Beach, Edward L. 1918–2002
Beach, Edward L. 1918–2002
(Edward Latimer Beach)
PERSONAL: Born April 20, 1918, in New York, NY; son of Edward Latimer (a U.S. naval officer and writer) and Alice (Fouche) Beach; died of cancer, December 1, 2002, in Washington, DC; married Ingrid Schenck, June 4, 1944; children: Inga (deceased), Edward L., III, Hubert Schenck, Ingrid Alice. Education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. (second in class), 1939; National War College, graduate, 1963; George Washington University, M.A., 1963. Religion: Presbyterian.
CAREER: U.S. Navy, 1935–66; commissioned ensign, 1939, became captain, 1956. Served at sea continuously, 1939–45 (except for three-month period at submarine school), aboard cruiser Chester, destroyer Lea, and submarines Trigger, Tirante, and Piper. Commanding officer, USS Amberjack, 1948–49; naval aide and assistant to chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1949–51; commanding officer, USS Trigger, 1951–53; naval aide to President Eisenhower, 1953–57; commanding officer, USS Salamonie, 1957–58; commanding officer, USS Triton, 1958–61; commander, Submarine Squadron Eight, 1961–62; assigned to Navy Department, Washington, DC, 1963–66; U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI, Stephen B. Luce Chair of Naval Service, 1967–69; U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, Washington, DC, staff director, 1969–77; administrative assistant to U.S. Senator Jeremiah A. Denton, 1980–81; writer. Trustee, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, 1965–67.
AWARDS, HONORS: Military: Navy Cross; Silver Star (twice); Legion of Merit; Bronze Star (twice); letter of commendation (twice); Presidential Unit citation (three times); Legion of Valor. Civilian: Sc.D., American International University; Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, Naval Order of the United States; Magellanic Premium, American Philosophical Society, 1962; LL.D., University of Bridgeport, 1963; Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for literary achievement, U.S. Navy League, 1980, 2000; Special Award of Merit, U.S. Naval Institute, 2003. Beach Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy is named in honor of Beach and his father, Edward L. Beach, Sr.
Submarine!, Holt (New York, NY), 1952, reprinted, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2003.
Run Silent, Run Deep, Holt (New York, NY), 1955, reprinted, Cassell (London, England), 2003.
Around the World Submerged, Holt (New York, NY), 1962, reprinted, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2001.
The Wreck of the Memphis, Holt (New York, NY), 1966, published with a new introduction by the author, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1998.
(Coauthor) Naval Terms Dictionary, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 3rd edition, 1971, 4th edition, 1978.
Dust on the Sea, Holt (New York, NY), 1972, reprinted, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2004.
Cold Is the Sea, Holt (New York, NY), 1978, reprinted, Bluejacket Books (Annapolis, MD), 2004.
U.S. Navy Today: A Portrait, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1982.
(With Fred J. Maroon) Keepers of the Sea, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1983.
The United States Navy: 200 Years, Holt (New York, NY), 1986.
Scapegoats: A Defense of Kimmel and Short at Pearl Harbor, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1995.
Salt and Steel: Reflections of a Submariner, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1999.
(Editor and contributor of commentary) Edward L. Beach, Sr., From Annapolis to Scapa Flow: The Autobiography of Edward L. Beach, Sr., Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2003.
Contributor of articles to Argosy, Bluebook, Saturday Evening Post, U.S. Naval Institute, National Geographic, and Esquire. Author of television script, "Enrico Tazzoli."
ADAPTATIONS: Run Silent, Run Deep was filmed by United Artists, 1958.
SIDELIGHTS: The late Edward L. Beach served the United States as a naval officer and government advisor for forty-two years. The son of Edward L. Beach, Sr., Beach followed in his father's footsteps, attending the U.S. Naval Academy, and received subsequent training as a ship and submarine commander. During this distinguished naval career, the highly-decorated Beach also managed to write more than a dozen books. Many of them are still in print, and his novel Run Silent, Run Deep was a bestseller that continues to attract new readers interested in submarine history. In the Journal of Military History, Dean C. Allard noted that Beach "had a lifelong love affair with the American naval service."
In one of his most notable achievements, Beach and his crew of 183 officers and men took the U.S.S. Triton submarine on a submerged trip around the world, following much the same route as the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan on his 1519–22 voyage. The Triton, the world's first submarine to be equipped with twin nuclear reactors, left Groton, Connecticut, on February 16, 1960, and surfaced off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on May 10, 1960—a record for underwater global navigation that stands to this day. When the submarine returned from its voyage—partly conducted to see how human beings would react to an extended stay underwater—Beach was presented with the Legion of Merit award.
Beach's third book, Around the World Submerged, is based on the trip. In an interview with All Hands magazine, Beach said he was proud of the Triton record, but he credited "my crew and the Navy" for the achievement—his crew for performing so well, and the Navy for building a pioneering craft. "That's not a personal achievement," Beach said.
Beach's best known work is Run Silent, Run Deep, a novel based on the author's real-life experiences fighting the Japanese during World War II. The story details not only the military maneuvers but also the stress of working underwater in cramped conditions and in constant danger. Beach wrote the novel while working full time as an advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In his All Hands interview, he said: "I had hoped [the book] would be a success, but I had no idea how big a success it would be. That was a terrific compliment." The Naval Institute Press includes Run Silent, Run Deep in its "Naval Classics Series," and some military academies use it as a classroom text.
Beach died of cancer before his last work, From Annapolis to Scapa Flow: The Autobiography of Edward L. Beach, Sr., was published. The younger Beach's contribution to this title included editing his father's original manuscript and adding commentary and notes to flesh out the memoir. "Once again we are indebted to Captain Beach and his son for the insights they offer on the often little-understood characteristics and activities of the United States Navy," wrote Allard. Booklist reviewer Roland Green called the title "a fine study of the old U.S. Navy." In the Naval War College Review, James Stavridis observed: "This charming and insightful memoir is among the most vivid and enjoyable portraits of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Navy ever written…. This is indeed a sailor's story."
Beach received many medals and commendations throughout his career, perhaps none more lasting than Beach Hall, a building at the U.S. Naval Academy named in honor of both Edward L. Beach, Sr., and Edward L. Beach, Jr.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Science and Its Time: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery, Volume 7: 1950–Present, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.
All Hands, August, 1999, interview with Beach, p. 32.
America, June 6, 1987, David Tomlinson, review of The United States Navy: 200 Years, p. 470.
American Heritage, June-July, 1986, review of The United States Navy, p. 97.
American History Illustrated, September, 1986, review of The United States Navy, p. 48.
Booklist, April 1, 1999, Roland Green, review of Salt and Steel: Reflections of a Submariner, p. 1370; December 15, 2002, Roland Green, review of From Annapolis to Scapa Flow: The Autobiography of Edward L. Beach, Sr., p. 711.
Forbes, July 16, 1984, review of Keepers of the Sea, p. 17.
Journal of American History, March, 1987, James C. Bradford, review of The United States Navy, p. 1010.
Journal of Military History, July, 2003, Dean C. Allard, review of From Annapolis to Scapa Flow, p. 959.
Naval War College Review, autumn, 2003, James Stavridis, review of From Annapolis to Scapa Flow, p. 180.
Oceans, February, 1988, J.E. Talbott, "How the Navy Grew," p. 59.
Sea Frontiers, January-February, 1987, review of The United States Navy, p. 72.
Sea Power, April, 2003, Sherry L. Gardner, review of From Annapolis to Scapa Flow, p. 87.
Chicago Tribune, December 2, 2002, section 1, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2002, p. B9.
New York Times, December 2, 2002, p. A23.
Times (London, England), December 4, 2002, p. 33.
Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2002, Tom Clancy, p. D10.
Washington Post, December 2, 2002, p. B6.
Historical Militaria, http://www.historicalmilitaria.com/ (August 28, 2003).