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Daniel V. Gallery
July 10, 1901(1901-07-10) – January 16, 1977 (aged 75)
Daniel V. Gallery Navy Portrait.jpg
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1917–1960
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held U.S. Navy Fleet Air Base, Reykjavik, Iceland
USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60)
USS Hancock (CV-19)
Tenth Naval District
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star
Relations Brothers: Philip D. Gallery, Rear Admiral, USNA, WWII, Decorated Destroyer Commander; William O. Gallery, Rear Admiral, USNA, Naval Aviator, WWII, DFC

Rear Admiral Daniel Vincent Gallery (July 10, 1901–January 16, 1977) was a distinguished officer in the United States Navy who saw extensive action during World War II. He fought in the Second Battle of the Atlantic, and his most notable achievement was the capture of the German submarine U-505, on June 4, 1944. In the post-war era, he was a leading player in the so-called "Revolt of the Admirals" — the dispute between the Navy and the Air Force over whether the U.S. Armed Forces should emphasize aircraft carriers or strategic bombers. Gallery was also a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction.


Early life and career

In 1917, at the age of sixteen, Daniel V. Gallery entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated a year early, in 1920, and competed in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp on the U.S. wrestling team.[1]

He had three younger brothers, all of whom had careers in the U.S. Navy. Two brothers, William O. Gallery and Philip D. Gallery, also rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. The fourth brother, John Ireland Gallery, was a Catholic Priest and Navy Chaplain.

Gallery was an early naval aviator. He flew seaplanes, torpedo planes, and amphibians. He won first place at the National Air Races in a race-tuned Douglas Devastator torpedo plane in the late 1930s. In 1941, while the U.S. was still neutral, he was assigned as the Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Great Britain. While in Britain, he earned his flight pay by ferrying Spitfires from the factory to RAF aerodromes. He liked to claim that he was the only U.S. Navy aviator who flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain — but they were unarmed.

World War II

In 1942, Gallery took command of the Fleet Air Base in Reykjavík, Iceland where he was awarded the Bronze Star for action against German submarines. It was there that he first conceived his plan to capture a U-boat.

In 1943 Captain Gallery was appointed commander of the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60), which he commissioned. In January 1944 he commanded antisubmarine Task Group 21.12 (TG 21.12) out of Norfolk, Virginia with Guadalcanal as the flagship. TG 21.12 sank the German submarine U-544.[2]

In March 1944 Task Group 22.3 was formed with Guadalcanal as the flagship. On this cruise Gallery pioneered 24-hour flight operations from escort carriers (By this time, U-boats were remaining submerged during daylight to avoid carrier-based aircraft). On April 9, the task group sank U-515 (commanded by the top U-boat ace Kapitänleutnant Werner Henke). After a long battle the submarine was forced to the surface among the attacking ships and the surviving crew abandoned ship. The abandoned U-515 was hammered by rockets and gunfire before she finally sank. Captain Gallery saw that this would have been a perfect opportunity to capture the vessel. He decided to be ready the next time such an opportunity presented itself. The next night aircraft from the task group caught U-68 on the surface, in broad moonlight, and sank her with one survivor, a lookout caught on-deck when the U-boat crash dived.

On the next cruise of TG 22.3, Captain Gallery took the unusual step of forming boarding parties, in case of another chance to capture a U-boat. On June 4, 1944 the task group crossed paths with U-505[3] off the coast of Africa. U-505 was spotted running on the surface by two F4F Wildcat fighters from Guadalcanal. Her captain, Oberleutnant Harald Lange dived the boat to avoid the fighters. But they could see the submerged submarine and vectored destroyers onto her track. The experienced antisubmarine warfare team laid down patterns of depth charges that shook U-505 up badly, popping relief valves and breaking gaskets, resulting in water sprays in her engine room.

It should be noted that that U-505‘s crew was demoralized. She had a good start under her first commander, but then became known as a 'bad luck boat'. After a long string of aborted patrols due to sabotage, her second commander, Kapitanleutnant Peter Cszhech shot himself during a depth charge attack.

Thus when leaks appeared in the engine room, the engine gang panicked and rushed into the control room, yelling that the hull was cracked and the boat was sinking. Lange had no choice but to surface and try to save his crew. Thinking the boat was mortally wounded, he ordered her abandoned and also scuttled (by taking the cover off the sea strainer, standard procedure in scuttling).

Captain Gallery on the U-505

Captain Gallery's boarding party from the destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133) was ordered to board the foundering submarine and if possible capture her. The destroyers in range used their .50 caliber and 20 mm antiaircraft guns to chase the Germans off the sub so the boarding party could get aboard her. They replaced the cover of the sea strainer, thus keeping the U-boat from sinking immediately. The boarders retrieved the sub's Enigma coding machine and current code books. (This was a primary goal of the mission because it would enable the codebreakers in Tenth Fleet to read German signals in clear, without having to break the codes first). They got her under control, making U-505 the only foreign man-of-war captured in battle on the high seas by the United States Navy since the War of 1812.

This incident was the last time that the order "Away All Boarders!" was given by a U.S. Navy captain. Lieutenant Albert David, who led the boarding party, received the Medal of Honor for his courage in boarding a foundering submarine that presumably had scuttling charges set to explode — the only Medal of Honor awarded in the Atlantic Fleet during World War II. Task Group 22.3 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and Captain Gallery received the Distinguished Service Medal for capturing U-505.

He also received a blistering dressing-down from Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations. King pointed out that unless U-505's capture could be kept an absolute secret, the Germans would change their codes and change out the cipher wheels in the Enigma. Gallery managed to impress his crews with the vital importance of maintaining silence on the best sea story any of them would ever see. His success made the difference between his getting a medal or getting a court-martial. (It is interesting that two noted naval historians, Samuel Eliot Morison and Clay Blair, Jr. are on opposite sides of Gallery's case.)

Toward the end of World War II Captain Gallery was given command of the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CV-19).

Post-World War II service

After promotion to rear admiral he became Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. He commanded Carrier Division Six during the Korean War.


The "Revolt of the Admirals"

The so-called "Revolt of the Admirals" broke out during Louis Johnson's tenure as Secretary of Defense. Johnson planned to scrap the carrier fleet, merge the Marine Corps into the Army, and reduce the Navy to a convoy-escort force. Gallery wrote a series of articles for The Saturday Evening Post fiercely criticizing these plans. The final article, "Don't Let Them Scuttle the Navy!" was so inflammatory that Gallery barely escaped court-martial for insubordination. Even so, the episode perhaps cost Gallery his third star. It effectively finished his career, though he served twelve more years on active duty. At the time of his retirement, he was Number 2 in seniority on the Rear Admirals' List.

Command of the Tenth Naval District

Admiral Gallery's final command was the Tenth Naval District in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from December 1956 to July 1960. During this command, with the help of the Rotary and Lions clubs, he established the first Little Leagues in Puerto Rico. It was also there that he first heard the steel bands of Trinidad. He was so taken by the sound that he invested $120 in steel drums for his command's Navy band. He established the first all-American and the only military steel band in 1957. The Tenth Naval District Steel Band — or Admiral Dan's Pandemoniacs, as they called themselves — became the U.S. Navy Steel Band and toured the world as ambassadors of the U.S. Navy until 1999.

Admiral Gallery was forced to retire from the Navy in 1960 when he was found medically unfit for service. Shortly before Gallery's retirement, the custom of "tombstone promotion" was abolished. So he was one of the few Rear Admirals of his era to be retired as only a Rear Admiral. Most of his contemporaries retired as Vice Admirals.

He died at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center on January 16, 1977 at the age of 75. He was buried with full military honors in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery, adjacent to his two brothers.[4]

Awards and honors

The guided-missile frigate USS Gallery was named for Daniel V. Gallery and his two brothers, Rear Admiral William O. Gallery and Rear Admiral Phillip D. Gallery.

Literary career

Daniel Gallery was an author on naval topics, writing ten books and a number of magazine articles and short stories. His fiction books are humorous except The Brink, which is a dramatic novel about the United States and the Soviet Union.

Non-fiction by Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery

  • Clear the Decks (Morrow, 1951)
  • U-505 (original title: Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea) (1956)
  • We Captured a U-boat (Popular Book Club, 1958)
  • The Pueblo Incident (Doubleday, 1970)
  • Eight Bells (original title: Eight Bells And All's Well) (Norton, 1965)

Fiction by Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery

  • Now, Hear This! (Paperback Library, 1966)
  • Stand By-y-y to Start Engines (Norton, 1966)
  • Cap'n Fatso (sequel to Now, Hear This) (Norton, 1969)
  • Away Boarders (sequel to Cap'n Fatso) (Norton, 1971)
  • The Brink (Warner Books, 1973)

Quotations by Daniel V. Gallery

  • "The definition of a calculated risk is a gamble which military men take when they can't figure out what else to do and which turns out to be right. When it turns out wrong, it wasn't a calculated risk at all. It was a piece of utter stupidity."
  • "Some critics have accused the military of being profligate wastrels because we didn't win World War II by killing the last Jap with the last bullet we had in our ammo locker. I would much rather defend myself against such charges than try to explain to my three kids why we lost our liberties because military planners didn't want the war to end with a lot of surplus junk on our hands."

See also


Further reading

  • Daniel V. Gallery. Eight Bells and All's Well.  
  • C. Herbert Gilliland, Robert Shenk, and Daniel V. Gallery (1999). Admiral Dan Gallery: The Life and Wit of a Navy Original. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1557503370.  

External links


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