It was sometime in the mid-1950s and USS PERCH (ASSP-313 ), a troop transport submarine based at San Diego, was in the middle of an Operational Readiness Inspection. The division Commander was putting the boat through a series of drills and trials to test crew readiness for operations. The boat was submerged at periscope depth and at battle stations, navigating in shallow water toward launch point for her embarked Marine reconnaissance force.
Suddenly the DivCom declared an emergency-PERCH had been run over by an undetected enemy patrol craft, and her conning tower was breached and flooded. Attempts at communication produced no response. The diving officer, Lt. Bev Jakimier, responded instantly and correctly. He ordered safety tank simulated blown to compensate for the flooded conning tower, had steering shifted to the control room, went deeper and set a course for the open ocean in order to clear the area. All hands in the conning tower including the captain, the executive officer, and the navigator, were presumed dead. Bev got on the 1 MC circuit and told the crew about the casualty and the loss of their shipmates, and the fact that as senior surviving officer he had succeeded to command of USS PERCH.
After he finished speaking the DivCom looked at him and said, “Mr. Jakimier, is there anything else you need to do?” presumably thinking about a urgent message to the submarine operational commander reporting the casualty. Bev looked at him, nodded, and turned to the Chief of the Watch. “Chief, have the steward move my things into the CO’s stateroom.”
The DivCom was speechless!