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First Submarine Casualty Drill?

Admiral Charles Lockwood, when an Ensign, took command of an A-class boat in Manila. He came from a surface craft environment and was initially not pleased at being assigned to submarines. As he came to learn the boat, he began to like the submarine service and the crews.

The final evolution before being given command of the boat, the USS A-2, he had a check-ride with the Division Commander (a Lieutenant). As the boat began its dive, the lights went out and the main motor stopped, someone yelled that they were flooding and the boat took a sharp down angle. Lockwood felt water splashing on him from somewhere.

He blew the ballast tanks (he had access to the air valves, remember we are talking about a boat that had a single compartment) then he ordered the planes to full rise. He yelled the valves to be shut that might isolate the flooding.

As the boat bobbed to the surface, the lights came back on and he saw the crew all looking at him and grinning, including the one that had the water bucket that splashed water on Lockwood's legs. He realized that he had been what he thought was the butt of a cruel prank. He was furious. That is until, of course, the Lieutenant explained that he had performed the correct actions and this was a test of his abilities.

Coming from the surface fleet, Lockwood had never heard of such a thing being done to an officer.

This is the earliest account I have found that the submarine force could plan and execute a casualty drill.

-- James Christley, January, 2005

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