CDR Francis Douglas “Red Dog” Fane


CDR Francis Douglas “Red Dog” Fane

Aberdeen, Aberdeen City, Scotland
Death 13 Nov 2002 (aged 92)
Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA
Burial Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 82489479 View Source
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Captain Francis Douglas "Red Dog" Fane

A decorated US Naval Commander, leader of the U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), evaluated and developed advanced diving equipment, launched new diving techniques, and shared his expertise in several other aspects of diving with the public.

Born in 1909 in Aberdeen Scotland soon after his fathers accidental drowning Doug immigrated to the United States in 1911 with his Mother and Grandparents and became a Natural Citizen in 1934. He was involved with the Merchant Marine until joining the Naval Reserves and receiving a JG Commission in 1940.

In the next ten years Doug served on various vessels and saw combat action in various hot spots during WWII becoming an expert in cargo handling and munitions. He volunteered for the US NAVY Underwater Demolitions Teams (UDT) and soon after he earned the nickname "Red Dog Fane" because of his red hair and ruggedness. He was promoted to Lt. and put in charge of UDT Unit 13 being one of the first teams into Japan. After the war he was dispatched to Europe to investigate combat diving activities which became the beginning of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation within the UDT and later the Seal Teams. He brought back from Europe several Frogman specialists as consultants to the UDT program and later played a major role in saving UDT Team Programs from being dissolved. He helped establish UDT training facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands leading groups of UDT divers in developing diver lockout from submarines, use of diver transport vehicles, closed-circuit breathing systems, underwater navigation techniques and other innovations. He convinced the USN UDT to accept the new SCUBA system into the program.

During the 1950's Lieutenant Commander Fane was Senior UDT Officer during the Korean War leading several hazardous missions in both North & South Korea. After the war he became Commanding Officer of UDT 1 in Coronado, California where he continued his research and development of advanced diving equipment. He suffered the bends while locating a B-36 bomber that had crashed in the ocean off San Diego. He was diving tri-mix at 252 feet, a record for a working diver at the time. He co-wrote the history of the UDT, "The Naked Warriors", which was a compilation of his personal recollections and re-creations of combat missions from D-day to the battles in the Pacific. This is one of the most accurate stories of the UDT and the history that surrounds them today. This was followed by a feature film titled Underwater Warrior where producer Ivan Tors met his inspiration for the Sea Hunt televison series. He was involved with the Italian Seahorse and Trass diver transport vehicles, the Swimmer Propulsion Unit (SPU), the Minisub MK VII and the Rebikoff Pegasus diver transport vehicle. As part of the Defense Early Warning (DEW) Line across North America he led the first dives under the Arctic ice using air scuba before being promoted to full Commander. He led a team of UDT divers in shark research, diving research following atomic bomb testing, was a Technical Advisor on several underwater motion pictures and television shows and was military Intelligence Advisor to the Republic of China (Taiwan).

After his retirement in 1960 as a Captain he continued to do consulting and writing. He spent considerable time in Japan and Asia as a correspondent to publishing companies and radio stations. He became Editor of The Asian Oceanologist and was an Instructor and Dean of Faculty at Yokahama Gaigo Business College in Japan. He was also Director of the Southeast U.S. and Caribbean Section of World Life Research.

His contributions to Scuba in America are overwhelming. Much of the vision and hard work of Douglas Fane was the foundation for the U.S. Navy SEAL Team, which was formally launched in January 1962 by President Kennedy.

Doug received many honors and awards during his distinguished career, including numerous military commendations and medals: Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation, European Medal with one star; Asiatic-Pacific Medal with three stars; Commendation for Bravery; Combat Service Medals with stars for European, Pacific and Korean Wars; the U.S. Special Operations Command Award; and many others. He also received an Award from the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructors Association for his important contribution to the development to sport diving.

Doug died at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida leaving behind ten surviving children and a number of grandchildren.

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  • Created by: Nay
  • Added: 28 Dec 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 82489479
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for CDR Francis Douglas “Red Dog” Fane (16 Nov 1909–13 Nov 2002), Find a Grave Memorial ID 82489479, citing Lauderdale Memorial Park, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Nay (contributor 47177273) .