“[T]hen all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”
Today is the birthday of George Levick Street, III (July 27, 1913 – February 26, 2000) who was a submariner in the U.S. Navy. He received the Medal of Honor during WWII.
You can read all about him and his illustrious naval career here.
Interesting (to me anyway) is the fact that Street’s Executive Officer on the submarine Tirante on her first patrol was Edward L. Beach, who modeled his first novel, Run Silent, Run Deep (1955), on his wartime experiences. This novel was made into a movie, also titled Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), and I think it is the best of the submarine genre–at least until Das Boot (1981) was made.
Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster are in top form as the dueling Commander and Executive Officer. In fact, Gable was at his very best as the manly Commander who is coming off desk duty after losing his submarine. He is bent on revenge and obsessed with a Japanese destroyer that has sunk three US submarines in the Bungo Straits, including his previous command. Who can forget his order to “Dive! Dive!”? The supporting cast includes Jack Warden, Brad Dexter and a young Don Rickles. The movie is tense and dramatic and filled with details that feel very real–and probably are, considering who wrote the original story.
Anyway, I think I will watch Run Silent, Run Deep tonight and toast George Street on his birthday. And while I’m at it, I’ll toast Edward Latimer Beach, Jr. (April 20, 1918 – December 1, 2002) who participated in the Battle of Midway and 12 combat patrols, earning 10 decorations for gallantry, including the Navy Cross. After the war, he served as the naval aide to the President of the U.S., Dwight D. Eisenhower, and commanded the first submerged circumnavigation. Wow.
*Herman Melville, Moby-Dick