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Galantin, Admiral Ignatius J. Papers  

Dates: 1932-1997

Collection Number: AR/530 (Formerly COLL/463)

Finding aid (Word)

Biographical Note

Ignatius Joseph “Pete” Galantin was born in New York City, on September 24, 1910, son of Ignatius Peter and Mary Elizabeth (Binder) Galantin. He attended Maine Township High School, Des Plaines, Illinois, and had a year of night school at the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, before his appointment to the Naval Academy in 1929. As a Midshipman he was captain of the fencing team, and in 1933 was intercollegiate champion. Graduated with the class of 1933-A and commissioned ensign, to rank from June 1, 1933, he subsequently advanced to the rank of admiral, to date from May 19, 1967.

After graduation from the Naval Academy, he served until December 1935 as a junior watch and division officer on board USS New York, operating with Battleship Division ONE, Battle Force. He then had submarine training at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, and in July 1936 joined USS Argonaut, the largest submarine-minelayer, to serve as first lieutenant and gunner officer in the Hawaiian Islands area. In June 1940 he reported as executive officer and navigator of USS S-24, which was transferred to the British early in the World War II period by lend-lease agreement.

In August 1924 he assumed command of the USS R-11. Thereafter, in June 1943 he joined USS Sculpin and participated in one war patrol in the Pacific area. From August 1943 until December 1944 he was in command of USS Halibut, which was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her tenth war patrol. He took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf as C.O. of Halibut, and sank a large Japanese warship off Cape Engamo, P.I. He was personally awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal and two Gold Stars in lieu of the second and third Silver Star Medal, with citations that follow in part:

Navy Cross: “For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of USS Halibut, during the Tenth War Patrol of that vessel… in waters of the Pacific War Area, from October 8 to December 1, 1944. A skilled and aggressive leader, (he) penetrated strong enemy escort screens to launch repeated strikes against enemy shipping and, by his expert ship-handling, contributed to the success of Halibut in sinking more than 10,000 tons of enemy shipping and in evading severe hostile counter-measures…”

Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Commanding Officer of USS Halibut on war patrol in enemy Japanese-controlled waters in the Pacific Area. Relentlessly pursuing a hostile convoy for many hours, (he)… sank a large Japanese freighter. Later, contacting a powerful concentration of enemy warships which were well screened and zigzagging at high speed, (he) boldly attacking, severely damaged a vital aircraft carrier…”

Gold Start in lieu of Second Silver Star Medal: “…During the Sixth War Patrol of USS Halibut from August 20 to September 15, 1943. Penetrating strong enemy escort screens, (he) pressed home five torpedo attacks against enemy shipping to sink two freighters totaling over 9,000 tons and to damage a destroyer of 1,000 tons. Conducting a running gun engagement with an armed sampan of 150 tons despite poor visibility caused by rain squalls, he riddled the hostile craft and… succeeded in returning his ship safe to port…”

Gold Star in lieu of Third Silver Star Medal: “…By his courage, skill and determination, he delivered aggressive torpedo attacks on heavily escorted enemy vessels, resulting in the sinking of 4,820 tons, and damaging 13,000 tons. In addition, he conducted a successful bombardment of a Japanese-held island, causing considerable damage to shore installations…”

Halibut was so severely damaged by Japanese depth charges that it was not salvageable so the submarine was scrapped. In January and February 1945 he served as operations and gunnery officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Squadron TEN, then flew over the Hump to Chungking, China for three months’ duty as Submarine Liaison Officer to the Chief of the Naval Group. During the period June to November 1945, he served as operations and gunnery officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Task Group, Saipan.

Upon his return to the United States in November 1945, he was ordered to the Staff of Commander Submarines, Atlantic Fleet, and served as personnel officer until July 1947. After duty as executive officer of USS Proteus, a submarine tender, he served as operations and gunnery officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Squadron EIGHT. He had command of Submarine Division FIFTY-ONE in 1949, and in December of that year reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., where he served until July 1952 as head of the Submarine Branch, Fleet Maintenance Division.

He assumed command of USS Navasota (AO-106) in August 1952, and was awarded a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon and Combat “V,” for “meritorious service as Commanding Officer of USS Navasota during combat operations against enemy North Korean and Chinese Communist forces in the Korean Theatre from 15 February 1953 to 1 June 1953…” The next year he commanded Submarine Squadron SEVEN, and from August 1954 to June 1955 was a student at the National War College, Washington, D.C.

Upon graduation from the National War College, he was ordered to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, where he served for two years as head of the Submarine Warfare Branch, Undersea Warfare Division. He was Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Administration of the Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe, stationed in Naples, Italy, from September 1957 until November 4, 1959, then reported as Commander Cruiser Division TWO. In January 1961 he became Director of the Antisubmarine/Submarine Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (later redesignated Submarine Warfare Division). On February 26, 1962 he was assigned as Special Projects Office in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, Navy Department. On March 1, 1965 he assumed duty as Chief of Naval Material. Upon the reorganization of the Navy Department, effective May 1, 1966, he was designated Chief of Naval Material, Naval Material Command. “For exceptionally meritorious service…” from May 1966 to June 1970, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation further recognizes the award:

“Called upon to form the Navy Material Command in May of 1966, Admiral Galantin… was responsible in large measure for the viability and responsiveness which have been the hallmarks of this command since its inception. (His) responsibilities involved planning, research, development, production, maintenance, and support of new and improved weapons systems for the fleet in all areas of warfare. He has initiated and has been instrumental in the development and production of many of the weapons systems which are currently in service in the Navy and for the development of others which will enhance the combat readiness of the fleets in the future. Playing a vital role in maintaining the high state of material readiness of the Navy’s ships and aircraft, (he) contributed substantially to meets its world-wide commitments while simultaneously engaged in armed conflict against the Communist aggressors in Vietnam…”

In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal with two Gold Stars, the Commendation Ribbon and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Admiral Galantin has the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five combat stars; the World War II Victory Medal China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal with two combat stars; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also has the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge.

On July 1, 1970 Admiral Galantin was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy. In retirement, he published two books concerning submarines: Take Her Deep, a more or less autobiographical account of Galantin’s wartime action when he was skipper of Halibut and Submarine Admiral which describes the evolutionary process of the submarine in the U.S. Navy.

Admiral Galantin was a member of the New York Society of Military and Naval Officers of the World Wars. He was married in 1935 to Virginia E. Jaeckel of New York. They had three daughters: Joy (wife of Capt. S.E. Veazey, USN Ret.) King George, VA, Vivien (wife of Philip D. Creelman), Cave Creek, AZ., and Linda, Silver Spring, MD. Over the years the family has expanded to six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Admiral Galantin died on 8 July 2004 at the age of 93. He was buried at the United States Navy Academy with full military honors.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the papers of Admiral Ignatius J. Galantin. It includes materials that cover the full span of his Naval career, from his early training at the United States Naval Academy through his tenure as Chief of Naval Material. The complete collection is an assortment of photographs, service record documents (1928-1967), official (1928-1997) and personal correspondence (1945-1997), orders (PCS/TDY 1933-1965), certificates (1932-1970), audiotape (26 Aug 1961), magazines (1963-64), newspaper clippings and pamphlets (1960-1970).

The collection is organized in eight series. Series I, Correspondence, holds letters from Galantin’s Navy career – both official and personal. In this series are various correspondences between Galantin and those he knew and dealt with as he ascended in the ranks to admiral. The correspondences serve as good footnotes into Galantin’s life and relationships, while also providing copious details on the progress he made throughout his career in the Navy. The correspondence folders are arranged on an incoming and outgoing basis chronologically.

Series II is inclusive of all of the certificates that Galantin accumulated during his activities with the Navy. Numerous honors, awards, and recognitions that were bestowed upon Galantin are evidenced in this series. These certificates further validate the progress and success Galantin made in the Navy. They are arranged in ascending chronological order with itemized list on the Box and Folder list.

Series III are Newspaper clippings, which are arranged chronologically in ascending order. It is an assortment of newspaper clippings that mention, show pictures of and/or report on Galantin’s involvement with the Navy. Some examples of these newspaper clippings cover Galantin’s “Drill and Work Schedule” on USS New York (Friday, 11 May, 1934), Galantin’s remarks on how the US Navy “must stay first” (August 27, 1961), Galantin’s involvement with POLARIS, Galantin’s naming of “first admiral” (February 18, 1965), and a concluding remark by Galantin about his retirement (Sunday, July 5, 1970).

Series IV is a collective of Admiral Galantin’s orders. This series provides cumulative spectrum for the assignments and orders that were given to Galantin throughout his career in the Navy up until he became Chief of Naval Material. Beginning with a “change of duty” written on 25 May, 1933 where Galantin is asked to report to the commanding officer of USS New York and ending on 29 January 1965 where Galantin is to report as Chief of Naval Material and Chief of Naval Operations and Commandment – this collection of orders chiefly recognizes Galantin’s progression with his service in the Navy chronologically.

Series V holds five personal logs, which comprise Galantin’s service as Chief of Naval Material from 16 Feb 1965 to 17 Jun 1970. Each log stores information on an almost daily basis, and keeps track of all the activities (traveling, eating, briefings, etc.) Admiral Galantin took part in over the course of the last five years of his career in the Navy.

Series VI consists of Admiral Galantin’s Service Record Documents. 

In Series VII, which contains subject file material, included are the Naval Pay for Sea and Submarine statistics (1942-1950) and other individual documents as well as groups of materials of the similar topics. They are arranged alphabetically.

The Series VIII folder holds an audiotape. It is titled: “RADM Galantin’s address at the launching of the USS Tattnall (DDG-19) on 26 Aug 1961.”

Series IX, the last series, encompasses photography of Admiral Galantin. Two of the four folders of photographs were originally held in photo albums. One photo album captures Admiral Galantin’s visit to Naval Training Center Orlando, FL and the other includes Galantin at a Logistic conference at the US Naval Center at Charleston, SC in March 1969. The photographs were removed from the albums, but remain in the same order. This series also contains a diverse assortment of photographs that cover the expanses of Admiral Galantin, as well as other admirals and navy personages. Individuals in these photos can be identified by their signatures on the large cardboard. Moreover, for the other individual photos, small ink abstracts are written on the back to identify that is in the photo and where it was taken. The photographs that are not part of a photograph album are itemized.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Papers of Admiral Ignatius J. Galantin, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

Marine engineering.
Submarines (Ships)--United States.
Ballistic missiles--United States.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.
United States. Navy. Cruiser Division 2.


2.5 cubic feet

Published: Tue Aug 10 12:23:16 EDT 2021