpose of these systems is to deter major war, and to accomplish this mission they must be as effective and reliable as possible … the Admiral understood this. Not only did the Admiral contribute in winning WWII, he was a key factor in winning the Cold War … ADM Galan tin was a major contributor to our National Defense.
The Navy and the nation do indeed owe a debt of thanks to ADM Pete Galantin!
Admiral, your many friends from SSP
- salute your service, we value your influence on the strength of nation’s defense through the systems that were designed, developed, tested, and deployed under your leadership at the Special Projects Office.
- We cherish the continued impact you had on our Submarine community, our Navy, and our nation over the years since you were our Director.
In a review of the Admiral’s book SUBMARINE ADMIRAL, ADM William J. Crowe, the former US Ambassador to Great Britain and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, summed up ADM Galantin ‘s influence on the defense of our country in a simple statement: “… Admiral Galantin proved himself to be both a competent warrior and peacetime strategist.”
Admiral, you made a difference; you served with a purpose.