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Davidson, John F. (1908-1989)

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)

 Based on five interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell from August 1985 through October 1985. The volume contains 439 pages of interview transcript plus an index. The transcript is copyright 1986 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee has placed no restrictions on its use.

After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1929, Admiral Davidson served in the battleships Utah (BB-31) and Arizona (BB-39). From 1933, when he entered submarine school, through World War II, his life was submarines, with service in the Cachalot (SS?170) and S-45 (SS-156), and command of S-44 (SS-155), Mackerel (SS-204), and Blackfish (SS-221). One of his talented junior officers in the Blackfish was Eugene Wilkinson, later the first skipper of the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus (SSN-571). Davidson discusses war patrols in both Atlantic and Pacific. Another thread running through his career was the detailing of officers, a difficult business that Davidson tackled with finesse. After serving as a department head at the Naval Academy in the early 1950s and commanding the heavy cruiser Albany (CA-123), he returned to Annapolis as Superintendent in the early 1960s. He offers many reflections on the joys and trials of that position, including reminiscences of many top political and military leaders. Admiral Davidson has an engaging style that makes his memoir a particular pleasure to read.


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