Submarine Force Library


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A newsletter of the Submarine Force Library and Museum Association, Inc.
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Groton, CT 06349-5000

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The Origin Of Submarine Dolphins

Officers Enlisted


On 13 June 1923, Captain E.J. King, Commander submarine Division Three (later Fleet Admiral and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, during WW II), suggested to the Secretary of the Navy (Bureau of Navigation) that a distinguishing device for qualified submariners be adopted. He submitted a pen-and-ink sketch of his own showing a shield mounted on the beam ends of a submarine, with dolphins forward of, and abaft, the conning tower. The suggestion was strongly endorsed by Commander Submarine Division Atlantic.

Over the next several months the Bureau of Navigation (now known as BuPers) solicited additional designs from several sources. Some combined a submarine with a shark motif. Others showed submarines and dolphins, and still others used a shield design. A Philadelphia firm, which had done work for the Navy in the field of Naval Academy class rings, was approached by the Bureau of Navigation with the request that it design a suitable badge.

Two designs were submitted by the firm, and these were combined into a single design. This design was executed in basrelief in clay. It was the same design used today: dolphin fish flanking the bow and conning tower of a submarine.

On 20 March, 1924, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that the design be adopted. The recommendation was accepted by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Acting Secretary of the Navy. His acceptance is dated March 1924.-

 


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