After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1929, Rear 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 USS Cachalot (SS-170) and S-45 (SS-156), and command of the S-44 (SS-155), Mackerel (SS-204), and Blackfish (SS-221). After serving as a department head at the Naval Academy in the early 1950s and commanding the heavy cruiser USS Albany (CA-123), he returned to Annapolis as Superintendent in the early 1960s.
In this excerpt, Davidson gives insight on a change he made at the Naval Academy that had many outsiders decrying the loss of military tradition — though the real reason it was implemented was simple pragmatism — and how one of his only defenders was a particularly good one to have: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/press/oral-histories.
Link to Davidson’s Oral History on the website: https://www.usni.org/press/oral-histories/davidson-john