Edward L. "Ned" Beach, Captain, USN  -  1918-2002

On December 1, 2002, the submarine community lost a great friend and shipmate. Captain "Ned" Beach, known to the general public perhaps more for his books and frequent appearances in submarine documentaries, stood tall in the upper echelon of the submarine family.

To submariners, he was a superb Naval Officer who is arguably best known for his command of the USS Triton during her monumental circumnavigation of the oceans. Other shipmates may say that it was his influence via the book Run Silent, Run Deep that pointed them in the direction of service in submarines. Still others will note his contributions to the preservation of submarine history through tireless appearances in numerous quality submarine documentaries following his retirement.

Surprisingly to some, Captain Beach, while proud of his book, was not a fan of the motion picture Run Silent Run Deep.  In an interview for All Hands magazine, Beach was asked:  "How involved were you in the making of the movie? Did you have any input in that?" Beach responded, "None whatsoever. I was unhappy with the movie. If you read the book and look at the movie carefully - one right after the other - you'll see that the movie has little resemblance to Run Silent, Run Deep. I mean, I think they had the script pretty well written before they even read the book. They only wanted the title - they simply bought the book for the title. Now, Ingrid, that's my wife, says I shouldn't talk like this. She thinks I should say "Oh, it was a great movie. Go see it!" Because the more they see the movie, the more they'll want to buy the book. But I really can't say that, because it's not true to the Navy that I saw and tried to describe."

In that same interview, Beach was asked, "Besides your father, whom do you think has most influenced you?"

Beach responded, "I would put it to four people. Perhaps the first is my skipper on this old destroyer, USS Lea (DD 118). His name was Clarence Broussard, and he could run a ship beautifully. I became kind of a son to him and he a father figure to me. I had no idea he was a submariner, but when I left the ship to report to submarine school, he appeared in full uniform with a submarine pin on his jacket -- for me.

Another was my skipper aboard the submarine USS Trigger (SS 564). CDR Roy Benson was his name, and I really did like him. He was known as 'Pigboat Benny.' Terrific leader.

The third was the man who relieved Benson, after four excellent patrols. This was Robert E. "Dusty" Dornan, the most capable, hardest-fighting submariner in the force. I was his exec, and it was from him that I really learned the business.

The fourth was ADM Chester Nimitz himself."

The entire text of the interview is here.


WWII Service Highlights:

  • USS Trigger: Damage Control Assistant, Chief Engineer, and Executive Officer
  • USS Tirante: Executive Officer, awarded the Navy Cross
  • USS Piper: Commanding Officer, one war patrol

Post WWII Service Highlights:

  • USS Amberjack: Commanding Officer
  • USS Trigger II: Commanding Officer
  • USS Triton (SSN-586): Commanding Officer, world's largest submarine, 84 day circumnavigation of the earth
Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute
Captain Edward L. Beach plots the USS Triton's submerged position in the Canary Islands. The crossing lines of the submarine's course mark the location where the underwater circumnavigation of the world was completed on April 25, 1960.
(Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute)

Shipmate Robert "DEX" Armstrong has a way with words as they say.  In fact, it's down-right risky to print a "DEXterism" on your printer as it may just clog up with salt. I asked DEX if he would put together a few words for this tribute to Captain Beach and he was kind enough to offer the following:

Capt. Edward L. Beach United States Navy....A man who Qualified before a lot of us were born. A man who rode submarines against his nations enemies and had sterling credentials to prove it, along with what, in the trade we call a FULLY LOADED Submarine Combat Patrol Pin. He was a man who served President Eisenhower as a Naval Aid and went on to become the first Submarine Commander to circumnavigate the globe submerged.....when he commanded TRITON. 

But above all he was a storyteller...a wonderful storyteller who could weave the words that found root in the souls of adventurous youth and grew until some of them stepped down from buses in front of Dealy Center and dropped their seabags next to the steps leading up to the doors of The Basic Enlisted Submarine School... New London. 

Photo courtesy of US Naval InstituteThe dropping of those seabags was the culmination of a trip that began in the pages of squirreled away paperback books with titles like SUBMARINES and RUN SILENT RUN DEEP. Once Capt. Ned Beach tossed his harpoon in your heart, you were hooked. The pages of what this Naval icon penned dripped saltwater and adventure. You could read a page or two...close your eyes and be transported magically to Control Rooms of imaginary boats and hear the commands, picture the activity and smell the sweat of undersea warriors going about the business of sinking enemy ships. He was that good. No recruiting program roped in adventurous young lads and hauled them of to Sub School like Beach's books. He got me.....A gift, I once had the opportunity to thank him for. 

But above all, Capt. Edward L. Beach NEVER stopped giving of himself to the Submarine Service he so ably served and to the men who were once boys, that he so dearly loved. They say that the only true immortality is what you leave behind in the minds and hearts of men who actually knew you...If so, Ned Beach left a legacy that will long endure....and when all of us who knew, loved and respected him have likewise tossed our earthly gear on that Big Silver Pier in the sky.....Young boys will still be hiding RUN SILENT RUN DEEP behind book covers reading LOGARITHMIC SCALES and mentally slipping away to match wits with Bungo Pete. 

Capt. Beach if you had not passed this way, a lot of us would have never worn faded dungarees and hydraulic oil stained raghats and gone to sea in submersible scrap yard cheaters...missing what for many of us, were by far the best times of our lives. 

Tell me, how in the hell do you thank a man for that? I hope that wherever he is, he understands....Did anyone pipe...TRITON, DEPARTING? They damn well should have. Bye sir...DEX


Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute
Captain Edward L. Beach receives a welcome home from wife Ingrid following the submerged circumnavigation of the globe on the USS Triton. Captain Beach was the first commanding officer of the Triton, the only submarine powered by two nuclear reactors. (Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute)

BBS Posts

The various submarine bulletin boards had many posts related to the loss of Captain Beach. What follows is a sampling of those messages:

  • Mike Brood: Upon hearing about the Captain, our Abe Kern sent this memory...

    Ned Beach was a Submariner that we are all proud of and mourn his passing.

    My last image of him was rather inglorious. It is overlooked by his fringe associates.

    I saw him sitting in the conning tower hatch of the 2nd Triger with a "hang dog "look peering into the open hole dejected over yet another engine failure on that f*&%<> EB built sea going sewer pipe. The Trout and Wahoo were no better.

    Abe 

  • Jim Fox (Bull Nuke): I had the privilge of meeting and having the Capt. sign "Dust On the Sea" his new book, when I was a wee 2nd class and stationed in Groton. What a gracious and nice man, both my wife and I were enriched from the encounter. Godspeed, May the wind be at your back and your journey calm.

  • Elmer Olmstead: Commander (at that time) Beach is the man who convinced me to join the Submarine Navy. I was in radio school at the time. He stopped by to give a talk to the students. I, along with several others, was convinced. I immediately volunteered. Rest Your Oar Sailor. 

  • George Folta: When I was a Plebe at the Naval Academy, Ned was a first classman.  During his first class year he was the Regimental Commander of the midshipmen for one term.  (I don't remember if there were two or three terms per year). Anyhow, while Ned was the Regimental Commander, Orson wells had his radio program, "The war Between the Worlds."  It was at night, and it was realistic.  Those heavenly invaders were spreading out from New Jersey (I believe it was), and Ned must have consulted with some of the Academy Officers because soon the bells started ringing in Bancroft Hall (where we lived) and we all fell-in in the Inside Parade. We were to go to the Armory and pick up weapons to fight the invaders. However, before we did, it was apparently discovered that it was just a radio program and we stood down from the Parade and returned to bed. He received some ribbing for that, but at least it showed him to be a man of action.

  • John Bay: I mailed a letter to CDR Beach the other day, in which I told him that he had changed my life. I know now, and regret that he did not get it.

    I saw "Run Silent, Run Deep" in Gawd only knows what year as I was an ankle biter.   I remember being in the third grade, with Mrs. Kluge letting us put up a huge piece of newsprint against the wall and letting us draw on it. I drew submarines.

    That was just about the time the Nautilus was launched....

    After "Run Silent. Run Deep" (maybe not after, but about that time- maybe before- CRS sets in) I became aware of Admiral Dykstra and the Silent Service. (frankly, I do not remember which came first!)

    I Do remember sitting with my fat ass glued to the livingroom floor watching both of those shows. They are welded in my memory, and are the reason that you guys have to hear from me today!

  • Don Gentry: Few have done more to inspire young men to go into submarines. Few have done more to tell their stories and to perpetuate our collective history.

    He was one of the "John Waynes" of submarines and like Wayne, will live on via his many books and appearances in documentaries.

    A sad day in submarine history indeed.

    Thank you Captain Beach for all your contributions and inspiration!

    Sailor, rest your oar...

  • RC: Most of us will leave this life and be forgotten. Captain Beach will be remembered as long as men venture forth on the salt seas. I can hear his voice as he joins shipmates like Morton and O'Kane, "I Have The Con!"

  • Pat Householder: Words fail me. God bless you, CAPT Beach. And thank you for all you did for us.

  • Dick Dent: With all due respect to you and yours Mrs. Beach. Your husband is the man of "steel" that we would all "follow".

    His duty to his country will be long remembered and "your" duty to his "sacrifice" will be cherished.

    There is more truth than fiction to the line behind every good man lies a good woman.

    Without the love and devotion of our Submarine Wives we amy not have ever been the hero's that we were in WWII and today.

    To "Ned" and you and yours..."Hand Salute".

    "Sailor Rest Your Oar"

    In deepest sympathy,

    a boat sailor..

  • John "Steamer" Long: A great man has left ahead of us but we will all join him in time.

    RIP Captain......we have the watch.

    (followup email:

    Thanks for your Tribute to Captain Beach.

    It was a sad day here in the Northwest and all over the world when one of the icons of our service departed. The history of our Submarine Service is not over and I only hope that there are others out there that will continue his great works for Freedom.

  • Morris H. Vincent: Men like you who came to the aid of our country in it's hour of need will always be remembered. You and the other submariners of that era who volunteered to serve will always have my admiration. Your bravery may never be matched

  • Steven B. Rigdon: To me "ned" Beach was a true American HERO, I'm glad he was on our side, and not the enemies.

    He made a great contribution to the U.S.A., and the entire Submarine Community.

    He will be sorely missed.

    I wish the very best for his family, and our nation.

  • George Gambel: As far as my limited knowldge goes, he is the first one to write about submarine operations in the Pacific. He brought recognition to a little known but powerful submarine service.

  • Mike Ostlund: Captain Beach spent 1-2 hours with me on the phone several months ago. I am amazed and honored that he would do so, now knowing that he was very ill.

    We talked mainly of Dusty Dornin, and the other submariners he knew. Especially those associated with the USS GUDGEON. He had a million stories!

    As we talked he told me that he was very pleased to say that he has another book coming out soon. Actually it is his dad's work, I believe it is his memoirs, or his diary from his career. Though I would have to check my notes to see for certain.

    But, you all may want to keep your eyes open for it. He seemed excited about it.

    My condolences to the family, and thanks to Captain Beach for all he has done for this country!

  • Neal: Captain Beach was one of the great heros of our age.
    From his exploits in WW II to the sucessful transition to nuclear power. His career covered decades of submarine service and technology changes.

    His ability to put words to paper brought entertainment and understanding of submarine operations to many. He served, he served well, and he was able to say what he needed to and reach an audience.

    Farewell Captain, run silent and deep.

  • Bob Spide: May God be with you Captain. It was one of my greatest pleasures to meet you at the Dedication of the Submarine Sculpture at the Naval Academy. May you meet those Shipmates you honored so much in your writings. My condolences to your family.

    "Spider"

  • Doc Gardner: He inspired a lot of us to join the Navy, especially the Submarine Navy.

    Rest Your Oars Captain.

  • Dave Stoops: America was the richer for courageous men like Capt. Beach. What a man and what an example he set.

    Thank you, Captain for your service and to your leadership! I salute you, sir.

  • Mike Hemming: Like a lot of us Capt Beach's heroism and simple but great story telling led me to the submarine service. Which helped to change an immature 18 year old into a man that learn to take responsibility and realized he could do most anything he wanted. 

    Last May when I thanked Capt Beach for what he had done for me, he said, "Dont thank me, You did it, and I thank you for your service."
    I was a little stunned him thanking me I never did anything that could remotely compare to his contribution. But his saying that goes to show what a fantastic man and leader of men he was.

    Capt Beach, the world is a lesser place upon your passing. May your family know that you were loved and respected by many men.

    Thank you Sir.

  • Park Dallis: My brother and I had the privilege of meeting Capt. Beach at the commissioning of the USS O'Kane.

    Photo courtesy of Park Dallis

    We shared the above photograph with him and he told us of visiting Cdr. O'Kane at the hospital in Guam before returning to the states. He was surprised that O'Kane was standing in this photo because he was so near death from his POW experiences. He was evidently much more frail than he appears in the photo although he is wearing a jacket and everyone one else is in shorts and shirtsleeves.

    Run silent, run deep Captain Beach.

    (More about this photo)

  • Ron Martini: One evening I received an email from a guy in Iceland. He said that he and Capt. Beach were sitting there reading every post on this [Ron Martini's] BBS and enjoying it immensely. So in a way he knows you all.

    Capt. Beach later called me and asked if I would help him search for copies of his father's books. He had given his copies to the new Beach Hall at Annapolis and wanted to replace them in his own library. I think I found 4 of the 7 he needed.

    What a gentleman.

  • John Ackerman: I never met the good Captain, but his reputation preceeded him throughout the submarine force. Like many of us, that reputation caused me to read his books, some of them more than once.

    Now a legend is gone, but he's got to be in a better place and in very good company.

    Farewell Captain! God be with you always.

  • Tommy Cox: Just wanted to add my humble salute with my prayer that the legendary Captain can now rest his oar.

  • Robin White: Some people say submarines are just machines of war, that they're nothing but cold, dead instruments of destruction. Ned Beach's words told the world a different story. That when dedication, high purpose and service are poured into a steel hull, when good men stand together against an enemy more powerful, more patient and a hell of a lot craftier than any nation, something new, something very nearly alive, is created. Something that could almost be called a soul. Ned Beach taught us that lesson and I hope we never let ourselves forget it.

  • John "Gumba: Carcioppolo: I had the pleasure of meeting him last May as well. I enjoyed his speech although I had to keep telling him to talk into the microphone because the folks in the back couldn't hear him. He kept calling me COB ... "Thanks COB for inviting me here to Groton" ... "Thanks COB for helping me with that damneed Microphone. Never did like those things." In his speech I remember how he talked about single handedly winning WWII, and how he pushed the NAUTILUS down the ways. He was amusing, yet he was also living history.

    It may be a sad day here on earth for us Submariners, but heaven is just a little bit better today as there's another dolphin wearer amongst the Angels. Everyone knows tht "there ain't no Submariners down in hell"!

    Rest your oars Ned Beach. Sail in peace, and thank you for your service.

  • John Wynn: "Godspeed, Captain, I was honored to meet and talk with you in New London earlier this year."

    Photo courtesy John Wynn
    The instant this picture was taken, Captain Beach had just said, "Get those goddamed TEETH off the TORSK!!" - I was saying, "I'll try."
    - John Wynn

    You and me both Cowboy.....

    We should all thank Richard (Guns) Mendelson for making the initial arrangements that brought Capt'n Beach to our USSVI 38th Anniversary in New London last May..

    Thank you Guns and our prayers are with the family of Captain Beach!!

  • Jim "Red" Lawton: SAILOR REST YOUR OAR!

    And may I add Thanks for your service to your country.
    I feel proud to have met you.
    I feel like I should say something else but I just can't find the right words to say when the Submarine service loses a great hero like you.

  • Ron "Warshot" Smith: I was with him at last years Naval Submarine League Symposium. He was the guest of honor, good thing they didn't wait another year to honor him.

    I was also with him at the Naval Monument in DC were he bought a copy of my book and sort of apologized for "Those remarks about your book".

    A true gentleman and a true American.

    Peter Maas was there too as the main speaker. He introduced Capt. Beach by saying "Without this guy Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster would have just been two more pretty faces".

    Peter Maas just passed away a few months ago too.

  • Billy Bob / Launcher Larry: Thank you Captain Beach, to meet you and Captain Street before your passing just adds to my respect for you WWII warriors, all submariners should have skippers such as you. Being friends with Warshot, John Maniulow and others that parked several thousands tons of JAP sea going vessels on the ocean bottom has made me a wealthier man, far beyond what mere words cans say.

    Thank you sir for your service and for continuing with improvements for future submarine sailors,

    Sailor rest your oar, Hand salute, Ready...two

  • John J. Patterson: Sailor rest your oars. Thank you for your service and the inspiration to join the Submarine Force that you gave to many of us.

  • John "Steamboat" Fulton: The country is indeed a poorer place with the loss of a true hero of WWII and one who kept the memory alive of the truely heroic exploits of the Submarine veterans. It is hard to express how much we loved and admired Ned Beach.
    Sailor Rest Your Oars.

  • Bob "Flapper" Parker: I first read of your leadership in Around the World Submerged. This was one of the keys to my entry into the Navy and the Silent Service.

    Then while attending Submarine School I read Run Silent, Run Deep, which instilled in me the lore of my forebears in undersea warfare before the down of nuclear power.

    I and all my shipmates salute you as the exemplar of the sort of man we all strove to become - and certainly the kind of skipper we all wished we could serve under!

    May your memory live on in the annals of United States Submarine History. Lift a tall one with our departed shipmates in the tavern in Fiddler's Green.

  • Captain George Folta: (upon hearing from me on Ned's passing) Thanks for the update. I received your previous message about NED, and I was formulating a letter to him in my mind. Obviously, I am late. 

    If ever an officer was "screwed" by a more senior officer, it was Ned. Ned should not only have been an Admiral, but a perfect choice for Chief of Naval Operations. 

    I know of several other outstanding officers who outshined their bosses and, consequently, didn't make Admiral.

    I worked with Ned from time to time in the Pentagon shortly before I retired. He was always polite and helped me when I was in the "Shipbuilding and Conversion" group. 

    I remember when we met him on the New Jersey turnpike on a hot summer's day. He was sweating and explained that his car was overheating so to keep the engine from burning up, he ran the car heater on the "full heat" setting with full fan setting. This kept the cooling water just below the RED mark.

    Yes, it is a sad day.

  • John D. Lichoff (RM3 57-59): I served with Capt. Beach as one of his radiomen on board the USS SALAMONIE AO-26.

    Captain Beach was a mentor to me for what he had instilled in the mind and ways of a young boy from Ohio. I have tried to pattern my life as a responsible man in all that I had endeavored from his teachings and leader ship.

    It was a great honor to have served and known "MY" friend, Captain Edward L. Beach.

  • Mark Bonner (Chief of Staff, Office of Enforcement, US Treasury Department): Capt. Beach was my father's (RADM Emmett P. Bonner) roommate at Annapolis, and a friend of our family since before I was born in 1947 (at which point he and my Dad had been friends for 12 years).  Strong, brave, audacious, intelligent, hard-working, loyal, kind: all were exemplified by these two Navy men.  Capt. Beach had "the right stuff" in abundance.  It was a privilege to have known him.  May God raise up more men like these to guide the Navy and our country.  

  • CMDCM/SS Bob Cooley: Ned Beach, one of the greatest Americans that has ever lived. A true American hero.

  • Jeff Porteous: I'm not a shipmate of his, nor even a submariner, merely a wannabe of sorts -- a lifelong fan and devotee of the Service to which he so successfully dedicated his life. There is no doubt it was his books which had much to do with my adopting this passion. As a young teen in the early '70s, for instance, my starry-eyed "fan letters" to this most gracious gentleman brought not only responses but real correspondence: we exchanged several missives in those days, and a few others many years later as well, and he always took great care to answer my no-doubt nuisance questions with total aplomb.

    In 1972, I was even lucky enough to meet the man during a book signing appearance he made at the Detroit Public Library, while touring nationally to promote his then newly published "Dust on the Sea" sequel to his famous "Run Silent, Run Deep." What a thrill it was for this young fan to shake his hand and chat for a moment, and how I will always treasure the kind, personal and inspirational words he inscribed in my copy of that exciting, yet deeply affecting book.

    Clearly, this is why I'm writing and sending these words today -- simply to remind all who might chance to see them that Captain Beach was not only a war hero, a submariner's submariner, a wonderful resource for the Navy, and an inspiration and delight to all who met him, but an exemplary author too; a writer who managed to turn what in lesser hands might potentially be dismissed as mere genre fiction into true literature of the highest caliber. In fact, it is indeed his talent with words that I'm thinking of and missing today.

    Which leads me to this final statement: Honor the good Captain by reading -- or for most of us, rereading -- those wonderful words. Revisit his world, and be awed all over again with his command -- in all respects -- of the submarine realm. I am. And I sense there is no better way he'd like to be remembered.

    So long, Captain Beach. And calm seas to you, old friend.

And this last post by Paul Farace, curator of the USS Cod deserves to stand alone:

It's no secret that a big part of the satisfaction of working on USS COD is seeing the reaction of the guys who lived and fought the fleet boats when they climb down COD's forward torpedo room ladder. It's like the biggest Christmas bonus you ever got except with more warm and fuzzy feelings and no IRS liability.

It was a big disappointment when I missed the Grand COD tour with Admiral Fluckey a few years ago... I was making final arrangements at the banquet hall for his reception and he was supposed to check into the hotel. That is until he "ordered" COD's skipper to belay the stop at the hotel and get directly to "the mighty COD" (his words). So be it... it's not the biggest disappointment of my life, but it ranks in the top three.

Now Capt. Ned Beach is gone.

His wife said he will be cremated and the ashes kept in his Georgetown home until after the holidays when the family will gather at the Naval Academy for a memorial program.

Walking through COD with Capt. Beach would have been like winning the lottery. He saw COD decades ago before she was restored. He had no interest in coming aboard because in his words "she sat way too high in the water... no batteries aboard... she could not dive..."

He went to say he had seen several other memorial boats and they were nothing like the boats he fought aboard. Over the years I had the opportunity to talk with him several times. I mailed him every COD newsletter, made sure he saw our website, sent him copies of photographs of the interior and exterior restoration milestones... everything short of getting him aboard.

It's not that we didn't try... he was a busy guy, with a travel schedule that rivaled Henry Kissenger in his diplomatic heyday. Trips to Sweden and visits with his children booked up the whole summer... and the few short open spots he had for the trip to COD that we were trying to schedule were nixed by his lovely and dear wife who said "he can't come unless I can be with him... I want to see the COD too!"

Well that is not to be.

We had to let the 2001 book signing go by the wayside because of the scheduling problems, then just after our visit to his home in March we learned of his terminal illness. I wanted to ask him to come for a visit anyway, but I didn't know how to make such an offer.

He was a very emotional man... during our visit to his home he was almost in tears several times, talking about his father, his early days in the Navy, and his lost shipmates. He was a rich man in many ways, his life so blessed with loving family, friends, and admirers. I just knew that when he met fellow submariners he felt that they were his cloase family.

Courtesy Beach family via US Naval InstituteHe spent a lot of time writing in his basement office. It is easier to find Batman's secret batcave under Wayne Manor than it is to find this subterrainian submarine museum in his Gerogetown house. At night he slept in his den/office/bedroom on the second floor. Through a private hall was his wife's bedroom. The Captain slept in a simple twin bed... not much bigger than the bunk in his submarine stateroom. A well worn bedspread and a single pillow on the mattress was all he needed. He told me he stayed up late into the night reading and writing. The walls of his bedroom would rival the Naval Academy Museum for all of the ship models, sub models and other naval artificats hanging there. I guess that is similar to all Navy men... just that in his case, the goodies on his wall would make you drool.

I sure a hell would have loved following Ned around COD. Just to see his reaction to the memories that would flood his mind. It would have been my way of saying "thank you" to a guy who was a hero of mine ever since I began to read about submarines as a little boy. Sure I sent him every COD fridge magnet, sweatshirt, coffee mug in the inventory, but I don't think that compares to giving an old man an opportunity to touch, to visit, even if for a short time, a long lost past.

That extra special bonus paycheck will go uncashed. Ned Beach never got to see COD in her glory... and I will have to live with the loss.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the COD has a visitor right now. Sure the boat is locked tight and the gates and parking lot entrances are secured... but I will bet (and hope) that there is someone taking a long-delayed tour of the boat right now at the ungodly hour of 1:30 a.m. Cleveland time. Or even more likely, that special visitor is exploring COD with some old shipmates in tow... guys that he has not seen in 60 years, guys that he didn't know he loved until it was too late to say anything to them... Yea, that's the way I am going to leave it... we have some very special visitors aboard at this late hour of the night... ones that I'll never greet or join for a tour... but in my mind and heart I know they're enjoying a very special reunion aboard... hell, maybe even laughing about the ironing board set up in the forward torpedo room...

To Ned and his shipmates: I hope you think our work aboard COD is worthy of you... if so... then that is one hell of a bonus, just in time for Christmas.

God bless you Ned...


Emails Received Since the Original Publishing:

  • Frank Lakat: Dear Sirs, Thank you for your tribute page to Capt. Beach, a personal hero of mine. RSRD was one of the first submarine genre books I remember reading, the battle of the Bungo Suido and O'l Bungo Pete remain etched in my memory. I'm touched that so many others feel the way I do. Capt. Beach influenced many lives beyond those he afftected in uniform. Rest easy Sailor. Third star to the right and straight on 'till morning.

    [I appreciated Frank's message and asked to hear a little more about him - this was his response:]

    Dear Mr. Gentry, Thank you for your reply, and please do add my comments to the page. I truly feel honored to have my name anywhere on Captain Beach's tribute page. The bulletin board posts by all of the men who sent in their remembrances of Capt. Beach, including your own, convey honor to his memory and service with greater eloquence than I could hope to. As a young man I had always been drawn to biographies and accounts of men with leadership, courage and grace under pressure (no pun intended). These qualities by definition are those that set Submarine Veterans of the U.S. Navy apart. For every hero of mine, Cmdr. Ernest Evans, Cmdr. Sam Dealey, Col. Donald Cook & Captain Beach, there were hundreds of less noted by name but just as important sailors, submariners and soldiers who performed their jobs and kept to the highest traditions of our country's service. I'd like to think that in honoring and remembering them we can make small compensation for the price they have paid.

    The quote from Mr. Walker on the one liners page is terrific - "Again I ask, who really are our heroes? They are the men who have, since the first day of our great country, left their families and friends and gone to war asking for nothing and giving all."

    As the lyrics of a song once said:

    "That's why we call them heroes,
    that's why we know their names
    and once you've heard their stories
    you're never quite the same
    that's why we call them heroes
    the best thing they ever do
    is point to the best in us all
    and say "If I can, you can too"


    Well, I'm certainly glad I was much more brief in my post on Captain Beach's tribute page. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect and remember how lucky I am and we all truly are to live in the greatest country in the world. Keep up the good work at subsailor.com! Very truly yours, Frank Lakat, Brooklyn.


Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute
Captain Edward L. Beach is hoisted into a helicopter after being summoned to the White House for a debrief at the conclusion of his historic underwater circumnavigation of the globe in the USS Triton, April 25, 1960.   (Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute)

Please also read "New Duty Station" by Mike Hemming and visit Sid Harrison's Honors site.

Vice Admiral Grossenbacher's message to SUBPAC and SUBLANT announcing the death of Captain Beach. (Adobe Acrobat reader required)

US Naval Institute Magazine Interview with Captain Beach.


Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute
Captain Edward L. Beach Jr. stands in front of Beach Hall after the ceremony dedicating the building on his behalf of that of his father, Captain Edward Beach Sr.in April 1999.   (Photo courtesy of US Naval Institute)

Tommy Cox: Tom was so inspired by the outpouring of emotions about the loss of Ned, he composed a new song - to be included on his next album.  Tom was kind enough to offer the lyrics to the song for inclusion on this tribute page (please respect Tom's copyright - thanks).

RUN SILENT RUN DEEP

(CHORUS)

RUN SILENT RUN DEEP
CAPTAIN EDWARD L. BEACH
THIS TIGER DON'T SLEEP
RUN SILENT RUN DEEP

NED BEACH IS A LEADER,
COULD MESMORIZE A READER
A HUMBLE MAN OF COURAGE, SKILL, AND PRIDE
HE LOVED THE SILENT SERVICE
PROFESSION WITH A PURPOSE
ON DECEMBER 1, OH 2, THIS HERO DIED

HE LAUNCHED THE NUKE SUB NAUTILUS,
SET STANDARDS FOR ALL OF US
AND TOOK THE MIGHTY TRITON 'ROUND THE WORLD
FOUGHT THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY
NAVY CROSS FROM TIRANTE
MADE A DOZEN WAR PATROLS OUT OF PEARL

(CHORUS)

HE WAS NAVAL AIDE FOR IKE
A JOB HE REALLY LIKED
A MAN FOR WHOM HE HAD SO MUCH RESPECT
STEEL SHIPS AND IRON MEN
LONG TO TAKE HER DEEP AGAIN
THEIR MISSION TO DEFEND AND TO PROTECT

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF HIS FATHER
HE DID BECOME AN AUTHOR
AND WROTE ABOUT BELOVED SUBMARINES
BEACH HALL IS THEIR HONOR
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VALOR
THE DID THEIR PART TO KEEP OUR COUNTRY FREE

(CHORUS)

Copyright 2002, Tommy Cox and Bobby Reed, EDCO Records


(from the Wall Street Opinion Journal, Wednesday, December 4, 2002)

He Lived What He Wrote
In memoriam: Ned Beach, warrior and novelist.

BY TOM CLANCY
Wednesday, December 4, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST

It's been said that the World War II generation is dying off at the rate of a thousand souls a day. Fortunately, the history they made lives with us every day. Edward Latimer Beach Jr., who died Sunday at 84, was one such man. Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he was the son of a distinguished naval officer and went on, like him, to write his own reputation both in words and deeds.

It is as a writer that I first got to know Ned Beach. In 1983, I wanted to speak with Ned, the author of 1955's "Run Silent, Run Deep" and other works, about the publication of my own first novel, "The Hunt for Red October," which had not yet found its publisher. But first I had a question I just had to ask. In his novel "Dust on the Sea," Ned talked about how, in World War II, depth charges going off close to a U.S. Navy submarine could make it appear that the sub's hull would spring in and out from the transient shockwave. At the time it was thought that this was an optical illusion, but after the war engineering tests established that, indeed, a near-fatal depth-charging could make the hull spring in and out.

"Did you ever see that happen?" I asked.

"Yes." He nodded. "Several times."

"My God, what was it like?"

"It's unpleasant," he said evenly. Such was the measure of the man that understatement covered what must have been like seeing the cold hand of Death himself reaching for him and his crew. Besides, that was not the most frightening thing he'd ever seen, he said, before launching into another story.

It's a union rule for sailors that they must tell sea stories. But in this case, there was no exaggeration necessary to make the storyteller's point. Everything Ned Beach spoke, he'd seen and done. He worked his way up the line, first on USS Trigger; won a Navy Cross (America's second-highest decoration) on USS Tirante; then commanded his own fleet boat, USS Piper. The war ended just as Piper entered Japanese waters.

He always spoke with affection, authority and respect of his World War II comrades, the men of the Silent Service who stung the Imperial Japanese Navy so grievously from 1941 to 1945.

It's worth remembering how lonely their task was. Submarines went into action mostly alone, a single chess piece containing 90 officers and men, crowded into a steel culvert pipe, seeking out crowds of enemy ships so that they might sink the most valuable of them, then make their escape to sting another day.

How dangerous was it? Well, the torpedoes they fired were mainly loosed from distance of 1,000 yards--often less--the distance a man might walk in four or five minutes or drive in 30 seconds. They penetrated an enemy formation to the point that numerous enemy ships whose only purpose was submarine-killing were both ahead and behind them. Their job was to be surrounded by their enemies, and only then to announce their presence with a spout of fire and water and death.

I doubt that Ned ever enjoyed it, but neither did he once shrink from it. It was his job, the one he'd sworn to do, for his country and her citizens, going in Harm's Way, which was and remains the creed of his Navy. I am sure that he was often frightened--he told me as much--but like the firemen in the Twin Towers, he ran toward the danger because that was what they paid him for.

Ned loved the Navy as a man might love his own family. For the Navy was his family, the junior officers he trained and the enlisted men who did so much of the hand-labor in the boats. He served with distinction approaching perfection and, like his father, would then write about the things he'd seen and done.

Ned's first book, "Run Silent, Run Deep," was in fact a compilation of his own experiences told as few others could have told the tale, in a way that let the reader smell the oil-scented air inside the boats, noting that the stress of combat cannot be borne indefinitely, even among the courageous. Though Ned was always gracious toward my own works of fiction, he knew the subject matter better than I could ever hope to do.

More than once I spoke with him about the psychological aspects of combat, and every time he told me what I needed to know, always from his own rich experiences. Ned was a serious student of history--he wrote several splendid books on this subject--and of human nature. What he didn't know had never happened.

But now he's gone. Or is he? It's a custom in the U.S. Navy to name its warships for those who have graced the uniform with their service. So, one can hope, in not too long a time, there will be a USS Beach carrying our battle ensign around the world, and Ned will again be at sea, looking after the nation he served so well in life. Fair winds, Skipper.


One final note: As I come close to finishing this page, I find it sadly fitting that next to me, on my desk, is a turkey sandwich - partially eaten - one of several made from this Thanksgiving's leftovers - a truly American holiday that we continue to enjoy - and unquestionably made possible by men like Beach - who walked the decks before us.

Ned, you will be truly missed, but never forgotten - DG


Please take a moment of silence to honor another of our fallen brothers. 

Hand Salute,
Sailor rest your oars.

In loving memory of an honored shipmate
by his shipmates and friends

More about the Park Dallis photo posted above (text of an email received from Mr. Dallis):

I appreciate your picking up my post regarding the Capt. but there seems to be a misunderstanding about the photograph I posted with it.

The photograph is one of Cdr. R.H. O'Kane, Col. Pappy Boyington, and my Dad who was the C.O. of the ship, USS Reeves, that went into Tokyo at the end of the war and brought them out of the POW camps where they were being held, to the hospital ships for treatment.

It was through this picture that my brother and I were invited to the commissioning of the O'Kane by Mrs. O'Kane, the admiral's widow. Someone had showed it to her and she indicated that we would be welcome at the commissioning and she would like to meet us.

Capt. Beach was the featured speaker at the commissioning and at the conclusion of the ceremonies I had a chance to meet and speak with him as well. We showed him the picture which prompted several memories from him about the immediate, post-war days and his visit with Cdr. O'Kane at Guam.

I took a lot of pictures of the ceremony and at the reception later but discovered, sadly, that I had not loaded any film in my camera.

Park Dallis

Special thanks to Betsy Judge, Public Relations Manager, U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE for sending the majority of the photographs displayed on this page.

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