Charles A. Lockwood
Charles Andrews Lockwood (6 May 1890–7 June 1967) was an admiral of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. He is known in submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 history as the legendary commander of Submarine Force Pacific Fleet
Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet is the principal advisor to the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet for submarine matters. The Pacific Submarine Force includes attack, ballistic missile and auxiliary submarines, submarine tenders, floating submarine docks, deep submergence...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He devised tactics for the effective use of submarines, making the members and elements of "silent service" key players in the Pacific
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...


Early life and career

Lockwood was born in Midland, Virginia
Midland, Virginia
Midland is a census-designated place in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. The population as of the 2010 Census was 218. Midland is home to a post office with the local zip code of 22728....

 on 6 May 1890, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in the class of 1912. Following brief cruises aboard the battleships USS Mississippi (BB-23)
USS Mississippi (BB-23)
USS Mississippi , the lead ship of her class of battleships, was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the U.S. state of Mississippi. After her career in the USN, she was sold to Greece and renamed Kilkis in 1914...

 and USS Arkansas (BB-33)
USS Arkansas (BB-33)
USS Arkansas , a was the third ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 25th state.A dreadnought battleship, Arkansas was laid down on 25 January 1910 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. She was launched on 14 January 1911 sponsored by Miss Nancy Louise...

, and a short tour as instructor in the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes
Naval Station Great Lakes
Naval Station Great Lakes is the home of the United States Navy's only boot camp, located near the city of North Chicago, Illinois, in Lake County. Important tenant commands include the Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago...

, in September 1914 he reported to the tender
Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of ship that supplies and supports submarines.Submarines are small compared to most oceangoing vessels, and generally do not have the ability to carry large amounts of food, fuel, torpedoes, and other supplies, nor to carry a full array of maintenance equipment and...

 USS Mohican
USS Mohican (1883)
The second USS Mohican was a steam sloop of war in the United States Navy. She was named for the Mohican tribe.-Construction:Mohican was laid down by Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 4 September 1872, funded with the repair money allocated for the first ; launched 27 December 1883; sponsored by...

 for indoctrination in submarines.

Submarine commander, World War I and postwar era

By 1 December 1914 he had his first submarine command, A-2
USS Adder (SS-3)
USS Adder , a Plunger-class submarine, was one of the earliest submarines used by the United States Navy. She was laid down on 3 October 1900 by the Crescent Shipyard, launched on 22 July 1901, and commissioned on 12 January 1903 at the Holland yard at New Suffolk, Ensign Frank L...

, followed by B-1
USS B-1 (SS-10)
USS B-1 was a B-class submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down by Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, under a subcontract from Electric Boat Company of New Suffolk, Long Island, as Viper, making her the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for...

. American entry into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 found him in command of Submarine Division 1, Asiatic Fleet.

From that time, with the exception of a tour on the Asiatic station where he commanded gunboat
A gunboat is a naval watercraft designed for the express purpose of carrying one or more guns to bombard coastal targets, as opposed to those military craft designed for naval warfare, or for ferrying troops or supplies.-History:...

s Quiros
USS Quiros (PG-40)
USS Quiros , a schooner rigged composite gunboat, was laid down for the Spanish Navy by the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company, Hong Kong, China in June 1894; launched in early 1895; captured by the U.S. Army at Manila in 1898; acquired by the Navy 21 February 1900; and commissioned at Cavite Navy...

 (PG-40) and Elcano
USS Elcano (PG-38)
USS Elcano was a gunboat captured by the United States Navy from the Spanish Navy during the Spanish-American War. She was officially commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1902. She served for many years in the Yangtze Patrol where she saw action against pirates and warlords...

 (PG-38) on the Yangtze Patrol
Yangtze Patrol
The Yangtze Patrol, from 1854 to 1945, was a prolonged naval operation to protect American interests in the Yangtze River's treaty ports. Initially the patrol was carried out by ships of the United States Navy's East India and Asiatic Squadrons. In 1922, the "YangPat" was established as a formal...

 and the destroyer Smith Thompson (DD-212), practically all his sea service was in and connected with submarines.

In addition to those listed above are added G-1
USS G-1 (SS-19½)
USS G-1 was the lead ship of her class of submarine of the United States Navy. While the four G-boats were nominally all of a class, they differed enough in significant details that they are sometimes considered to be four unique boats, each in a class by herself.-Construction history:G-1 was...

, N-5
USS N-5 (SS-57)
USS N-5 was a N-class coastal defense submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down on 10 April 1915 by Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut...

, UC-97
SM UC-97
SM UC-97 was a German Type UC III minelaying submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy during World War I. The U-boat was ordered on 12 January 1916 and was launched on 17 March 1918...

(ex-imperial German navy
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

), R-25
USS R-25 (SS-102)
USS R-25 was an R-class coastal and harbor defense submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down 26 April 1917 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut; the R-boats built by Lake Torpedo Boat are sometimes considered a separate class from those built by Fore...

, S-14
USS S-14 (SS-119)
USS S-14 was a second-group S-class submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down on 7 December 1917 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She was launched on 22 October 1919 sponsored by Mrs. George T. Parker, and commissioned on 11 February 1921 with...

, and Bonita (SS-165)
USS Bonita (SS-165)
USS Bonita , a Barracuda-class submarine and one of the "V-boats," was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the bonito....


World War II service

In June 1939 he became Chief of Staff to Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Fleet, on the cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

USS Richmond (CL-9)
USS Richmond was an Omaha-class light cruiser of the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for the city of Richmond, Virginia....

 (CL-9). This important service was interrupted in February 1941 when he was sent to London as naval attaché and principal observer for submarines.

Following promotion to rear admiral
Rear admiral (United States)
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. The uniformed services of the United States are unique in having two grades of rear admirals.- Rear admiral :...

 in May 1942 he arrived in West Australia as Commander, Submarines, Southwest Pacific (COMSUBSOWESPAC). He also acted as Commander Allied Naval Forces based in Western Australia until July 1942.

In February 1943, following the death of the COMSUBPAC, Rear Admiral Robert Henry English
Robert Henry English
Robert Henry English was a United States Navy Commissioned officer who commanded the U.S. Navy's submarine force in the Pacific Ocean early in World War II....

, in a plane crash in California, Lockwood was transferred to Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 to become Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC), in which capacity he served the rest of the war, being promoted to vice admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 in October 1943. Lockwood's 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 Lockwood made great strides in providing for rest and recuperation (R & R) 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.

Lockwood oversaw the introduction into the Pacific Fleet of a huge number of newly-constructed fleet submarines from American shipyards, including the one in Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Manitowoc is a city in and the county seat of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States. The city is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. According to the 2000 census, Manitowoc had a population of 34,053, with over 50,000 residents in the surrounding communities...

, 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.

He oversaw the moving forward of the Pacific Fleet submarine bases from Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, and Australia to places like Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 - where a submarine tender was stationed for a period of time - Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, the Admiralty Islands
Admiralty Islands
The Admiralty Islands are a group of eighteen islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the north of New Guinea in the south Pacific Ocean. These are also sometimes called the Manus Islands, after the largest island. These rainforest-covered islands form part of Manus Province, the smallest and...

, and Subic Bay
Subic Bay
Subic Bay is a bay forming part of Luzon Sea on the west coast of the island of Luzon in Zambales, Philippines, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila Bay. Its shores were formerly the site of a major United States Navy facility named U.S...

, the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. 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 Sea
East China Sea
The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of 1,249,000 km² or 750,000 square miles.-Geography:...

 and the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...


He pushed the Navy's Bureau of Ships
Bureau of Ships
The United States Navy's Bureau of Ships was established by Congress on June 20, 1940, by a law which consolidated the functions of the Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of Engineering. The new Bureau was to be headed by a Chief and Deputy-Chief, one selected from the engineering...

 and Bureau of Ordnance
Bureau of Ordnance
The Bureau of Ordnance was the U.S. Navy's organization responsible for the procurement, storage, and deployment of all naval ordnance, between the years 1862 and 1959.-History:...

 to provide his men with the most effective submarines and torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

es possible. He oversaw the tests that proved the unreliability of U.S. torpedoes, which at the time were often running too deep or failing to detonate, and prompted the improvements that made them the highly effective weapons they became in 1944 and 1945. In fighting for better torpedoes Lockwood had to fight the Mark 14 torpedo
Mark 14 torpedo
The Mark 14 torpedo was the United States Navy's standard submarine-launched anti-ship torpedo of World War II.This weapon was plagued with many problems which crippled its performance early in the war, and was supplemented by the Mark 18 electric torpedo in the last 2 years of the war...

 and Mark VI exploder supporter Admiral Ralph Waldo Christie
Ralph Waldo Christie
Ralph Waldo Christie was an admiral in the United States Navy who played a pivotal role in the development of torpedo technologies...


Most importantly, Lockwood cleaned 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
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 who understood the "life and death" urgency in the Atlantic. There was plenty of room for error and cautious judgement since the Japanese did not take the US submarine threat seriously.

In 1942 and early 1943, US submarines proved little threat to Japanese warships and merchant ships alike. As a result of Lockwood's 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.

Lockwood's wartime awards were the Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is a military award of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps which was first created in 1919. The decoration is the Navy and Marine Corps equivalent to the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, and the Coast...

 three times, and the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...


Post-war career and retirement

After the war, Lockwood served as the Naval Inspector General
Naval Inspector General
The Office of Naval Inspector General for the United States Navy was established during World War Two to make invistigations as directed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations...

 until his retirement in June 1947. In retirement at Los Gatos, California
Los Gatos, California
The Town of Los Gatos is an incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population was 29,413 at the 2010 census. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains...

, he authored and contributed to several best-selling books on naval history
Naval history
Naval history is the area of military history concerning war at sea and the subject is also a sub-discipline of the broad field of maritime history....

 and submarine operations, including Tragedy at Honda, Sink-Em All, Through Hell and Deep Water, Hell at 50 Fathoms, Zoomies, Subs and Zeros, Hellcats of the Sea, Battles of the Philippine Sea, and Down to The Sea in Subs: My Life in the U.S. Navy.

In one of his book promotion speeches following the war, Lockwood mentioned that he was an avid deer hunter. After the speech, he was approached by Ralph T. Duncan, a pharmacist living in Los Gatos, California. Duncan invited Lockwood to be his guest that year at Jake's Opening Hunting Club, near Boonville, California
Boonville, California
Boonville is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located southwest of Ukiah, at an elevation of 381 feet . The population was 1,035 at the 2010 census.-History:...

. They became fast friends. After Lockwood had been deer and quail hunting at the club for several years as Duncan's guest, Lockwood learned of an amazing coincidence: that it was on the same hunting club property that Admiral English
Robert Henry English
Robert Henry English was a United States Navy Commissioned officer who commanded the U.S. Navy's submarine force in the Pacific Ocean early in World War II....

 (Lockwood's predecessor as submarine fleet commander) had died in the crash of the Philippine Clipper flying boat. It was because of the death of English that Lockwood had been given command of the Pacific submarine fleet.

Lockwood died on 7 June 1967. He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery is a U.S. National Cemetery, located in the city of San Bruno, San Mateo County, 12 miles south of San Francisco. Because of the name and location, it is frequently confused with San Francisco National Cemetery, which dates to the 19th century and is in the Presidio...

 in San Bruno, California
San Bruno, California
San Bruno is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. The population was 41,114 at the 2010 census.The city is adjacent to San Francisco International Airport and Golden Gate National Cemetery.-Geography:San Bruno is located at...

 alongside his wife and Admirals Chester Nimitz
Chester Nimitz
Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz, GCB, USN was a five-star admiral in the United States Navy. He held the dual command of Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet , for U.S. naval forces and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas , for U.S...

, Raymond Spruance, and Richmond Kelly Turner, an arrangement made by all of them while living.


The frigate USS Lockwood (FF-1064)
USS Lockwood (FF-1064)
USS Lockwood was the 13th Knox class Destroyer Escort, redesignated a Frigate in 1975. She was named for Charles A. Lockwood. She was constructed by Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington, laid down 3 November 1967, launched 5 September 1968 and delivered December 1, 1970...

 was named in his honor.

External links

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