Fowler DE-222 - History

Fowler DE-222 - History


Robert Ludlow Fowler, III, born 19 April 1919 in New York City, enlisted in the Naval Reserve 2 July 1940. Commissioned 12 September 1941, he reported to Duncan (DD-485) before she was commissioned, and served in her in action in the South Pacific. Lieutenant (junior grade) Fowler was killed in the Battle of Cape Esperance on the night of 11-12 October 1942. With his ship under the heavy fire which sank her, he fired a torpedo thought to have scored the initial hit on Japanese cruiser Furutaka, sunk that night. Immediately after getting this first torpedo away, he was fatally wounded by a shell which burst close to his torpedo director. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

(DE-222: dp. 1,400; 1. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s.
24 k.: cpl. 186; a 3 :1", ~ 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.l,
2 dct.; cl. Buckley)

Fowler (DE-222) was launched 3 July 1943 by Philadelphia Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Robert L. Fowler, III, widow of Lieutenant (junior grade) Fowler; and commissioned 15 March 1944, Lieutenant Commander G. S. Forde, USNR, in command.

Between 22 May 1944 and 15 May 1945, Fowler made six voyages to escort convoys from New York, Norfolk, and Boston to ports in northern Africa, guarding men and supplies destined for the operations in Italy and southern France. The fifth such voyage, between 1 February 1945 and 16 March, was marked by the presence of submarines both outward and homeward bound. On 17 February, west of Gibraltar, two of the merchantmen were torpedoed, but both were brought safely into Gibraltar, one after Fowler had stood by to screen while a tug came out to help. Two days out of Oran homeward bound 28 February, Fowler picked up a sound contact, and made an urgent attack which brought debris to the surface. A second attack, made in coordination with a French escort, sank U-869.

In June 1945, Fowler began serving as a target and escort to submarines training out of New London, then in September, arrived at Miami, Fla., to serve as schoolship for the Naval Training Center. Her final duty, in November, was as plane guard for Charger (CVE-30) in Chesapeake Bay. Fowler arrived at Green Cove Springs 10 January 1946, and there was decommissioned and placed in reserve 28 June 1946.

Fowler received one battle star for World War II service.


Rob Fowler never knew his father. This “Remember a Ship Sunday,” we look back at the history of the ship named for Rob’s father, USS FOWLER (DE-222). Rob did know that his father, Robert Ludlow Fowler, III, was born on 19 April 1919, in New York City, graduated from Harvard, and enlisted in the Naval Reserve on 2 July 1940. He was commissioned on 12 September 1941. He reported to USS DUNCAN (DD-485) as a torpedo officer, before she was commissioned. He served in her, in action in the South Pacific, until he was killed in the Battle of Cape Esperance, on the night of 11-12 October 1942. With his ship under the heavy fire that sank her, he fired a torpedo that was thought to have scored the initial hit on Japanese cruiser, FURUTAKA, sunk that night. Immediately after getting this first torpedo away, Rob’s father was fatally wounded by a shell that burst close above his torpedo director. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

His mother, Patricia Fowler, sponsored and christened the destroyer escort, named for her husband. As a child, Rob knew that there were aspects of his father’s story that didn’t add up, especially when a relative learned from a friend on the cruiser BOISE, that it was BOISE that sunk the DUNCAN with friendly fire, in the confusion of the night battle. Rob has spent the last thirty years trying to piece together his father’s story. In his words, “My goal, almost 75 years later, was to understand what really happened. I endeavored to cover all aspects of the battle, from both sides, and which elements shaped the stalemate, including the minor actions leading to the sinking of the U.S.S. Duncan, and its aftermath.” The result is a compelling and tragic story. You can learn more about it at Rob’s website,

As for his father’s namesake, the BUCKLEY class USS FOWLER (DE-222), her keel was laid on 5 April 1943, by the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was launched on 3 July 1943, and commissioned on 15 March 1944, with Lcdr George S. Forde, USNR, in command. Between 22 May 1944 and 15 May 1945, FOWLER made six voyages to escort convoys from New York, Norfolk, and Boston, to ports in northern Africa, guarding men and supplies destined for the operations in Italy and southern France.

The fifth such voyage, between 1 February 1945 and 16 March, was marked by the presence of submarines both outward and homeward bound. On 17 February, west of Gibraltar, two of the merchantmen were torpedoed, but both were brought safely into Gibraltar, one after FOWLER had stood by to screen, while a tug came out to help. Two days out of Oran and homeward bound on 28 February, while escorting convoy GUS-74, FOWLER picked up a sound contact at 0648. In coordination with KNOXVILLE and ROBINSON, FOWLER made a magnetic depth charge attack that brought debris to the surface. She launched a second pattern at 0718. The French escort L’INDISCRET joined them, and at 1104, the American ships returned to their convoy, leaving the contact to the French, who reportedly finished off the contact.

Until 1997, it was assumed that this was U-869 that had orders to operate off of Gibraltar. However, divers discovered U-869 off of New Jersey at a location where HOWARD D. CROW and KOINER had made an attack on February 11th. The explanation is that the boat never received the orders to change its operational area to Gibraltar. Apparently, FOWLER’s contact was not a submarine.

On 27 October 1945, following the end of the war. FOWLER celebrated Navy Day at Wilmington, Delaware, in company with USS KIMBERLY (DD 521), SENNET (SS 408), and PROWESS (AM 280). On 28 June 1946, she was decommissioned in Green Cove Springs. She remained in mothballs until 1 July 1965, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On 29 December 1966, she was sold for scrapping to the Peck Ironworks, of Portsmouth, Virginia.

Zachary Fowler

Fowler, as he’s known, was born in Vermont, where he grew up enjoying outdoor adventures with his parents. After high school, he studied boat building in Maine and discovered such a knack for it, that he began building boats as a career. At age 21, he permanently moved to coastal Maine and bought two and a half acres of rugged, wooded land. During this time, he spent his days making boats and every free moment playing in the wilderness. After he met his wife, Jami, the two started a self-sufficient lifestyle, living in a hand-built yurt. Along with their daughters, Abigail and Sparrow, they continue to pursue the dream of self-sufficiency.

Here are the ten items Fowler selected to bring on his survival journey to Patagonia:

1. Shovel: Spetznas (Russian Special Forces) model w/ sharpened edge

6. Slingshot: custom-made, 2 elastic bands, 30 pieces of ammo

7. Fishing Line & Hooks: 25 hooks 20 lb test & 50 lb test

10. Multitool: pliers, guthook, screwdriver, blade, spoon gauge, file, scissors, sewing awl

The boat was sunk on Feb 11 1945 off New Jersey, USA in position 39.33N, 73.02W by Hedgehogs and depth charges from the American destroyer escorts USS Howard D. Crow and USS Koiner. 56 dead (all hands lost). (US Coast Guard, June 2005).

The boat was sunk near convoy CU 58 off New Jersey.

The fate for this boat was revised once again, probably for the last time, in June 2005. Read more about it here on the US Coast Guard site.

U-869 is confirmed as the mysterious "U-Who"

A German U-boat was found off the coast of New Jersey, USA on 2 Sept, 1991 by several divers. On 31 August, 1997 these same divers reported evidence that the boat they found is U-869 (knife inscribed with a U-869 crew member's name, UZO torpedo aiming device, machinery-numbers from the engine room). This location is at 39.33N, 73.20W in about 230 feet (around 73m) of water. She is thus a very advanced dive site.

This location is extremely far from the Gibraltar area which U-869 was claimed to have been sunk in (see the red X for the old estimated position). The explanation is that the boat never received the orders from BdU to change its operational area to Gibraltar and thus stayed in its North American area after passing through the Straits of Denmark. According to this the boat was lost in February 1945.

Previously recorded fate

  • Lost around 17 Feb 1945 in the North Atlantic south-west of New York to unknown causes, possibly its own homing torpedo. 56 dead (all hands lost). (Dr. Axel Niestlé, January 1994)
  • Sunk 28 Feb, 1945 in the mid-Atlantic near Rabat, in position 34.30N, 08.13W, by depth charges from the US destroyer escort USS Fowler (DE 222) and the French submarine chaser L'Indiscret. (Postwar assessment)
    Notes. This attack was probably not against a submarine.

This boat is a dive site

A German U-boat was found off the coast of New Jersey, USA on 2 Sept, 1991 by several divers. On 31 August, 1997 these same divers reported evidence that the boat they found is the U-869 (knife inscribed with a U-869 crew member's name, UZO torpedo aiming device, machinery-numbers from the engine room). This location is at 39.33N, 73.20W in about 230 feet (around 73m) of water. She is thus a very advanced dive site.

This wreck is a German war grave and should be respected as such

Depth: 240 feet (73 meters)
Position (lat, long): 39.33, -73.02

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat

This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in October 1944.

Read more about the Schnorchel and see list of fitted boats.

Annoucements related to this boat

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-869 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

Media links

Dive into History
Keatts, Henry C. and Farr, George C.

Fowler DE-222 - History

Posted on 07/25/2004 1:28:47 PM PDT by Coleus

U.869 (U-Who)

The Unterseeboot 869, was a Type IXC/40 German submarine. Her keel was laid down at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, Germany on April 5, 1943. The U-boat, commissioned on January 26, 1944, displaced 1,120 tons surfaced, 1,232 submerged, was 251.9 feet long and 22.5 feet wide. The boat was commanded entirely during her thirteen month career by Kapitaenleutnant Hellmut Neuerburg.
The submarine operated in the North Atlantic area from December 8, 1944 to mid-January, 1945. Around January 19, 1945, the U.869 and the U.300 were ordered to the Gibralter area. It is unclear if the U.869 received the message. The U-boat was reported to have been sunk off Casablanca by depth charges from the destroyer USS Fowler (DE-222) and the French submarine chaser L'Indiscret at 34.30N 08.13W.

An unidentified German submarine was discovered on September 2, 1991 by John Chatterton in 230 feet of water 65 miles east of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. It was known from the beginning that it was a submarine, but records did not indicate that a U-boat was sunk in the New Jersey area. Divers explored the wreck but no artifacts were recovered on this first trip. A total of four dive trips were made by Chatterton during 1991. During a second trip, a diver died on the wreck and was swept away. A few artifacts were recovered, but none gave a clue as to the identity of the submarine. The third boat trip produced may items, some confirming the German origin. Speculation that the U-boat was the U.869 began after researching a knife found on the fourth trip. John Chatterton found the knife with a crew members name inscribed in the handle. Records showed that the sailor served on the U.869.

Positive proof was found late in 1996 when tags bearing the U.869 numbers were found. These tags may have been used to attach to spare parts so they may be returned to the proper submarine after service.

The hull sits upright in the sand and is intact with the exception of the conning tower. It is laying in the sand next to the hull. One theory is the U-boat fired a torpedo which malfunctioned and turned back to the submarine. There is massive damage in the area of the conning tower. Another large hole is in the aft section. This submarine is an advanced technical wreck dive.

from the Final Report on the Location and Identification of the World War II German Submarine U-869 by John Chatterton, Richard Kohler, and John Yurga ( March 1, 1998. )

The information contained in this report was developed by the authors over a six year period with the assistance of numerous other divers, historians, and war veterans. This information positively identifies the wreck of a submarine located approximately sixty miles off the New Jersey coast at 39 34' North Latitude, 73? 02' West Longitude, as the World War II German Submarine U-869. The U-869 was built at the Deschimag shipyard in Bremen and commissioned into the German Navy on January 26, 1944.

Prior to this date, it has been universally agreed that the U-869 was sunk in action at 34? 30' North Latitude, 8? 30' North Longitude, by the US Destroyer Escort Fowler and the French Submarine Chaser L'Indiscret on February 28, 1945. The reported sinking of the U-869 at this location off Gibraltar is incorrect.

On September 2, 1991 the late Captain Bill Nagle and John Chatterton led a team of experienced amateur shipwreck divers on an expedition to explore an unknown wreck at a site approximately 60 miles east of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. This site was originally suggested to Captain Nagle by a local fishing boat captain who was curious about the site he had been fishing for years. Although several experienced offshore fishermen were discretely fishing the site, it was relatively unknown, and had never before been visited by divers.

Upon descending to the wreck, divers discovered what appeared to be the remains of a submarine in approximately 230 feet ( 77 meters ) of salt water. The general appearance was that of a World War II era wreck. On subsequent dives it was discovered that there were human remains aboard the wreck.

Cursory research of area charts and historical records gave no clue as to the wreck's identity. In only a short time the submarine was confirmed to be a World War II German U-boat. It was relatively easy to rule out the possibility that the wreck was one of the two U-boats reportedly lost in the region. The reported sinking of the U-550 ( approximately 150 miles north and east of the dive site on April 16, 1944 ) and that of the U-521 ( approximately 110 miles south of the dive site on March 17, 1943 ) were well documented with submarine survivors. The possibility that the wreck we had located at 39? 34' North Latitude, 73? 02' West Longitude, was either the U-521 or the U-550 was virtually impossible.

The identity of the wreck was indeed a mystery. The divers nicknamed the wreck the "U-Who" and actively sought to identify the submarine and the men whose remains were still aboard.

Physical Evidence from the Site

from the Final Report on the Location and Identification of the World War II German Submarine U-869 by John Chatterton, Richard Kohler, and John Yurga ( March 1, 1998 )

Item #1: On September 29, 1991, diver John Chatterton recovered intact crockery bowls marked with the eagle and swastika and dated 1942. These items were located aft on the port side of the non-commissioned officers' quarters. The bowl in these photographs currently is in the possession of the family of Martin Horenburg, the late Funkmeister of the radio room on the U-869.

Bottom of bowl

Bottom of bowl ( close-up )

Item #2: On November 6, 1991, again from the port side of the Non-Commissioned Officers Quarters, a stainless steel dinner knife with a wooden handle was recovered.
In the handle was carved a name, "Horenburg".

This artifact is currently in the possession of the relatives of Martin Horenburg,
the late Funkmeister of the radio room on the U-869.

They made more trips that year. . But soon they began working together instinctively, not just in the water but as historians -- in Washington D.C., in London, in Germany -- all to solve a mystery that governments couldn't budge.

They burrowed deeper into history and discovered that books and official records were flat-out wrong. They would not relent until they pulled irrefutable proof of the U-boat's identity from the wreck.

In 1991, a group of weekend scuba divers, brought to a spot in the Atlantic Ocean where it was said that fish could be found in abundance -- often a hint of a shipwreck below -- were stunned to find the sunken, rusting remains of a German submarine just 65 miles from Point Pleasant.

But naval records could not document the presence of a U-boat within more than 150 miles of the site. Except for some china plates engraved with the Nazi swastika, there were no identifying marks on the sub. And as for what happened to the sunken warship, the ghosts of the doomed crew still entombed inside the dark hull were not talking.

What brought the men together was a discovery that still amazes historians - a World War II German U-boat sunk only 60 miles off the coast of the Jersey Shore.

The author walks the fine line between praising the dead nazis and telling the story of their lives.

Why the history of nursing ethics matters

Modern American nursing has an extensive ethical heritage literature that extends from the 1870s to 1965 when the American Nurses Association issued a policy paper that called for moving nursing education out of hospital diploma programs and into colleges and universities. One consequence of this move was the dispersion of nursing libraries and the loss of nursing ethics textbooks, as they were largely not brought over into the college libraries. In addition to approximately 100 nursing ethics textbooks, the nursing ethics heritage literature also includes hundreds of journal articles that are often made less accessible in modern databases that concentrate on the past 20 or 30 years. A second consequence of nursing's movement into colleges and universities is that ethics was no longer taught by nursing faculty, but becomes separated and placed as a discrete ethics (later bioethics) course in departments of philosophy or theology. These courses were medically identified and rarely incorporated authentic nursing content. This shift in nursing education occurs contemporaneously with the rise of the field of bioethics. Bioethics is rapidly embraced by nursing, and as it develops within nursing, it fails to incorporate the rich ethical heritage, history, and literature of nursing prior to the development of the field of bioethics. This creates a radical disjunction in nursing's ethics a failure to more adequately explore the moral identity of nursing the development of an ethics with a lack of fit with nursing's ethical history, literature, and theory a neglect of nursing's ideal of service a diminution of the scope and richness of nursing ethics as social ethics and a loss of nursing ethical heritage of social justice activism and education. We must reclaim nursing's rich and capacious ethics heritage literature the history of nursing ethics matters profoundly.

Keywords: bioethics heritage ethics nursing ethics social ethics.

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Fowler DE-222 - History

Submarines at the Cape:

The first submarine commissioned into the U.S. Navy was the USS Holland in 1900. Soon six more Holland submarines were ordered, consituting the A-class.

Plunger was the first unit of the A-class, commissioned in 1903 as USS A-1 . On 22 August 1905, Plunger, accompanied by a tug, visited Oyster Bay New York and hosted a 3 hour visit by President Theodore Roosevelt. On 3 May 1909, Ensign Chester W. Nimitz, the future Fleet Admiral, took command of Plunger. That September, the submarine visited New York City to take part in the Hudson-Fulton celebrations.

In October, Plunger and two submarines of a newer class, Viper ( USS B-1) and Tarantula (USS B-3), accompanied by a gunboat as tender, were transferred to Charlestown to establish a submarine division there. Enroute, Viper had a mishap and made an unscheduled landing on Cape Henlopen .

By 1911, the Navy had acquired 20 Holland-type boats on the East Coast. As the Navy began investigating different design characteristics for its subs, the next class was built at other yards. Thrasher ( USS G-4) was built at Cramp’s shipyard in Philadelphia and commissioned in 1914.

Based on plans purchased from an Italian designer, and with different equipment requiring different operating procedures, Thrasher spent the next five months conducting trial runs and diving tests in the vicinity of Cape Henlopen .

Then, in 1915, Thrasher participated in a Naval Review for President Wilson and during the war served as a developmental submarine for new submarine detection equipment.

As WW I raged in Europe, the Germans conducted submarine warfare to isolate Great Britain from receiving supplies. But, in response to a warning from President Wilson, they placed restrictions on their campaign in an effort to keep the U.S. out of the war.

However, recognizing that the threat of submarine warfare off the U.S. coasts might serve as a deterrent to U.S. entry into the war, the Germans took the opportunity to demonstrate their long-range submarine capabilities. German commercial enterprises had undertaken the construction of cargo-carrying submarines to carry critical supplies to Germany , avoiding the Royal Navy blockade. Seven submarines were planned, the first was the Deutschland.

In 1916, Deutschland made the first-ever submarine trans-Atlantic crossings, travelling submerged for undetected passage of the North Sea and English Channel. The first visit was to Baltimore in early July carrying chemical dyes and medical drugs, gems and mail and returning to Germany with critical metals and rubber. The sub made another trip to New London in November, also carrying similar cargo but returning with silver bullion.

At the time of the Deutschland’s visit, the Navy took the opportunity to announce the completion of the newest and largest U.S. submarine, the USS M-1. The next Spring while on training, the M-1 operated in the Cape area.

After abortive peace overtures, on February 1, 1917 Germany again began unrestricted submarine warfare. And, after the first two American ships were sunk, President Wilson declared war. At the time, Germany had 111 U-boats. In the Atlantic, the U.S. had a total of 40 submarines plus 7 coastal N-class boats.

The first warnings of German submarines approaching the Cape and moving toward Fourth Naval District (4ND) waters, for which the Inshore Defense Forces based at Cape May and Lewes were responsible, came in mid-May 1918. The submarine was the Deutschland, now converted to a minelayer, U-151.

During May, the sub operated undetected by U.S. naval forces while attacking several coast-wise sail schooners unlikely to have radios. T hese attacks were carried out by the surfaced sub using its deck guns to fire a warning shot to stop the ship, then telling the crew to abandon ship and taking them prisoners. The sub's crewmen boarded the abandoned ship to place explosives to sink it. In that way there was little chance for the Navy to receive warning of the sub's location.

At the end of May, the undetected U-151 laid a cluster of mines off Cape Henlopen and continued north to cut a trans-Atlantic cable off New York . Then, on 2 June, on what came to be called “Black Sunday”, the sub sank three more schooners and three steamships as well as damaging two other ships off the coast of New Jersey about 50 miles southeast of Barnegat light.

The last ship sunk was the SS Carolina, a 5000 ton passenger ship with 200 passengers and 100 crew. As the passengers and crew of that ship and the other ships took to the lifeboats, the prisoners aboard the sub were released to join them. Thus, some 400 people were adrift in boats off New Jersey.

On 3 June, the war came to the Cape . First, early in the day, a British ship carrying 51 survivors from Carolina arrived at the Cape . Those survivors had been in life boats that had been caught in a squall overnight. One of the boats had capsized, resulting in the loss of 13 persons.

Then, later in the day, the Herbert L. Pratt, a 7150 gross ton oil tanker, proceeding empty from Alameda California to Philadelphia for delivery to the Navy, hit one of the mines laid by U-151 when about three miles off Cape Henlopen near the Overfalls lightship. The explosion ripped a hole in her forward section which quickly submerged.

The Lewes pilot boat Philadelphia , soon arrived to evacuate crewmen. Some remained aboard and, with a salvage crew, righted the ship. A Navy tug towed it into the Naval Section Base at Lewes were it was patched and had power restored. The ship then proceeded to Philadelphia under its own power. Soon Pratt had been commissioned in the U.S. Navy, and was on its way to France with oil for ships based there.

In July and August, three other Deutschland-type subs operated in the Cape area. U-156 sunk one ship off northern New Jersey before moving north. U-140 sunk one ship further at sea before moving south.

Next U-117, nearing the middle of what had already been a very successful cruise, entered Cape area waters, sinking one tanker and then another off Barnegat Light and then laying mines in the area.

On the way south past the Cape the sub was attacked by a Navy plane and subchaser. After escaping to sink a small coastal schooner, U-117 laid more mines in the area of Fenwick Light. She then moved south to create more havoc.

As a response to the continued German submarine operations off the Cape , in August 1918, t he submarine tender USS Savannah (AS-8), flying the flag of Commander, Submarine Division 8, had arrived at the Delaware Breakwater. The intention was to rendezvous with eight O-class submarines that had been operating out of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and provide an advance base for expanded operations and training before moving overseas.

Soon, however, it was found that the ground swell coming into the Harbor of Refuge from seaward made that area unsuitable as a floating base. The division’s base was shifted to Cold Spring Inlet, Cape May . But, a unique ship of the squadron remained at the Lewes Naval Section Base. That was the USS Robert H. McCurdy (ID 3157). She was a 735 gross ton four-masted schooner intended to be a “decoy ship” mimicking the types of ships that had been attacked by U-151 and luring German subs into range of waiting U.S. subs.

When those submarines left the Cape in October for transfer overseas, they were replaced by several other O-class units that operated out of Cape May until 1919, before moving to Philadelphia.

On 18 September, a month after U-117 had left the area, the USS Minnesota (BB-22), an older battleship serving as a training ship, hit one of the mines laid by U-117 off of the Fenwick lightship. The ship was able to contain the damage and proceed to the Cape and Philadelphia under her own power.

But, even long after U-117 had departed, the effects of her visit remained. T wo merchant ships were sunk in October off Barnegat Inlet by the mines that U-117 had laid earlier. Then, just as the war was ending, on 9 November, USS Saetia (ID No. 2317) a Navy support cargo ship encountered another of U-117’s mines and sunk 10 miles southeast of Fenwick Island Shoal. All eighty-five hands survived to come ashore at Ocean city and Cape May .

Some of the mines laid by U-151 and U-117 were still being found in early 1919.

In the post-war years, at least eight L-class subs were based at Philadelphia and frequently passed the Cape to operate along the Atlantic coast experimenting with new torpedoes and undersea detection equipment.

On February 2 1921, four of those Philadelphia-based L-class subs had been operating off the coast. Upon approaching the Cape for their return to Philadelphia , the subs encountered the Lewes pilot boat Philadelphia , which had seen their lights and mistakenly assumed it was a ship needing a pilot. Upon approaching the group, Philadelphia rammed L-1 and damaged it enough so that it was in danger of sinking. Philadelphia towed the sub to the breakwater where it rested stern-down on a muddy bottom in shallow water. The crew stabilized the sub and it was towed to Philadelphia by the Navy tug, USS Kalmia (AT-23).

In the post-war era, the R-class was the principal fleet submarine and a newly-designed S-class was being built. One of the earlier units of this class, S-5, was to conduct Navy trials about 55 miles east-southeast of the Cape while enroute to Baltimore . On 1 September 1920, S-5 was to conduct a required four-hour, high-speed surface run, to be followed immediately by a crash dive and a one-hour, high-speed submerged trial.

When the order to dive was given, difficulties in regulating the valves caused the air intake valve to be left open momentarily too long. Water poured through the ventilation system X , flooding the torpedo room. // The water in the torpedo room made submarine bow heavy and, despite emergency surfacing procedures, the submarine continued downward, plowing bow-first into the muddy bottom in 180-190 feet of water.

After several hours of unsuccessful attempts to free the sub from the bottom, the Commanding Officer decided to use virtually all of the remaining pressurized air to empty water from the aft ballast tanks and make the stern more buoyant. The stern suddenly broke free of the bottom and, pivoting on the flooded and still-stuck bow, the submarine rotated vertically with the stern rapidly rising toward the surface until it was nearly 60 degrees from the horizontal.

By that time S-5 and her men had been on the bottom for nearly five hours. Several men had remained in the motor room which, being at the stern of the sub, had become the highest compartment. They reported hearing the sound of waves beating against the hull. Given S-5’s 231 foot length, the 180-190 depth of water where she was marooned, and the angle she made with the horizontal, about 20 feet of the boat’s stern was protruding above the surface.

The commander and several crew members moved further aft into the tiller room and, using a manual drill, bored a quarter inch hole through the three-quarter inch, high-strength steel that separated them from the outside world. That work confirmed that the stern was well out of the water. But, a fter 12 hours of hard work with hand tools in cramped spaces they had only succeeded in making a hole three inches in diameter. After another 12 hours, drilling teams had achieved a triangular hole six by eight inches. But most of the men were now either incapacitated or unconscious from lack of oxygen.

Then, when all seemed lost, a ship appeared nearby. Taking a ten-foot copper pipe and fastening a sailor’s tee-shirt to it, the commander thrust it out through the hole and waved for help. That was noticed by t he small coastal steamship SS Alanthus, which came alongside.

Alanthus had few tools and no radio but a large passenger steamship, the SS General George W. Goethals, was also passing nearby and Alanthus was able to contact her by emergency flaghoist. Goethals radioed the Navy for assistance and her engineers created an 18 inch hole through which the crew could be brought out one by one.

About 36 hours after the casualty and just as a Navy tug and the battleship USS Ohio were arriving, the entire crew had been rescued.

The tug and Ohio rigged a towline and attempted free the sub, but as it filled with water it slowly sunk to the bottom, where it lies today.

As the S-class came into the Fleet, the R-class was phased out during the mid-1920s into the 1930s. Many of those subs from the Atlantic Fleet passed the Cape enroute to Philadelphia for decommissioning and preservation in the Reserve Fleet. Many were called back into commission for WW II.

Just like the R-class, O-class subs were being decommissioned in Philadelphia in the 1920s and 30s, ready to be recommissioned for future use.

In July 1930 one, O-12, was struck from the Naval Register and leased at a cost of one dollar per year for five years to be used in the Sir Hubert Wilkins Arctic Expedition. The sub underwent extensive structural modifications and the installation of special scientific equipment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. During early March of 1931 builders trials, including diving, were conducted in the lower Delaware Bay.

The sub was christened Nautilus at a ceremony under the Brooklyn Bridge on March 24, 1931. While sailing to Bergen Norway to begin the expedition, there were numerous difficulties, including breaking down in mid-Atlantic and having to be towed to Ireland by the disarmed former battleship USS Wyoming, which was then on a Naval Academy training cruise. Nevertheless, upon finally reaching the Arctic, the expedition was a success, gathering oceanographic and meteorological data and conducting the first under-ice submergence. After the expedition, the sub was returned to the Navy, but being in no condition for another Atlantic crossing the Navy gave permission for it to be scuttled off Bergen .

As war was raging in Europe, U.S. naval preparations included the building of nine V-class submarines, modeled on the large long range German cruiser submarines of WWI.

Further, in 1940, the Navy allotted $22 million to reopen Cramp’s shipyard in Philadelphia for the construction of submarines of a new class of submarines based on the experience gained by building the V-class. The V-class sub, USS Cuttlefish (SS-171) was sent past the Cape to Philadelphia as an engineering model.


1 Kate Ackley, “Former Rep. Tillie Fowler, 62, Dies,” 3 March 2005, Roll Call: 1 Adam Bernstein, “Florida’s Rep. Tillie Fowler Dies Defense-Minded Republican,” 3 March 2005, Washington Post: B6.

2 Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, “Election Statistics, 1920 to Present.”

3 Liza N. Burba, “Year of the Woman Puts Washington Focus on Health and Child Care,” 30 September 1993, NCJW Journal 16 (No. 2): 6.

4 Politics in America, 2000 (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1999): 296–298.

5 Congressional Record, House, 104th Cong., 1st sess. (13 December 1995): 14854.

6 Bill Adair, “Rep. Fowler Won’t Seek Re–election,” 5 January 2000, St. Petersburg Times: 3A Douglas Martin, “Tillie Fowler: 62, a Former House Leader,” 3 March 2005, New York Times: A29.

7 Bernstein, “Florida’s Rep. Tillie Fowler Dies” Martin, “Tillie Fowler: 62, a Former House Leader.”

Making It: Mixing Up History & Tradition At Fowler’s Mill

We bought the mill, my husband and I, back in 1985, and we were actually living in Columbus at that time. I had a retailing and marketing background and my husband had an engineering background. He loved to bake bread and we started out searching for really good flours. And then we learned about different mills throughout Ohio and learned that this one was for sale. I grew up here in Chardon, and we decided we would buy it and try to get started in business. We spent two years just getting the building cleaned up, getting equipment in here and making it all work before starting into production.

Billie Erickson shortly after she and her husband reopened the mill in 1987. [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

How did you build the foundation for the business in those early years?

There was an organization of Ohio direct marketing farmers, people who grow products and sell them directly from their farm. And that really launched our business. We learned about many agricultural-related conferences where we could sell our product to farm market operators. So these would be orchard men, people who are raising apples, strawberries, peaches on their farm. People come to the farm to shop in the store, and gradually over time we designed our entire product line, we have about 27 products now, and most of them are designed to be sold with fresh fruit from the farm. So that has been a great niche for us. We have several hundred wholesale customers for our markets all across the country, mostly east of the Mississippi.

The cloth bags have become iconic for several of the mill's baking products. [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

After 35 years, it’s easy to see how much you still enjoy this. What’s your most favorite part of it all?

Well, it's really the whole process, you know. We have a lot of great customers, and we get new customers all the time. And my job is really to do business development and marketing and bring in new customers. Our staff that's been here, we have the same core staff for the last 30 years. It’s an amazing, wonderful staff of people, and they have kept the business going. They run the daily operation, they do the production, they do the shipping. And I just try and keep up with bringing in new business, and then they take it from there. We're just blessed to have such an amazing staff.

Tony Krysiak, production operator, lines up bags of ingredients before transferring the items to the mixer. [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

What can you share about the rich history of this area, which goes back to the early 1800s?

This little area in Munson Township called Fowlers Mill, there was a lumber mill here first. This whole county, but particularly this area of Munson, was very dense with trees and uninhabited around the early 1800s. The Fowler family came here from Connecticut and they settled in Burton, and the two sons, Milo and Hiram, decided that they would come this direction and try to establish a settlement here. The first thing they did when they arrived was to build a lumber mill so they could build buildings. Then they started commerce here and they built several houses. So when you come here and you drive around and look at the historic houses that are here, most of those were built by the Fowler brothers, and they lived in them and raised families here. And then this mill was started in 1834.

Erickson shows a photo from her collection of the mill in its early days. [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

You and your husband both played such an integral role in keeping the history of this mill alive. Would you tell me a bit about him?

His name is Rick, and he passed away four years ago, but he worked really hard over many, many years. He was a very innovative person who could really build anything. He could make something out of nothing. And it was great to be able to do that with him, run the business with him. He felt great about being able to put the mill back into production and have it make product for its time, because throughout its history, it always made product of the time. So that's a really important part of it. Rather than turning it into a museum or an antique store or something like that, we felt pretty honored that we could keep it going.

Billie's husband Rick Erickson, who had a background in engineering, devoted his life to operating the mill and developing recipes for flours and baking mixes. [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

Editors note: An earlier version of the video above was edited because it included proprietary information.

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