Sixty six years ago today, Al Jacobson, fresh from Submarine School, reported aboard the USS Flier for his first assignment.
Five of the officers were left from the Midway incident: Commander Crowley, Lieutenant Liddell (now promoted to Executive Officer), Ensign Herbert Beahr (called “Teddy”) Engineering Officer, and Lieutenant John Edward (called “Ed”) Casey, The Gunnery Officer, and Herbert Miner, Communications Officer.
Joining them was Al Jacobson, 22, fresh out of school, and the Ensign under Instruction. As he was not a qualified submariner yet, he was going to have a rough time: if he wasn’t on duty, eating or sleeping, his job was to study every cog, knob and system on the Flier until he could run them all if he had to. In addition, his formal duties included Commissary Officer (in charge of ordering and planning food for the crew in cooperation with the cooking staff), Assistant Gunnery Officer (Helping Lt. Casey, the main Gunnery Officer , direct and man the deck guns) Assistant Torpedo (Helping Casey with the Torpedoes) and Assistant Navigator (helping Lt. Liddell with the Navigation). It was a large undertaking, to be sure, but no more than most new officers.
Also Lt. Paul Knapp, of San Francisco, taking the position of Engineering Officer. He would be working with the three Motor Mac Chiefs (Edgar Hudson was still aboard. By the time of Flier’s second patrol, there would be two more: William Brooks and James Snyder, though I have no evidence of when they joined the crew) to keep Flier running in top shape. With four engines, four generators, two massive batteries, and a complex electronic system linking them all together, it was an important job.
Lt. Bill Reynolds of Industry, Pennsylvania, assigned to the Communications Officer Position. He would oversee the communications that went in and out of the submarine, coordinate other known received communications, such as locations and positions of Allied and enemy convoys, weather reports, special communications, and more. While the submarine risked discovery each time she sent a message, she could receive messages without risk of discovery.
There was also likely one more officer aboard Flier, but his name I cannot find: Once the Flier reached Fremantle, thirteen men were detached, and thirteen more joined the crew. One of these new recruits was Ensign Philip Mayer, Officer Under Instruction, (like Al will be for the first patrol), so it stands to reason that there may have been one other officer on Flier for the first patrol that had been removed before the second.
That being said, Flier carried nine officers on her second patrol, she had bunks for only eight. So it’s just as possible, that this missing officer was not assigned to Flier at all. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.