A graduate of the Naval Academy’s Class of 1935, Captain Claggett first served as junior officer in the US Navy on board the battleship Oklahoma, which evacuated refugees from Spain during the revolution of 1936. After submarine training he served as Engineer, Torpedo Officer and First Lieutenant in the submarine S-45 and Mackerel, from December 1937 until February 1942, after the outbreak of World War II.
Serving next as Gunnery and Torpedo Officer of USS Guardfish which won the Presidential Unit Citation for heroic action in the Pacific, he was personally awarded the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry during her two first war patrols in the fall of 1942. In 1943 he was Executive Officer and Navigator of USS Pargo, and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry during the First War Patrol of the submarine, and the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement during her Second War Patrol.
He remained in the Pacific Area throughout 1944, in command of USS Dace, which was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her Fifth War Patrol in October of that year. Under his command, the Dace made the initial report on the Japanese task force approaching Leyte Gulf, and participated in the Battle for Leyte Gulf; sank an enemy heavy cruiser and two other vessels; and rescued the entire crew of the submarine Darter, which had been grounded by a shoal. Captain Claggett was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism during the Dace’s Fifth War Patrol and a Second Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement during her Fourth.
In 1945 he had shore duty as Assistant Officer in Charge of the Submarine School for Enlisted Personnel at the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut. For outstanding service in that capacity from January to September 1945, he received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon, from the Secretary of the Navy. From January 1946 until July 1947 he commanded USS Cutlass, a submarine based on Panama which made a good-will cruise to Colombia, Venezuela, and the West Indies.
Following a tour of duty as Assistant Fleet Operation Officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and a year as Mining Officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, he served for a year as Commander Submarine Division 101. Completing the course at the Armed Forces Staff College, in January 1953, he had instruction in the Office of Naval Intelligence preparatory to his assignment to Paris, France where he served for two years as Assistant US Naval Attaché and Assistant Naval Attaché for Air.
He was a student to the National War College, Washington, DC, in 1955-1956, after which he had a tour of duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department. In September 1958 he was ordered to sea as Commanding Officer of USS Cadmus, repair ship, and on December 10, 1959, was transferred to command of Submarine Seven. After a year he returned to Washington to serve in the Joint Staff Office, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in June 1963 was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, as Assistant Director of the Material Division.
Born: Frederick, Maryland, December 18, 1912
Parents Samuel Claggett (deceased) and Mrs. Jeannette B. (Chew) Claggett
Education: Baltimore Polytechnic Institute; US Naval Academy (BS, 1935): U.S Submarine School; Submarine Command School; Armed Forces Staff College; National War College
Commissioned Ensign, June 6, 1935
Lieutenant (jg) June 6, 1938
Lieutenant, January 1, 1942
Lieutenant Commander, May 1, 1943
Commander, March 1, 1944
Captain, to date from July 1, 1954
Decorations and Medals:
Silver Star Medal
Gold Star in lieu of Second Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal, with Combat “V”
Gold Star in lieu of Second Bronze Star Medal
Presidential Unit Citation, with star (Guadfish)
Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon (Dace)
American Defense Service Medal, with Bronze “A”
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, with three stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Philippine Liberation Ribbon, with star
Navy Cross: “For distinguishing himself by extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the USS Dace in her Fifth War Patrol in enemy-controlled waters from 1 September 1944 to 6 November 1944. Commander Claggett displayed outstanding ability and great courage in three persistent attacks against the enemy in which three large vessels were sunk. He evaded the enemy escorts through the skill and excellent fighting spirit of his ship. During his patrol he made a successful recue of the entire crew of the USS Darter… grounded by the shoal…”
Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Gunnery Officer and Torpedo Officer of the USS Guardfish during the first two war patrols in enemy Japanese controlled waters… (He) contributed directly to the sinking of 66,450 tons and the severe damaging of 14,200 tons of enemy shipping. During tow gun attacks, he showed complete disregard for his own personal safety, and, and coolly directed the gun crew from his exposed station with marked success…”
Gold Star in lieu of the Second Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Assistant Approach Officer of the USS Pargo, during her First War Patrol in enemy Japanese controlled waters… (His) intelligence interpretation of attack data and efficient operation of fire control equipment was a major contributing factor in the destruction of over 27,400 tons of enemy ships and in damaging vessels of more than 9,500 tons…”
Bronze Star Medal; “For distinguishing himself by heroic and meritorious conduct as Commanding Officer of the USS Dace during her fourth war patrol in the southwest Pacific Area, 13 June 1944 to 6 August 1944. Displaying great courage and aggressiveness, Commander Claggett led his vessel in four difficult attacks against enemy shipping, which resulted in the sinking of one cargo ship, one small ship, and in the damaging of a large transport. These attacks were made in dangerously shallow water, and in an area where the enemy was especially active in anti-submarine activities. His conduct was an inspiration to the officers and men on his vessel and distinguished him among those performing duties of the same character.”
Gold Star in Lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal: “For meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy as Assistant Approach Officer of the USS Pargo during her Second War Patrol in the vicinity of the Marianas Islands from 30 October 1943 to 8 December 1943. His excellent judgment and thorough knowledge of that attack problem assisted his Commanding Officer considerably in conducting successful attacks when resulted in the sinking of two enemy ships totaling 17, 719 tons and damaging two enemy ships totaling 4,700 tons…”
Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon, from the Secretary of the Navy: “For meritorious conduct while serving as Assistant Officer in Charge of the Submarine School for Enlisted Personnel, U.S. Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, from January 1945 to September 1945.
Chronological Transcript of Service:
Jun 1935 Jun 1937 USS Oklahoma (Assistant Secondary Battery Officer)
Dec 1937 Oct 1940 USS S-45 (Chief Engineer, Torpedo, First Lieutenant)
Oct 1940 Feb 1944 USS Mackerel (Chief Engineer, Gunnery and Torpedo)
Feb 1942 Dec 1943 USS Guardfish (Gunnery and Torpedo Officer)
Dec 1942 Dec 1943 USS Pargo (Executive Officer and Navigator)
Dec 1943 Dec 1944 USS Dace (Commanding Officer)
Jan 1945 Jan 1946 Submarine school, New London, Connecticut (In Charge of enlisted school)
Jan 1946 Jul 1947 USS Cutlass (Commanding Officer)
Jul 1947 Jul 1950 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department (Assistant Fleet Operations Officer)
Jul 1950 Jul 1951 Staff of Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet (Mining Officer)
Jul 1951 Aug 1952 Commander Submarine Division 101 (Division Commander)
Aug 1952 Jan 1953 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia (student)
Jan 1953 Apr 1953 Office of Naval Intelligence (instruction)
Apr 1953 Jun 1955 Office of Naval Attaché, Paris, France (XO) later Assistant Naval Attaché and Assistant Naval Attaché for Air)
Jul 1955 Jan 1946 National War College, Washington, DC (student)
Jul 1956 Jan 1959 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Dept. (Director, Naval Reserve, later Director Transportation)
Jan 1959 Jan 1960 USS Cadmus (AR-14) (CO)
Jan 1960 Commander Submarine Squadron 7 (Squadron Commander)
Dec 1960 (orders) Joint Staff Office, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC.
Jun 1963 (orders) Office of Chief of Naval Operations Navy Department (Assistant Director, Material Division)