By GORDON I. PETERSON
Mahan Hall, Halsey Field House, King Hall, Nimitz Library, Rickover
Hall--the storied names of some of the buildings at the U.S. Naval
Academy. They recall the combat leadership, academic achievement, and
engineering prowess of distinguished naval officers whose service to the
United States spans more than 200 years of Navy history.
On 21 April, the
names of two more naval officers, both of them Naval Academy graduates,
joined this pantheon of heroes when Beach Hall was dedicated as the U.S.
Naval Institute's new headquarters. From a hilltop overlooking the point
where the Severn River joins the tide of Chesapeake Bay, Beach Hall
commemorates the rich literary as well as operational accomplishments of
Capt. Edward L. Beach and his son, Capt. Edward L. "Ned" Beach
Jr. The spacious facility is located in the recently renovated
administrative offices of the Academy's former hospital.
opening remarks at the dedication ceremony, James A. Barber Jr., the
Institute's publisher and chief executive officer, said that the
contributions of the two Beaches--father and son--to the Naval Institute
and the naval service are legend. He praised them as representing the
"heart and soul of the Navy" for more than a century. Each had
distinguished himself with both the pen and the sword.
Latimer Beach, born in 1867, served on wooden sailing ships and, later, on
the cruiser USS Baltimore during the 1898 Navy victory in Manila Bay. He
commanded the cruisers USS Washington and USS Memphis in the Caribbean
and, during World War I, the battleship USS New York--flagship of the
Sixth Battle Squadron of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet. As
secretary-treasurer of the Naval Institute shortly after the turn of the
century, he published the first Bluejacket's Manual--the 22nd edition is
still the handbook for Navy recruits today. He also wrote 13 popular
novels about the Navy and, following retirement from the Navy in 1921,
became a professor of history at Stanford University. He died in 1943.
Capt. Ned Beach
followed in his father's footsteps. After graduating from the Naval
Academy in 1939, he served with distinction in the submarine force during
World War II. The younger Beach's exploits during combat patrols on the
submarines USS Trigger and USS Tirante were recognized with awards of the
Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, and two Bronze Stars.
Former Chief of
Naval Operations Adm. James L. Holloway III, principal speaker at the
dedication ceremony, recounted that Beach's former commanding officer on
Tirante--a recipient of the Medal of Honor--described him as "one of
the most outstanding submariners of all time--he was absolutely
During the 1950s,
while serving as naval aide to President Eisenhower, Beach wrote Run
Silent, Run Deep, a popular portrayal of WWII submarine combat operations
that was later made into a movie that is now considered a classic. Before
his retirement in 1966, Beach also commanded the nuclear-powered submarine
USS Triton during her historic submerged circumnavigation of the world in
1960. This year's publication of Salt and Steel: Reflections of a
Submariner by the Naval Institute Press marks Beach's 13th book--three
novels and 10 nonfiction works.
During his salute
to father and son, Holloway said that it was fortunate for the Navy and
the Naval Institute that there have been two "consummately
professional naval officers who, by their remarkable combination of
illustrious operational careers and eminent scholarly achievement, could
lend their names to the new Naval Institute Headquarters and, in so doing,
epitomize the philosophical soul of the Institute." Speaking of Ned
Beach, Holloway described him as an author "who has written more
about the Navy than many Americans have read, and ... a naval officer
[who] has probably created as much naval history as he has written."
response, Beach said that he felt overwhelmed by the emotions of the
moment. "It's given to few people in the world who love history to do
what I am doing at this moment--participating in the dedication of a
living, breathing, ongoing memorial to himself and his own father,"
with Ned Beach's career know that fate played a role in his presence at
the Naval Academy for the dedication of the Naval Institute's new
facilities. In May 1944, he was ordered to depart USS Trigger--the Pacific
Fleet's top-scoring submarine--to report as executive officer of the
new-construction submarine Tirante. Beach told Sea Power that all members
of Trigger's crew came up to him to say goodbye prior to his departure.
"What I didn't realize," Beach said, "was that we were
splitting--those who were going to live from those who were going to
die." Trigger was sunk by the Japanese with the loss of all hands in