One of 33 men that were rescued by an experimental diving bell when the submarine USS Squalus sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1939. He was the commanding officer of the vessel when the two-day rescue operation off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, captured worldwide attention.
He was a 35-year-old Lieutenant when the vessel sank in 240 feet of water on the morning of May 23, 1939. Twenty-six men, including 2 civilian technicans, were trapped in the flooded aft compartment and died. The remaining thirty-four Naval personnel and a third civilian were brought to the surface by the rescue chamber being used for the first time. The Squalus was later refloted, repaired and returned to sea duty as the USS Sailfish, receiving credit for sinking seven enemy vessels during World War II. The survivors were brought up in four trips as the diving bell rode on a cable attached to the forward hatch of the ship. An inquiry determined that the accident was caused by a failure of an intake valve.
He was born in New Orleans on March 24, 1904 and was a 1925 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He served in the Pacific throughout World War II and remained in the Navy until he retired on July 1, 1955.
He died on November 13, 1989 of cancer at Andrews Air Force Base Hospital and was buried in Section 5 of Arlington National Cemetery.
“My Officers And Men Acted Instinctively
And Calmly. There Were No Expressions Of
Fear And No Complains Of The Bittler Cold.
Never In My Remaining Life Do I Expect To
Witness So True An Exemplification Of
Comradship And Brotherly Love. No Fuller
Meaning Could Possibly Be Given The Word
‘Shipmate' Than Was Reflected By Their Acts.”
O. F. Naquin, CO, USS Squalus 1939
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