On February 7, 1943, then LCDR Arnold Schade was second in command to
Howard Gilmore on the USS Growler, patrolling the Southwest Pacific.
In his own words - "We had got one ship troop convoy and a few nites [sic] later met a Jap gunboat at close quarters - very dark nite [sic] - he turned to ram us - we rammed him first - sub was badly crippled. He opened up on us with deck guns and killed most of our bridge watch that included Captain Howard Gilmore (New Orleans). Got two men below who were very seriously wounded. One had his leg blown off - the other lost his arm below his right elbow.
We submerged but we had bullet holes in the conning tower which nearly flooded us out - it caused us to lose all auxilliary [sic] power and started an electrical fire. We staid [sic] down for 20 minutes and then made a 'battle surface' (bob up and man all the guns) and found the gunboat had sunk.
When the Australians replaced our damaged bow they put two little kangaroos there - as a sort of figure-head. It is now our most prized distinctive marking."
In his official fourth Patrol Report for USS Growler (SS-215), Lieutenant Commander Schade states that Captain Gilmore gave the order to "Clear the bridge" after the hail of gunfire and before he died.
According to the surviving Officer of the Deck who was on the bridge with Gilmore, the Captain also said, "Take her down" in his final living moments, thereby refusing aid and ordering his men to safety. Although the stirring words "Take her down" do not appear in the official report, they became a part of submarine history. Captain Gilmore was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 13 July 1943.
It was LCDR Schade who obeyed the horrific order, and took his crippled ship with her crew to the safety of Brisbane. For this, he symbolizes all the nameless men of the Silent Service, doing their duty, whatever it may be.
Schade went on to command the US Atlantic Submarine fleet. In 1954, he took command of an amphibious attack cargo vessel in the eastern Pacific. Among other high-profile jobs, he advised President John F. Kennedy regarding Naval operations in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the end of his career, one of his duties was advising the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Schade retired in 1971 and moved to Port Charlotte with his wife, Becky. In 1976 he won a seat on the County Commission, and served one four-year term. He was also a founder of the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, chairman of the Charlotte County Development Authority, and chairman of the board of directors for the Port Charlotte Cultural Center -- now the Cultural Center of Charlotte County. He and his wife, now deceased, moved to San Diego in 2000.
VADM Schade died of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 91.
Stamford Conn. - Lt Comdr. Arnold F. Schade - USN - Academy class 1933 - entered age 17 - Wrestling - swimming principal sports - height 5'11 1/2", weight 170 - in submarine 8 years. Youngest sub-commander 1943 - NAVY CROSS - Silver Star - First Silver Star for sinking 3 Jap destroyer leaders on the 4th of July 1942 - and for 5 other ships on the second patrol. These destroyers were sunk in the Aleutians.
"Take her down"
Bio by: Synch
Rebecca Wetherill Fiske Schade
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