Gallant Lady Book Reviews

This page was last updated on 01/22/05


"The next best thing to serving on ARCHERFISH is reading this book. It's a great Navy story about a great ship and crew."

- Nine-time New York Times bestselling author STEPHEN COONTS


".....Great characters, a good plot, and best of all, it's true! A great story."

- LARRY BOND, co-author (with Tom Clancy) of Red Storm Rising and five other bestselling thrillers.


".......Gallant Lady's accounting of the Operation Sea Scan portion in particular may elicit skepticism from opposite directions. Those who were around when Archerfish yarns were legion may complain that some juicy adventures are soft-pedaled or unreported. Others, contrarily, may complain that the authors let their imagination override accuracy - after all, Archerfish was a US Navy submarine manned by US Navy officers and sailors, not a fictional Operation Petticoat. Only the first complaint is valid. And in the broad sense, in exercising restraint, the authors have caught the full range, the essence, and the spirit of a near-unbelievable saga of real men doing their duty first, then savoring liberty's rewards to the maximum. The entity unfolds with crisp style and good humor......" Click here to read full review: The Submarine Review - Naval Submarine League

- Captain Gordon W. Engquist, Commanding Officer, USS Archerfish (AGSS-311), 1964-1965


Associated Press - November 2004:

"Gallant Lady: A Biography of the USS Archerfish." By Ken Henry and Don Keith. Forge. 352 Pages. $25.95.

Although Ken Henry and Don Keith's book "Gallant Lady" is about a ship, it is a biography of sorts. It follows the life of the Navy submarine USS Archerfish from birth (its launching on May 28, 1943) to death (its destruction on Oct. 17, 1968, as a practice target for another sub).

The book also deals extensively with the three peacetime commissions for oceanographic research that occupied most of the sub's lifetime. Archerfish had a long career 25 years. After the war, it was decommissioned and recommissioned twice, and was useful even on its last day.

During the war, Archerfish carried out seven patrols. The first four were not noteworthy, but the fifth signaled its entry into naval history in a big way: In late 1944, Archerfish torpedoed and sank the huge new aircraft carrier Shinano in Japanese waters. Displacing 72,000 tons, the Shinano was the largest warship ever sunk by a submarine. It never got to launch a single airplane; it was unfinished when sunk during its transfer from Tokyo Bay to the Inland Sea to escape increasing aerial bombing raids. When the skipper of the Archerfish, Joseph E. Enright, had been in command of the submarine Dace, he had missed a chance to sink the Japanese carrier Shokaku, which had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Disappointed in himself, Enright took the unusual step of asking to be relieved of his command, and went on shore duty. When he was ready to return to the sea, he was given Archerfish and later scored his historic sinking. Another irony is that when the Shinano was sunk, naval intelligence had not even known the ship existed; it was initially reluctant to believe that Enright had sunk an aircraft carrier, and refused to credit him with its enormous tonnage.

Archerfish was present in Tokyo Bay for the signing of Japan's surrender in September 1945. Later, it was used to train sonar operators and torpedo men, and it participated in mock combat exercises with other subs and in monitoring gravity's effects on the trajectories of ballistic missiles. Since they usually worked during the day, the crewmen of the Archerfish had plenty of opportunity to entertain themselves ashore at night, which earned them a reputation throughout the service for being a wild group. Also around this time, the Archerfish "went Hollywood," serving as a backdrop for the 1959 film "Operation Petticoat."

In 1960, the Archerfish became the tool of long-term hydrographic research in an operation that involved taking magnetic and gravitational readings over vast areas of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The collected data greatly contributed to the Navy's knowledge of the ocean floor in various locales. Since such work required the Archerfish to be at sea about 65 percent of the time, Navy brass decided that the crew should consist only of bachelors, to minimize family conflicts. The arrangement, unique in Navy annals, worked well.

On Feb. 21, 1968, the Archerfish dived and surfaced for the last and a record 5,388th time. Later that year, it served as practice prey for the nuclear-powered submarine USS Snook, which fired three torpedoes at it. Archerfish was split neatly in half and sank. It had lived up to its reputation as a "Gallant Lady."

Henry had served on the Archerfish and the story he helps tell is moving and worthwhile reading.

Ron Berthel, Books Editor, AP Weekly Features, New York, NY

********************************************************************************************** REVIEWS:

Gallant Lady, August 5, 2004 - Reviewer: F. S Virden (4 Stars)

"Rollicking" is probably the term Hollywood would use, and probably such a movie from the latter part of this book would be a hit. There is little question of the drama of ARCHERFISH wartime patrols and her singular distinction in stalking and sinking the world's largest enemy ship on its maiden voyage. Like many other accounts of submarine warfare, GALLANT LADY vividly describes the stuffy quarters, grimy tension, and grim excitement of WWII submarine life. Where the book becomes unusual is in the story of ARCHERFISH's third commission as auxiliary to a modernized fleet in which she has become an anachronism. Not intimidated by her diminishing status, she forges her own direction for the next ten years, embracing with gusto a series of routinejobs and a unique assignment that no other ship can be spared for. In the process her maverick (and envied) crew lives an experience of exploration, adventure, and hi-jinks worthy of the sea sagas of earlier centuries. No other commissioned ship of the Navy has enjoyed such a voyage, and no others are likely to. This is a fascinating tale of camaraderie and initiative in service to our country that belongs in every seafarer's locker. Frank S. Virden, Captain, USN (Ret.)


Bit Player, July 23, 2004 - Reviewer: M D Giambattista (5 Stars)

Gallant Lady traces the history of a remarkable "boat" from its WWII pinnacle with the sinking of Japanese super-carrier Shinano to the final Cold War mission.

This latter segment of the story is told from the 'rag hat' perspective and gives insights that are informative, entertaining and funny as hell.


A truly fun read, June 14, 2004 - Reviewer: A reader (5 Stars)

I picked this book up figuring it would be another WW11 account of a submarines' exploits then on seeing the jacket I had to find out what this sub did.......I laughed and felt fear, I felt sorrow at the parts where members of the crew left.....I can only imagine what it was like from the fires to the storms to the beauty that was there both in nature and in the closeness that was her crew...few are that fortunate to actually belong to a group of men that are all like brothers....and feel that their "boat" was in fact a living must've been some ride.........


Navy brats pay attention! June 6, 2004 - Reviewer: julie carter simon (5 Stars)

Well! I am fortunate that my dad could verify all the facts of this one, but for those of you who don't know... keep reading! Anyone who ever thought the Submarine Service was boring, you will get quite an education! And for those who who thougt their "old man" was telling "tall tails", I wish my life was that exciting! Great job, Don, and thanks! I'll see you at the book signing!

Julie Carter (Doc's daughter) (a true navy brat)


Truth outdoes fiction! June 4, 2004 - Reviewer: A reader from Riverside, CA USA (5 Stars)

What a great book! "Run Silent, Run Deep", "Operation Petticoat", "McHale's Navy" come to life. The big difference is "Gallant Lady" is all true! As the old saying goes, "sometimes truth is stranger than fiction...." This is a great read and highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good book.


Beyond Test Depth! June 3, 2004 - Reviewer: ss311 from Nashville, Tennessee United States (5 Stars)

No better review of this book than what the writer has written on page twelve of the preface: Like Forrest Gump or Woody Allen's Zelig, Archerfish had a knack for edging herself into the frame whenever history was being photographed. And the lucky reader is taking along on this awesome read.


True stories are always the best. June 2, 2004 Reviewer: A reader from Eugene, OR (5 Stars)

Like the authors say, this book will appeal to far more than just old submariners. I've never been on a sub (thought I feel like I rode Archerfish after reading this book) and am not really a big fan of military history, but something about this fast-paced account kept me hooked. The whole Shinano chapter is better than most of what you'd read in Clancy or Coonts or the other technothrillers. Man, what a ride!



A reviewer, June 8, 2004 - Truth outdoes fiction! (5 Stars)

What a great book! 'Run Silent, Run Deep', 'Operation Petticoat', 'McHale's Navy' come to life. The big difference is 'Gallant Lady' is all true! As the old saying goes, 'sometimes truth is stranger than fiction....' This is a great read and highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good book.


Mac McCollum, a proud man who served on this Sub, June 7, 2004 - A Navy Submarine the World should not Forget
(5 Stars)

After reading Gallant Lady, I found a few moments to sit and reflect back on what these WW2 and Cold War Sailors went through in order to accomplish their missions. This book is accurate and extremely well written in all respects. It covers the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano by Archerfish as well as the detailed description of the U.S. Navy putting her to her final resting place where she served so well. I urge others to read this book and truly know and understand what our men go through that serve in this very elite branch of the Navy. Highly recommended reading for a well written book.


A reviewer, June 7, 2004 - 'Biography' of a submarine? (5 Stars)

I admit the blurb on the cover about this being the bio of a boat (and the high recommendation by Stephen Coonts, one of my favorite authors) made me order a book I probably would not have given a thought to before. I'm a techno-thriller fan. But this thing is as good as much of the fiction I read. I lost a little interest in the middle while it was mostly a recount of trips and missions, but the Shinano story, the fire chapter, and the antics of the crew getting ready for Seascan and then completing the mission are better than fiction. Not just for military history or sub fans either. My wife read it and loved it. Highly recommended!


Review by Wally Krupenevich, TMCM(SS), USN (Ret) for USS IREX (SS 482) Newsletter

Gallant Lady by Ken Henry & Don Keith

This book could easily be named "I Led Three Lives", but the title was already in use.  The book encompasses the three commissionings of USS ARCHERFISH (SS311).

Her first commissioning was during WWII, from September 1943, to June 1946, when she made 7 war patrols.  It was during her 5th patrol that she sank the brand-new Japanese carrier SHINANO.  Her skipper, "O-Boat Joe" Enright was awarded the Navy Cross, and the boat was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.  After the war, ARCHERFISH rested in "red-lead row" at Mare Island.

ARCHERFISH was back in commission from March 1952 to October 1955 for the Korean War when she was assigned to a Key West squadron.  She was decommissioned at SuBase, New London, and again rested, this time upstream from SuBase with the other boats in the 16th Fleet.

After going into commission the 3rd time in July 1957, she was again sent to Key West.  In late 1959 the Navy announced it was looking for an all-volunteer crew of single men for assignment to ARCHERFISH for a "two-year special mission." And so it started!

For the next 8 years, with a change from SS to AGSS, ARCHERFISH roamed the world on a mundane hydrographic survey, at least outwardly.  In actuality she was gathering information regarding magnetic anomalies that could affect the accuracy of ICBMs; and classified at the time, she did some of the early testing of a towed underwater radio receiving antenna.

Athat the Navy was making the choices.  In t one point in the book, it states that the Navy thought the Hydro office was picking the liberty ports, and Hydro thought actuality, ARCHERFISH's skipper was making the selections.  During this period she visited some of the world's most out-of-the way, exotic and fun ports, or echoing one of the chapter headings. "A Sailor's Dream Cruise".

The book depicts many "adventures" involving her crew, both onboard and ashore, during all three phases of her life.  Some we've heard as sea stories, some as legends, and (according to the book) - all true.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the names of some old shipmates and friends in the book.  Two of the officers named, Miles T. Graham, and Gerry Davi, were on IREX at the same time I was.

As I'm reading any book about submarines, an error in fact stands out as if it had a blinking neon light around it.  At one point the book mentioned the "Goat Locker" in the After Battery.  I thought to myself "Gottcha!" The book though, was correct, as you'll find out when you read it.  Be careful - it could easily be an all-nighter.

A very easy to read book which should be required reading for anyone who's left the Submarine Force for good.  For those presently on active duty on the boats, well - it might give then too many ideas.

One of the best books I've read in a long while, and deserves four long blasts on my oogahmeter.


Reviews copied from Olgoat's AFTER BATTERY BBS

Written by: Dex Armstrong, August 9, 2004

There are "submarine books" and then there are "SUBMARINE BOOKS". Some books are written by civilians and are total fiction, fantasy and hand you horse manure in front-end loader scoops. Some are written by very knowlegable officers who drank coffee poured from silver plated pots and attended Annapolis class reunions....There are terms used like "my bridge partner" that deal with cards rather where ships are conned...and "cocktail party" rather than "large scale drunken romp"....The words Shore Patrol rarely turn up in 'officer submarine books' and when they do, usually refer to some unpleasant task the fellow had to perform to obtain the return of 3/4th's of his crew. Then there are "raghat perspective' books written by salty sonuvabitches who have danced with the Goddess of the Main Induction, played leapfrog with the Devil, sewed more wild oats than a John Deere seed spreader and wrung more saltwater out of their socks than most folks have ever seen. GALLANT LADY is such a book...Written by two gentlemen who got it right...every bloody word of it. They are Misters. Ken Henry and Don Keith....Actually I wouldn't know Don Keith if he fell out of a tree and landed on me...all I know is that if he co-authored that book he has to be one helluva a writer and if he's a friend of Ken Henry, he's a man worth knowing. But I do know Ken "Pig" Henry...know him well enough to know that this absolutely wonderful book about the USS ARCHERFISH is his idea of a love story. Like most of us he's one of those lucky bastards who has a lovely bride and a 311 foot contraption with bow planes and limber holes tucked in his heart. After fifty pages, you know this is no damn Tom Clancy rendition...this is a guy you could have rubbed shoulders with while swilling suds in some raunchy, godfersaken ginmill in East Bonga-Wanga while waiting for some busted engine part to be flown in from stateside.....our some guy you could have seen jump out the back window of some cathouse while the local constabulary were making their way through the front door of the establishment. This is a book written by a boatsailor for boatsailors. It has nothing to do with radiation, thermodynamics or anything going below six to eight hundred feet.....It does't do cosmetic surgery on anything...It deals with leaks, fires, spare parts theft, smelly raghats, gettin' loaded, riding in paddy wagons and dating Ava Gardner. It has ice bergs, wild liberty ports, tough CPO's (incidently...with tattoos)and cooks in dirty aprons......It tells the story of a boat with a 99% single crew that did a special mission that lasted two years and took them around the globe and registering more naughtical miles than any other smokeboat before or since. But most of all it deals with a group of jolly bastards living inside an old worn out pressure hull and loving every minutes....It's about men in faded dungarees and frayed raghats playing modern day who knew that they were their own who rewrote regulations to meet their particular need of the who gave everything but the mission, the finger. I have a friend, a raghat submarine warrior...who wrote a classic book about boatsailoring when Hirohito's boys wanted to pack him off to the firey furnace, Ron "Warshot" Smith (author of TORPEDOMAN). I know that Warshot would approve of this book. Why?? Because, I know Warshot....GALLANT LADY doesn't sugarcoat a damn thing.....Serves it to you barnacles, rust stains and all.....and kickstarts your memory cells every other page. Children can you say..."G-O-O-D B-O-O-K ?" Can you say "Goddam FANTASTIC READ?" Take out your ballpoint...write GALLANT LADY...A Biography of the USS ARCHERFISH...hardback....the true story of one of histoy's most fabled KEN HENRY and Don Keith....ISBN 0-765-30568-2..........Horsefly, I give the damn thing six stars on a five star scale......but then I'm predjudiced I know the author....but I could be sleepng with him and not buy five damn books...which I have done, just to keep the sonuvabitches I know from stealing mine.....and I have read mine twice. The only thing I could think of that could possibly improve that book would be a giant buck nekkit photo of Meg Ryan as a centerfold....but you can't have everything. As an E-3 they make that very clear...DEX


Written by: T. Spoon, August 10, 2004

I just received my copy a few days ago and find it hard to put down. I am in total agreement with Dex's accolades. Not often we 'Old SmokeBoat Riders' get to read a book about our exploits during the cold war. It is great to read about the Gate Bar and Old Betty, Yokosuka, San Diego, Hong Kong all on a Smoke Boat Liberty. When you have also BTDT it brings back a flood of memories, to fill the void left by all the local booze.

I remember arriving in Key West shortly aftere the Archerfish left on her 'cruise', all the married guys were still talking about how fun it would have been to depart with them and not see the old ladies for two years. If you had met some of their old ladies you would have understood.LOL

A BIG THANK YOU to Pig and Don for such an excellent book.

T.Spoon, DBF


More from T. Spoon, August 19, 2004

Bought a copy and read it while Pig and neighbors were going through the hurricane. My thoughts were with him on both.

The book is a masterpiece of smoke boat life during our times aboard and ashore. It is very well written and from the perspective of a white hat not the ward room. What makes it great for me is that I served with and know some of the guys in it. Sidney Burke TMCS(SS) who got hit by the number 4 line when it parted was the Chief who walked me through the Balao for my final qual exam. He alone taught me more about enlisted/officer protocol by one good ass chewing than any one else I served with. He was a WWII Sub Vet and had that 'been to the back of the cave and saw the bear' look in his eyes.

Another character is Ted Armstrong who is a member of our local SubVet Base. I have a new respect for Ted now that I have read about him in the book. Age has tempered him but he sure can tell some stories. Now I know they must be at least partially true.LOL

Snorkel Patty, Gate Bar Betty, Yokosuka, Gitmo, the Phillipines, Horse and Cow, they are all there plus a lot more.

If you rode the smoke boats in the 1950s thru 1970 you owe it to yourself to get a copy and read it. It is guaranteed to bring back a lot of great memories, a lot of laughs, and will help fill in the void left by all the rum and Red Strip beer.

T.Spoon, DBF


Written by: Park Dallis, August 19, 2004

My copy has been in my submarine library since shortly after the publication date.

Great read!



More from Dex Armstrong, August 19, 2004

I am in my third reading....I didn't want the sonuvabitch to I keep recycling it. So far I think I have purchased seven of the damn things.....It's like getting hooked on dope. I don't know who came up with the title GALLANT LADY, but damned if it isn't totally appropriate. Great book......If I ever hit the 289,000,000 Dollar POWERBALL...I'm going to buy copies for everyone on my Christmas card list...both of em. Billy Bob's going to get one...just as soon as the Little Golden Books edition comes out...or they put the damn thing out in an Audio Edition. Ray Stone has spilled Kobi Luwak on his and Ron Williams is sitting at a table with a hand full of Crayola crayons yelling,"Where are all on the pichurs? Where's Mickey and Minnie? Nemo?.....and Hyman?" Me?...I'm wondering where Pig picked up all those big words. GREAT STUFF. DEX


Written by: Ron "Warshot" Smith, September 6, 2004

I just read the first chapter and Dex is right. THis is one of the best submarine books ever written.

Pig Henry was here st the WWll National Convention last week and signed my copy. So did the other guy.

There were less than 300 Subvets of WWll at the convention. The total attendees, including wives and children was about 575.

We finally got the "Head men" to agree with most of the rest of us.


Hooray for our side


Written by: Pete, September 6, 2004

Just finished Gallant Lady.. great read. Waiting to hear if the William Bennett mentioned in that book was my shipmate on the Segundo in 58. Small submarine world.


Follow-up by Pete, September 7, 2004 - It was William Bennett from Archerfish who was shipmate on Segundo.


Written by: Neil J. Logue Jr, September 7, 2004

Warshot, I just got the book couple of days ago and finished page 98 this afternoon (End of World War II). Great reading.

Neil J. "louverhead" Logue Jr.

********************************************************************************************** REVIEWS:

I just finished reading the book about my father in laws old "boat". I was impressed with the comradeship and closeness of the crew of the USS Archerfish. It also put a smile on my face to think about how my father in law (Archie Moore) acted when he was my age and in the Navy. I would strongly recommend this book not only for Sailors, but also all Military personnel who want to learn about teamwork and mission accomplishment. Semper Fidelis, Michael Shetler, GySgt USMC


I just put "Gallant Lady" on the book shelf after finishing it. I was so impressed with this book the way it was written. It told a story that only crew members can truly relate to but it also tells a story that John Q. Public will certainly be thrilled to read. My thoughts are prompted by no one and my feelings could not be hidden as I read the final chapter where it describes that no one will ever touch or see this Gallant Lady again. Shipmates and all others....I have never apologized for tears when I was "moved" as much as this book moved me. I am 66 years old and served on her when I was in my twenties but after reading this book, it was like yesterday. One gigantic BRAVO ZULU to Pigpen Henry and Don Keith. Congratulations on a wonderful book. Zero Bubble. - Mac McCollum

(comments from Webmaster) - The above review was sent to Archerfish webmaster Corny Cornelison who had this reponse: Mac, I had the same reaction... chills, lump in my throat and some tears. Gallant Lady brought back many, many fond memories of a Great Submarine and Wonderful Shipmates. You are so right.... after so many years, it still "seems like yesterday". Pig and Don have done a masterful job of telling "our" story. - Jerry Cornelison


I highly recommend this book written by our very own Ken "Pig" Henry (along with Don Keith). I had the priviledge of reading an advance copy of this one (manuscript) and enjoyed VERY much. If you're a nuke boat sailor and want to see what you missed, this is a good one for that. DBFer? Probably a must read. The book has a detailed accounting of the attack/sinking of the Shinano but the bulk of the book covers the Sea Scan years and I'm telling you, these guys had some fun and got away with some STUFF. - Don Gentry - Webmaster,

********************************************************************************************** REVIEW (Book of the Month - June 2004)

The USS Archerfish had star quality, and being part of her crew almost assured you of witnessing spectacular moments. Proudly holding the record for the largest ship ever sunk by a submarine, this diesel-powered, Balao-class vessel saw it all during her 25-year career. Gallant Lady is an exciting, fast-reading chronicle of the legendary sub.

In these pages, you prowl through the murky depths of the Pacific, standing beside Archerfish crewmembers tracking enemy ships. You'll brace yourself as all-too-close depth charges shake your sub to the core, and cheer later on as the lookout confirms a torpedo hit. The war over, you'll sit in Tokyo Harbor and celebrate the end of the war with your comrades, then run perilous secret missions against the Soviets and battle Cuban guerillas in the Cold War.

Every submariner wanted the Archerfish. At one point, a waiting list for billets on the sub surpassed 300. Read Gallant Lady and you'll understand why. 352 pages. -

********************************************************************************************** Website REVIEW:

Gallant Lady - Author: Don Keith and Ken Henry. Length: 337 pages - Overall Rating: Three Stars (of Four Stars): Recommended. A solid effort!

Somewhere off the coast of southern California about 12000 feet beneath the surface and somewhere south of the Japanese island of Honshu about 12,000 feet beneath the surface lie two great naval vessels. One, the USS Archerfish (SS-311), was the victim of friendly fire (torpedo practice) serving her country right to the end of her twenty-five year career. The other, the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano, the victim of the former's torpedoes and, at 72,000 tons, the largest enemy kill of the war. This engagement and the subsequent encounters of various crew members from each vessel form the core of the story of this exceptional boat.

However, her personal history and the many stories of her crews detail three very different segments of her service.

The first accounts are from her experience in the Pacific from1943 through the end of the war. She was one of few vessels present at the signing of the surrender in Tokyo Harbor.

For a number of years following she was engaged in training other submariners as the boomers replaced the diesel fleet as the cold war ensued.

Her last few years were ostensibly that of a roving ambassador with a bachelor crew while, on the side, conducting some arcane form of marine research. The not so subtle reference in the book suggests some form of covert activity. The antics of crew as they went on a two year around the world cruise that evolved into an eight - and - a - half year odyssey was reminiscent of McHale's Navy.

It is interesting to observe the changes in the crew, both enlisted and officer, from one time frame to another. While the dedication to duty is not challenged, the dynamic of the boat certainly changed. I will leave it to the reader to consider.

Although this is a book about submariners presented to Tin Can Sailors I think, although we might find detractors from both camps, that the differences between us are few. We have always enjoyed a special distinction apart from the spit and polish of the regular Navy as I am sure our submariners share.

It is ironic that while I have been reading this book for purpose of review we, here in Charleston, SC, are dedicating this week to the memorializing and burial of the third crew of the very first submarine to sink an enemy ship. The third crew of the Confederate boat H.L. Hunley will be laid to rest in Magnolia Cemetery along side her other two crews. May they rest in peace.



I am writing this instead of James--Your book is awesome as far as I have read and I am not one to read those kind of stories. It is turning into one of those hard to put down until finished books. Actually I am not a reader at all. But after meeting you in Saratoga Springs, I felt it would only be right. I am so glad that I decided to: it made me awe struck to realize what all you guys went though below the waves. I am thankful that you guys were willing to serve your country for our freedom................God Bless You ............Ruth Ann (Schenk) (James said to tell you DBF)

(Webmaster Note: This is an e-mail response to a string of e-mails resulting from the Decklog entry just below.)


I recently met both Ken Henry and Don Keith in Saratoga Springs, NY, during the recent USSVI National Convention there September 13-19, 2004. I bought "The Gallant Lady", hard-cover copy, and I was honored that both men autographed it for me. Upon returning home my wife began reading it and is currently about half-way through it. Her emotional ride thus far is a tribute to the tale telling of these two individuals reporting on a highly decorated and very important boat in U. S. Submarine Force history. I am next in line... When at the reunion, I went outside for a breath of air one sunny afternoon early in the week. There was a lady out there who was nervously trying to save a frontline parking space for her husband who was to be a vendor at the convention and had gone out back to get the van they had so recently driven up from Florida. The door that I had exited was from the vendors' room. I told her not to worry, that nobody would get her spot and stood in the street adjacent to it in order to make sure. As it turned out, Ken Henry was the guy and I helped him to unload many cases of hard and soft-cover volumes of his great book. I checked in daily with Ken and his wife as they were distraught at the fact that their newly built Florida home in the path of Hurricane Ivan might possibly be in danger. They had a few nervous days in the vendor's room and when we left Saratoga Springs behind, I don't think that they still had definitive word on their home because of the electricity and normal communications being down in the affected area. I am proud to be a former Submariner and less than proud of the final disposition of USS ARCHERFISH SS311. This is one boat that should have been set up as a historic display and tribute to all of her crews, and all Submariners in general.
Jim Schenk, Saturday, October 02, 2004 at 13:53:12 (CDT)


I just finished "Gallant Lady" and it was awsome. I have always been facinated with the WWII navy. I got to tour the USS Cod on Lake Erie and I have to give it up to all you "Qualified for Submarines" people. I was stationed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN 69. This ship was huge compaired to your boats, and it got small after 6 months underway. Thanks for all you did, and to all the sailors still on patrol. Ron
Ron McComas AQ3, Friday, September 03, 2004 at 22:39:49 (CDT)


I just got through reading "Gallant Lady" recommended to me by RMC(SS) Mike Klein who served aboard Archerfish. It was great reading, and I just might read it again. I was in Key West when the Archerfish was going on "Sea Scan", and had I known about it, being a single puke at that time, I surely would have shipped over and transferred to the Archerfish (if possible) and made that trip. That was a once in a lifetime cruise that any single gob would have loved to take part in. If you ain't a "submarine sailor, you ain't." Archerfish sailors, I salute you.
Bill James, RM2SS, USS Threadfin SS410 1957-1960, Sunday, August 29, 2004 at 19:35:23 (CDT)}


Federick just don't know damned good reading when you come across it.
Mac McCollum, Thursday, July 29, 2004 at 17:48:44 (CDT)


....just finished "Gallant Lady"..........which is a readable tale using a rather rare style......... great historical family reading (with the possible exception of the goat anecdote..........)
Frederick F. Fletcher CDR USNR RET, Wednesday, July 28, 2004 at 17:32:43 (CDT)


Just finished reading "GALLANT LADY - A Biography of the USS Archerfish". While I spent my time at sea on a number of "flat-tops", nevertheless I was once again inspired by the accounts of this great crew and extraordinary vessel. I had the privilege of serving under CAPT Gordon Enquist at a later date and would be interested in where he is currently. Ben Morgan CDR Benny M. Morgan, USN(R), Friday, July 23, 2004


I just finished reading "Gallant Lady". Great book. I was stationed at the SuBase, New London 1958-61 and knew Dave Dimick. I was the Household Goods Officer when he received orders to the Archerfish.

We had a HHGs interview who was very conscientious who inverviewed him for the shipment of his personnel goods. He kept insisting that he required a round cruise box for his goods because a square one would not go through the hatch of a submarine. She came to me very concerned because of his insistance. I asked who it was and she told me Lieutenant David Dimmick. My answer was, "Tell Lt. Dimmick he'll have to learn how to put a square criuse box down a round hatch." She said I can't tell a lieutenant that, you'll have to tell him. Only Dave could have thought up the idea of a round cruise box to go down a submaire hatch.

My wife and I attended the party at the O'Club prior to the Archerfish departing New London, described in "Gallant Lady", where I met Ken Woods for the first time. The party was one of the best parties we attended while in New London. The second best; wardroom party for the commissioning of the USS Skipjack.

From New london we went to Guam, 1961-63. I had told Dave I had orders to SRF Guam and if the Archerfish ever came through Guam to let me know. About a week before Archerfish arrived I received a letter, as I recall it was written in green ink, telling me to lock up the women and childern the Archerfish was coming to Guam. We had Dave for dinner and the we did the clubs, along with Ken Woods. As I recall the Archerfish tied up at the NSD piers and between the pier and the boat was a big donut for bilge oil which I think we crossed to get to the boat. Dave was one great guy and from the stories I've heard about him when he lived in the BOQ at New London, he kept things well stired up.

A story I know is true as I know one of the people involved who shall remain nameless was verified by Dave when he was at the house on Guam. As I'm sure anyone who knew Dave was aware that his favorite drink was a Gimlet made with Rose's Lime Juice. The nameless party and others went to the section of the supply department where items for the Archerfish were being held the night before the Archerfish loaded out and painted out stock numbers and nomenclature on many boxes of subsistance items and restenciled them Rose's Lime Juice. I asked Dave about it and he told me they were still finding boxes so marked when the were in the Pacific and had no idea what was really in them.

Over the years, starting on Guam I have collected ship's cigarette lighters and one of the first is an Archerfish lighter given to me by Dave.

Aside from my experience with the Archerfish, our daughter went to school at some point in high school with Captain Joe Enright's granddaughter. When she mentioned that to me one night and what he had done I went out and purchased the book "Shinano". "Gallant Lady" brought back a lot of wonderful memories of the boat, Dave Dimmick and SuBase New London. B. D. Dunn Captain, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy, Retired, Tuesday, June 22, 2004



From John "Steamboat" Fulton


I finished reading "Gallant Lady" a couple weeks ago. And WHAT A READ! I enjoyed every word. Strange that I don't remember anything about her when I was in '60-'64. But then I was in Key West most of the time, and we had our own brand of US Navy down there, too.

I was especially pleased that you included the dive that Cyrus Tuckfield made with Dr. Bond. "Tuck" was on the Atule when I rode her and I got to know and really respect that man. He was one of the last of the "Dungaree Chiefs" he led by example, no job was too meneal for him. He led the Auxiliary gang and he was always fixing something. One shipmate told me recently that when he reported aboard as a Seaman Duce NQP he found Tuck cleaning the after battery head. Not many Chiefs would do that!!

Great Book! And thanks so much for immortalizing one of the best Submariners I ever met: Chief Cyrus Tuckfield.

Steamboat sends
Oct 26, 2004


From a USS ROCK Sub Sailor:

Like the good old days on the Rock, there is fun to be had anywhere...

I am reading the submarine biography of the ARCHERFISH and its unusual 'career' and crew. I would like to recommend it to you all. Our own Joe "Jump" Cummings (ROCK 58-59) gets a lot of mention.

The first few chapters of the book talks about WW2 action and the encounter with the SHINANO (Japan's biggest/newest a/c carrier). The remainder talks of the post-war activities and the 'all bachelor' crew. The author tells many anecdotal tales and exploits with the emphasis that this crew had a whole lot of 'Fun'.

It appears that ARCHERFISH was at sea about half of the time and for long periods on their special sailor's dream cruise ('round the world' cruise - 1960's). Some of this was rough sailing as we have all experienced (typhoons, ice-bound, fire hazards, etc...), component failures associated with worn out equipment, engines, electrical bits and pieces, hull fatigue (restricted to a 200ft max diving depth) - and no budget to get this antiquated stuff repaired - hence their reputation for use of a 'enhanced' Navy Supply System (i.e. outright pilfering) and cumshaw for what ever they needed.

And then their Liberty activities at each of the ports of call gets much play. One would conclude that the crew was made up of a bunch of mis-fits and poor performers. NOT SO! Sure they partied hard, but if you read between the lines, (and we who have been there know this is true), it took a very special, cohesive and technically highly skilled crew to keep this boat together and running - a point that I think the author did not adequately make. Special kudos to the Ward Room and Chiefs who kept all these talents in check and directed towards the mission.

I haven't quite finished the book yet, but I recommend it - you will no doubt re-live some of your experiences.

Jerry Bliss
San Jose, CA Aug 30, 2004