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Dennis Y. Sloan Oral History

Identifier: OHP 114

Scope and Contents

Dennis Y. Sloan served aboard Growler from 1959 to 1960, as a commissary officer and a torpedo officer. He began his interview with a summary of his service, from his time in the Naval Academy to his time on Growler. Sloan then discussed his life before the Navy, noting that his father was in the Air Force and that his family spent the war years in Iowa before moving to Arlington, VA. The conversation then returned to the Naval Academy, and Sloan stated that after graduating from the Academy, he served aboard the heavy cruiser Los Angeles in the gunnery department, before applying to, and completing, submarine school in New London, CT. Sloan then stated that he went aboard Growler in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and described Growler’s journey from Portsmouth to Pearl Harbor. The interview then transitioned to a discussion on qualification and how this process differed for officers and enlisted men. Sloan also recounted when Growler hosted the King and Queen of Thailand for a brief cruise, and explained how this event came to pass. The next topic of discussion was the Regulus missile, and Sloan described, in detail, how Growler’s missiles differed not only from missiles in World War II, but subsequent submarine missiles as well. He then spoke about the difficulties of managing Growler’s depth control. As the interview continued, Sloan described his duties as the commissary officer, which included ordering food for the entire crew while staying within a budget. He also discussed supervising the enlisted men and noted how being an officer affected his relationship with the crew. While discussing these relationships, Sloan explained how peer pressure on the crew worked as an “equalizer” to dictate their behavior. He also frequently mentioned how well the crew responded to Captain Priest and how people were motivated because there was a mutual understanding of expectations. Sloan then recalled one of his fondest memories while on Growler, presenting Captain Priest with a copy of a paper that awarded Growler the Battle Efficiency “E.” Throughout the interview, he also shared anecdotes about everyday life on the boat, such as, half way through a patrol, the crew would take Navy showers, put on fresh uniforms, place their dirty uniforms in weighed bags, surface, and dump the bags of dirty uniforms into the North Pacific. He also described how the crew handled garbage while at sea. Having served aboard both a surface ship and submarines, one of the final topics that Sloan discussed was the differences between serving aboard these two vessels. He felt there was a stronger camaraderie between the officers and crew of a submarine and again noted the importance of the qualification process for submariners. He explained that submarine qualifications were more difficult, which ensured that submarine sailors knew the parameters of every system on board a submarine, whereas sailors on a surface ship only knew the systems in the areas where they were stationed. The interview then ended with Sloan discussing family life with his wife, Nancy, and their children. He recalled the processes involved in moving and renting houses when he was transferred to new locations and the difficulties this posed for Nancy and their children.


  • September 14, 2016



1 Files

21 Sheets

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David Dzendzel
September 27, 2018
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Repository Details

Part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Online Archives Repository

One Intrepid Square
W. 46th Street and 12th Avenue
New York NY 10036-4103 United States