Finding Aid (PDF, 122KB)
Francis William Silk was born in New York, New York, on July 24, 1917, son of William H. and Claudia Helen Silk. After attending Choate School, Wallingford, CT, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy. Silk graduated and was commissioned as an Ensign on June 2, 1938. Following graduation, he joined the USS Brooklyn (CL-40).
In March, 1943 he reported as the Executive Officer and Navigator of the USS Moffett (DD-362). From the Moffett he was assigned to the USS Hyman (DD-732), In November 1944, he took command of the USS Saufley (DD-465); while in command of that destroyer Silk was awarded the Bronze Star and a Gold Star in lieu of the second Bronze Star, with the Combat “V.”
Detached from the command of the Saufley in April, 1946, he returned to the Naval Academy as a French instructor. After completing teaching assignments at the Academy and the Armed Forces Staff College, and as Commander, Rocket Ship Division 21, he reported as Chief Staff Officer to Commander, Landing Shop Flotilla Two in July, 1949. He assisted in the establishment of the flotilla. From July 1951 – October 1954, Silk was Head of Research Development Mine Warfare and Coastal Antisubmarine Warfare, Office of the Chef of Naval Operations and as such formulated a new concept of mine counter-measures and established a new research and development directive system.
After a tour of duty as Foreign Military Rights Officer on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, he served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Logistic Plans Division. In June 1960, he assumed command of the USS Hamul (AD-20)and in July, 1961 became the Commanding Officer of the Naval Station, Long Beach, CA.
Silk was in command of the Destroyer Squadron 21 until ordered detached in August 1964 for duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
He retired from active duty July 1, 1968.
Scope and Content Notes
This accession consists primarily of Captain Silk’s correspondence covering the years 1945 to 1964, focused primarily on the time spent as the Commanding Officer of the Naval Station, Long Beach, CA. Also included is a brief biography, PCS and TDY orders and his Certificate of Retirement, effective 1 Jul 1968.
This collection should be cited as Papers of Francis W. Silk, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.