Archive for April, 2014

Captain Rush Responds, Part III

BILLFISH's crew for her 7th and 8th war patrols.

Last week, “Tidbits” featured an article by LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), entitled “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.” Lucas learned early in his career that life beneath the waves was not for him, yet the exigencies of World War II kept returning him to boats as commanding officer. On 11 November 1943, in the midst of an engagement aboard USS BILLFISH (SS-286), Lucas froze. His engineering officer, LT Charles Rush, took charge, although his actions would not come to light for several decades. In an interview given to the Naval Institute’s Proceedings in 2002, Rush, who would go on to a long and successful naval career, describes how he came to be aboard BILLFISH and what happened on that fateful autumn day. Today’s installment is part three of five.

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Captain Rush Responds, Part II

Last week, “Tidbits” featured an article by LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), entitled “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.” Lucas learned early in his career that life beneath the waves was not for him, yet the exigencies of World War II kept returning him to boats as commanding officer. On 11 November 1943, in the midst of an engagement aboard USS BILLFISH (SS-286), Lucas froze. His engineering officer, LT Charles Rush, took charge, although his actions would not come to light for several decades. In an interview given to the Naval Institute’s Proceedings in 2002, Rush, who would go on to a long and successful naval career, describes how he came to be aboard BILLFISH and what happened on that fateful autumn day. Today’s installment is part two of five.

Continue reading “Captain Rush Responds, Part II”

Captain Rush Responds, Part I

Last week, “Tidbits” featured an article by LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), entitled “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.” Lucas learned early in his career that life beneath the waves was not for him, yet the exigencies of World War II kept returning him to boats as commanding officer. On 11 November 1943, in the midst of an engagement aboard USS BILLFISH (SS-286), Lucas froze. His engineering officer, LT Charles Rush, took charge, although his actions would not come to light for several decades. In an interview given to the Naval Institute’s Proceedings in 2002, Rush, who would go on to a long and successful naval career, describes how he came to be aboard BILLFISH and what happened on that fateful autumn day. Today’s installment is part one of five.

Continue reading “Captain Rush Responds, Part I”

“One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part III

Many World War II submarine stories focus on the daring heroism of intrepid commanding officers and their steadfast crews. But as LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), demonstrates in his article “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.,” not everyone was, or is, cut out for the stress of submarine life. What makes Lucas’s story so extraordinary is the fact that he recognized his own limitations and chose to refashion his naval career to play to his strengths. Today we offer the third of three parts of Smith’s article, which describes the aftermath of Lucas’s breakdown and how he dealt—seemingly successfully and honorably—with his disgrace, which was not revealed to the public until long after it happened.

Continue reading ““One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part III”

“One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part II

Many World War II submarine stories focus on the daring heroism of intrepid commanding officers and their steadfast crews. But as LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), demonstrates in his article “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.,” not everyone was, or is, cut out for the stress of submarine life. What makes Lucas’s story so extraordinary is the fact that he recognized his own limitations and chose to refashion his naval career to play to his strengths. Today we offer the second of three parts of Smith’s article, which describes the incident which convinced Lucas that life as a submarine C.O. was not for him, nor was it good for his crew.

Continue reading ““One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part II”

“One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part I

Many World War II submarine stories focus on the daring heroism of intrepid commanding officers and their steadfast crews. But as LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), demonstrates in his article “One Man, Six Commands at Sea: Captain Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr.,” not everyone was, or is, cut out for the stress of submarine life. What makes Lucas’s story so extraordinary is the fact that he recognized his own limitations and chose to refashion his naval career to play to his strengths. Today we offer the first of three parts of Smith’s article, which introduces Lucas and provides the background for the most crucial element of his story.

Continue reading ““One Man, Six Commands at Sea,” Part I”

The Loss of USS GRENADIER (SS-210)

On 22 April 1943, USS GRENADIER (SS-210) was lost near the island of Phuket in Thailand. She did not die quietly.

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POGY Learns a Lesson

On 23 June 1942, PCU POGY (SS-266) splashed sideways into the waters of the Manitowoc River; she was commissioned six months later and dispatched to Pearl Harbor. As she set off on her fourth war patrol on 25 November 1943, the crew must have been feeling pretty good: over the course of their first three patrols, they had sunk two freighters, a gunboat, a sampan, an aircraft ferry, and a submarine tender; she also damaged several other ships but could not confirm that she had sent them to the bottom. But an encounter on 13 December was a vivid reminder that her opponents should not be underestimated.

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The Loss of USS GUDGEON (SS-211)

On 4 April 1944, USS GUDGEON (SS-211) set out from Pearl Harbor to begin her twelfth war patrol. She topped off her fuel tanks at Johnston Island three days later and was never heard from again.

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SM2 Chet Stanton & USS PARCHE (SS-384)

Although only one enlisted submariner has ever received a Medal of Honor, “the history of submarining is replete with instances of men of all grades acting to save lives,” writes LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), himself a former submariner. Today we will learn about the second of three junior Sailors “who…acted without orders from seniors, and whose actions saved lives and,” in many cases, the entire boat. Many thanks to LCDR Smith for these amazing stories.

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