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Adm Charles Andrews Lockwood, Jr

Adm Charles Andrews Lockwood, Jr

Midland, Fauquier County, Virginia, USA
Death 6 Jun 1967 (aged 77)
Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Burial San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA
Plot Section C Row C-1 Site 5
Memorial ID 2156 · View Source
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US Navy Admiral, Author.

He is best remembered as the legendary commander of Submarine Force Pacific Fleet during World War II and for writing a number of books on submarine warfare and naval history.

He devised tactics for the effective use of submarines, making the members and elements of "silent service" key players in the Pacific victory.

Born in Midland, Virginia, he entered the US Naval Academy in 1908, graduating in 1912. After brief assignments aboard the battleships USS Mississippi and USS Arkansas along with a short tour in 1914 as an instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois, he was assigned to the tender USS Mohican for indoctrination in submarines. By December of that year, he had his first submarine command, A-2, followed by the B-1.

When the US entered World War I in April 1917, he commanded Submarine Division 1, Asiatic Fleet. Afterwards, with the exception of a tour on the Asiatic station where he commanded the gunboats USS Quiros and USS Elcano on the Yangtze Patrol in China and the destroyer USS Smith Thompson, practically all his sea service was in and connected with submarines.

In June 1939 he became Chief of Staff to Commander Submarine Force, US Fleet, on the cruiser USS Richmond, that was interrupted in February 1941 when he was sent to London as naval attaché and principal observer for submarines. In May 1942, after the US entry into World War II, he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and performed duty in Perth, Western Australia as Commander, Submarines, Southwest Pacific. He also acted as Commander Allied Naval Forces, Western Australia, until July 1942, overseeing the major bases at Fremantle and Exmouth, among others.

In 1942 and early 1943, US submarines proved little threat to Japanese warships and merchant ships alike. As a result of his initiatives, the "silent service" suddenly began racking up many kills, including key enemy warships. Most importantly, US submarines were responsible for severing Japan's shipping routes to their colonies in Southeast Asia, by sinking close to half of their merchant ships. The Imperial Japanese Navy was caught off guard and never recovered.

In February 1943, following the death of the Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC), Rear Admiral Robert Henry English, in a plane crash in California, he was transferred to Pearl Harbor to become COMSUBPAC, in which capacity he served the rest of the war, being promoted to vice admiral in October 1943. His strong leadership and devotion to his sailors won him the nickname "Uncle Charlie". Submarine patrols were long voyages and many times the crew finishing up on "iron rations" of poor food as their food supplies ran out, so he made great strides in providing for rest and recuperation for his sailors when they returned to port, such as two-week stays at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and crates of ice-cream and leafy vegetables to greet returning submarine crews.

He oversaw the introduction into the Pacific Fleet of a few hundred newly constructed fleet submarines from American shipyards, and the manning of them with newly trained officers and men. Older boats, like the S-class, were removed from combat and sent back to the US for use in training or to be scrapped. Additionally, he oversaw the moving forward of the Pacific Fleet submarine bases from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Australia to places like Saipan, Guam, the Admiralty Islands, and Subic Bay, the Philippines. This reduced the very long ocean voyages for American submarines, and steadily tightened the noose on Imperial Japanese supply lines, especially in the East China and South China Seas.

Most importantly, he was responsible for cleaning out the "dead wood," replacing timid and unproductive submarine skippers with (often) younger and more aggressive officers. During the early stages of the Pacific War, US skippers were relatively complacent and docile, compared to their German counterparts who understood the "life and death" urgency in the Atlantic.

After the end of World War II, he served as the Naval Inspector General in Washington DC until his retirement in June 1947 at the rank of vice admiral, with 35 years of continued military service.

Among his military decorations and awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with two gold stars, the Legion of Merit, the World War I Victory Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

After his retirement, he authored and contributed to several best-selling books on naval history and submarine operations, including "Sink-Em All: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific" (1951), "Hellcats of the Sea" (1955), "Zoomies, Subs and Zeros" (1956), "Through Hell and Deep Water" (1956), "Tragedy at Honda" (1960), "Hell at 50 Fathoms" (1962), "Down to The Sea in Subs: My Life in the U.S. Navy" (1967), and "Battles of the Philippine Sea" (1967). He served as the technical advisor for the 1951 film "Operation Pacific" starring John Wayne, considered a classic depicting submarine warfare. He also served as technical advisor to the 1959 film "On the Beach."

He died at the age of 77. The frigate USS Lockwood was named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2156
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Adm Charles Andrews Lockwood, Jr (6 May 1890–6 Jun 1967), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2156, citing Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .