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Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, Jr. was raised in Vallejo, California and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1892. He became Senior Aide on the staff of Commander, Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet on June 3, 1915. He simultaneously commanded the New London, Connecticut Submarine Flotilla and New London Submarine Base, and Submarine School. While serving in this post, he suggested that the Navy create a division of submarine affairs presided over by a senior flag officer, who could promote and oversee both technical and operational matters. Stirling was chosen in 1917 to head the Submarine Standardization Board, which recommended improvements to the S Class submarines then under construction. The board's recommendations about size, range, and capabilities, played a major role in submarine design during the 1920s. While the board was meeting, Stirling became Chief of Staff to the Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet from April 19, 1917 until July 18, 1917. From April 1920 until June 1922 Stirling was Captain of the Yard, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. During this time, he wrote to the Secretary of the Navy criticizing U.S. submarine capabilities, claiming they were unfit for service. His recommendation, for a Bureau of Submarines, similar to the Bureau of Aeronautics, was turned down. Stirling died in 1948.

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Admiral Thomas C. Hart, born in 1877 in Gennessee, Michigan, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1897. After serving in surface ships, he assumed command of the Third Submarine Flotilla in February 1916 and Submarine Base New London in July 1917. During World War I, he commanded Submarine Base New London, was Chief of Staff to Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet, and commanded Submarine Divisions 4 and 5, which operated in European waters. Hart served as Director of Submarines in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, from June 1918 through July 1920, where he chaired the postwar U-Boat Plans Committee. The committee called for building long-range cruiser submarines capable of operating independently in the Pacific Ocean. These ideas were the genesis of the Navy’s submarine program between World War I and World War II. This submarine program eventually produced the fleet submarine of World War II. Between June 1936 and April 1939 Hart served on the Navy’s General Board. In this position, he called for a new small submarine design suitable for mass production in wartime. His proposed strategy, which was not adapted, called for large numbers of small submarines rather than fewer highly capable boats. Hart commanded the U.S. Asiatic Fleet before retiring in July 1942. Hart was appointed a U.S. Senator from Connecticut in 1945. He died in July 1971.

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Vice Admiral Emory Scott Land, from Cannon City, Colorado, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on May 21, 1902. Following two years of sea duty, he became a Naval Architect specializing in submarine construction. During World War I, he served on the Board of Devices and Plans connected with Submarines in Warfare, the Board of Standardization of Submarines, and the staff of Admiral William S. Sims, who commanded all U.S. naval forces in European waters. Land played a key role in the design of the S Class submarines from 1917 to 1919, the Navy's first attempt to build a submarine capable of operating with the battle fleet. Land was vice chairman of the Navy’s postwar U-Boat Plans Committee in 1920. From October 1, 1932 until April 1, 1937, Land was Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair. In this position, he played a major role in submarine development leading to the highly successful fleet boats of World War II. Land retired in 1937, but on February 18, 1938 he became Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, overseeing the design and construction of the more than 4,000 Liberty and Victory ships that flew the U.S. flag during World War II.

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Rear Admiral Thomas Withers helped change the direction of U.S. Navy submarine policy during the 1920s. In February 1928, Withers, commanding Submarine Division 4, argued that rather than using submarines as scouting units for the fleet or coastal defense craft, the Navy should design and use its submarines as independent commerce raiders. He called for submarines with improved habitability, sea keeping, and longer range. Withers, a native of South Platte, Colorado, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906. He commanded the submarine USS E-1 from April 1914 to July 1916. During this time, E-1 made a 10-day voyage, the longest by a U.S. submarine to that time. The voyage tested crew and submarine endurance and proved that the smaller submarines then being proposed would not meet U.S. Navy requirements for trans-oceanic operations. Withers commanded Submarine Division 95 from July 1922 to March 1923. He was also Commander Submarines, Scouting Force from January 1941 to May 1942. This command became Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, at the outbreak of World War II.

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Rear Admiral Allan R. McCann, played a major role in submarine rescue, by developing the diving bell that helped rescue 33 crewmen from the USS Squalus (SS-192) in May 1939, when she sank in 240 feet of water off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Along with Vice Admiral Momsen, McCann received a commendation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his efforts in the rescue. Born in North Adams, Massachusetts in 1896, McCann graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1917 and from the recently instituted U.S. Navy Submarine School in 1919. Between May 1920 and June 1924 he commanded the submarines USS K-6, USS N-4, and USS L-3. From July 1929 to July 1931, he was assigned to the Maintenance Division, Bureau of Construction and Repair, where he developed the submarine rescue chamber. Development of the diving bell was spurred on by controversy following the sinking of the submarine S-4 in December 1927. Six crewmen survived for three days in the torpedo room, but the Navy had no means of rescuing them. Following this, he commanded the submarine USS Bonita (SS-165) and Submarine Squadron 7 during World War II. He received the Legion of Merit for this tour. He died in 1967.

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Vice Admiral Charles B. Momsen developed the submarine escape device known as the "Momsen Lung," for submariners escaping from sunken submarines, while serving with the Submarine Safety Test Unit aboard the submarine S-4 between June 1929 and September 1932. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for personally testing the device at a depth of 200 feet. Eight submariners used their "Momsen Lungs" to reach the surface from the USS Tang (SS-306), which was sunk in 180 feet of water in the East China Sea in October 1944. (Of the eight, only five survived a night at sea, to be taken prisoner.) Development of the submarine escape device was spurred on by controversy surrounding the sinking of the submarine S-4 in December 1927. Six crewmen survived for three days in the torpedo room, but the sailors had no way to escape the submarine. Momsen himself, born in Flushing, New York, in 1896, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1919 and from the U.S. Navy Submarine School in January 1922. He commanded the submarines O-15, R-24, and S-1. Along with Rear Admiral McCann, he received a commendation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his efforts in the rescue of 33 sailors from the submarine USS Squalus in May 1939. During World War II, he served as Commander, Submarine Squadron 2 and Commander, Submarine Squadron 4. He received the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit for commanding the U.S. Navy's first wolf pack in enemy waters from February 1943 to June 1944. He died in 1967.

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Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood will forever be known in submarine history as the legendary COMSUBPAC, Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet, who led the silent service to victory during World War II in the Pacific. Born in Midland, Virginia, on 6 May 1890, Lockwood graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912. He was assigned command of the submarine USS A-2 (SS-3) in 1914. He command the ex-German submarine UC-97 from March 1919 to August 1919, and the submarine USS V-3 (SS-163) from May 1926 to December 1928. The ex UC-97 was used to evaluate the capabilities of German submarine equipment. During World War II Lockwood served in the thick of action, as U.S. Naval Attache to Great Britain from February 1941 to March 1942 and Commander Submarines, Southwest Pacific, from April 1942 until February 1943. Following the death of Rear Admiral Thomas England in February 1943, Lockwood shifted his flag to Pearl Harbor, assuming direction Pacific Fleet submarines. During his tour, Lockwood improvised tactics to make the most effective use of submarines and pushed the Navy’s Bureaus of Ships and Ordnance to provide his men with the most effective submarines and torpedoes possible. He oversaw the tests that proved early U.S. torpedo unreliability and prompted the improvements that made them the highly effective weapons they became in 1944 and 1945. U.S. submarines sank more than 5.6 million tons of enemy shipping including more than 1,100 merchant ships and 200 warships. U.S. submarine attacks on enemy shipping accounted for more than fifty percent of enemy ships lost during the war. Of the 16,000 U.S. submariners in the war, 375 officers and 3,131 enlisted men on fifty-two submarines were lost. The U.S. submarine force's wartime success was achieved with the lowest casualty rate of any combatant submarine service on either side. Lockwood's strong leadership and devotion to his troops won him the nickname "Uncle Charlie" and a promotion to Vice Admiral in late 1943. Lockwood died in June 1967.

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Admiral Hyman G. Rickover was born in Poland on 27 January 1900, just a few months before the American submarine force came into existence. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1922 and served on board USS LaVallette and USS Nevada until he returned to the Academy for postgraduate education in electrical engineering. Rickover underwent submarine training between January and June 1930. His service as head of the Bureau of Ships' Electrical Section during World War II brought him a Legion of Merit and provided him with experience in directing large development programs, choosing talented technical people, and working closely with private industry. Assigned to the Bureau of Ships in September 1947, Rickover received training in nuclear power at Oak Ridge Tennessee and worked with the bureau to explore the possibility of nuclear-powered ship propulsion. In February 1949 he received assignment to the Division of Reactor Development at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and as Director of the Naval Reactors Branch in the Bureau of Ships. This twin role enabled him to lead the effort to develop the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN-571), commissioned in January 1955. Promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral by 1958, Rickover exerted tremendous influence over the nuclear Navy in both engineering and cultural ways. His views touched matters of design, propulsion, education, personnel, and professional standards. In every sense, he played the role of father to the nuclear fleet, its officers, and its men. After sixty-four years of service, Rickover retired from the Navy as a full admiral on 19 January 1982. He died on July 8, 1986.

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Although an aviator, Vice Admiral William F. Raborn, Jr. had a major impact on modern U.S. Navy submarine operations. Born in Bromlow, Texas on 8 June 1905, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1928. He directed the Gunnery Training Section at the Bureau of Aeronautics during World War II and later commanded the aircraft carriers USS Bairoko (CVE-115) and USS Bennington (CVA-20). Raborn was a rear admiral when he was appointed, on 8 November 1955, as Director of Special Projects at the Bureau of Weapons. His task was to develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Raborn was appointed because of his reputation for getting along with people during stressful situations. Raborn reported directly to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke and the Secretary of the Navy Charles Thomas. Raborn was told the new system had to achieve interim capability by early 1963 and full capability by early 1965. The USS George Washington (SSBN-598), the first ballistic missile submarine, was commissioned 30 December 1959, fired its first test missile 20 July 1960, and departed on the Navy's first deterrent patrol on 15 November 1960. Raborn received the Distinguished Service Medal and was appointed Vice Admiral in 1960. He became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Development in 1962. After his 1963 retirement he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for one year. He died on 14 March 1990.

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In August 1954 Vice Admiral Eugene P. Wilkinson, then a Commander, became the first commanding officer of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571). During his three-year tour, he presided over pre-commissioning and post-commissioning trials of the submarine. These critical trials established the capabilities of the nuclear-powered submarine and were used in the development of early nuclear-powered submarine tactics. Nautilus successfully attacked surface ships without being detected and evaded most pursuers. Wilkinson, born in August 1918 in Long Beach, California, graduated from San Diego State College in 1938 and was commissioned in December 1940. He served aboard the submarine USS Darter (SS-227) during World War II. Wilkinson was awarded the Silver Star for his service aboard the Darter. Prior to commanding Nautilus, he commanded the submarines USS Volador (SS-490), USS Sea Robin (SS-407), and USS Wahoo (SS-565). Following his tour aboard Nautilus, he commanded the Navy's first nuclear-powered surface ship, USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and served as Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet from 1969 to 1972.

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As the second commanding officer of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Captain William Anderson made the first voyage in history from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via the North Pole. On 3 August 1958, at a depth of 400 feet, Nautilus passed beneath the Polar ice cap. Prior to the trans-polar expedition, Anderson led Nautilus during a major North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise in September and October 1957, demonstrating the nuclear submarine's capabilities against modern anti-submarine warfare forces. During this exercise, Nautilus evaded nearly all pursuers and launched many attacks without being detected. Anderson, a native of Bakerville, Tennessee, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1942 and from submarine school in September 1942. He served aboard USS Tarpon (SS-175) and USS Narwhal (SS-167), and was awarded the Bronze Star while serving aboard USS Trutta (SS-421) during World War II. Following the war he served aboard USS Sarda (SS-488), and USS Tang (SS-563), and as commanding officer of USS Wahoo (SS-565). He also served as Tactical Department Head at the U.S. Navy Submarine School and as Advisor to the Chief of the Naval Reactors Branch for Submarine Operating Matters, Atomic Energy Commission.

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Captain Edward L. Beach won fame as a submarine commander and best-selling author describing life beneath the waves. The son of a career naval officer, Beach was born in Palo Alto, California in 1918. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1939 and from Submarine School in 1941. During World War II, he served as Damage Control Assistant, Chief Engineer, and Executive Officer of USS Trigger (SS-237), during which time she was one of the highest scoring submarines in the force. He received the Navy Cross for his service as Executive Officer of USS Tirante (SS-420) in early 1945. Beach also made one wartime patrol as commanding officer of USS Piper (SS-409). Following the war, he commanded USS Amberjack (SS-522), USS Trigger (SS-564), and USS Triton (SSN-586), and served as naval aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Between February and May 1960, Triton, under Beach's command, made the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe. This 83-day voyage proved the ability of nuclear-powered submarines to conduct long-duration operations in any part of the ocean. Beach has also won renown as the author of three submarine novels, including the best selling "Run Silent Run Deep," "Dust on the Sea," and "Cold is the Sea." He also wrote several nonfiction works, including "Submarine," "Around the World Submerged," "Wreck of the Memphis," "The United States Navy: 200 Years," and his autobiography, "Salt and Steel."

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Vice Admiral James F. Calvert played a key role in developing nuclear submarine Arctic tactics during his tour as commanding officer of the USS Skate (SSN-578) from December 1957 to September 1959. Skate surfaced at the North Pole in February 1959. During this tour, Calvert also helped define the operational capabilities of the Navy's first series-production class of nuclear submarine. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Calvert graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1942 and from Submarine School in September of that year. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star while serving aboard the submarine USS Jack (SS-259) during World War II. He also served as executive officer aboard the USS Haddo (SS-255) in 1945. Following the war, he served as executive officer aboard the USS Charr (SS-328) and USS Harder (SS-568) and as commanding officer of the USS Trigger (SS-564). Calvert served as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1968 to 1972.

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