The naval officer who supervised the design and construction of the nation's submarine fleet in World War II and later had charge of the design of all Navy ships, died on April 25, 1992 at Falmouth-by-the-Sea Convalescent Home in Falmouth, Maine. He was 90 years old and had lived in Portland, Maine, since moving from Washington, D.C. two years ago, his family said. He died of heart failure after a brief illness.
A native of Washington, D.C., he graduated with honors from the United States Naval Academy in 1924. After sea duty, he earned a Masters Degree in Naval Construction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On subsequent assignments, over ten years, he oversaw construction and design of ships being built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. From 1938 to 1945, he headed the Navy's Submarine Section. One of his first challenges in that role was investigation into the sinking of the subamarine Squalus during builder's trials in the Atlantic. His inquiry prompted redesign of submarine control panels, and through the war years he supervised the design and construction of submarines that were deployed against Japanese military and merchant targets in the Western Pacific and against German targets in the Atlantic. His part in the rapid launching of submarines won him the Legion of Merit and promotion to Captain.
Later technical missions overseas caused the Navy to update its submarine fleet, partly with German innovations like the U-Boat snorkel, which allowed the boat to surface less frequently. In 1946-52, he served as Director of Ship Design for the Navy Bureau of Ships.
When he retired from the service in 1959, he had been the Bureau's Assistant Chief for Design and Research for four years.
He stayed in Washington as a private consultant after that.
Among his ancestors was George Eskridge, the legal guardian of George Washington's mother, Mary Ball. His first wife, the former Gwendolyn Rockafellow, to whom he was married for 54 years, died in 1984. He is survived by his second wife, the former Eleanor Kershaw Doane, by two sons and three grandchildren.
He was born on May 11, 1902 and died on April 25, 1992. He was buried in Section 6 of Arlington National Cemetery.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard