Papers (1922-1975) of U.S. Navy officer, USNA Class of 1938, including photograph albums, correspondence, speeches, clippings, reports and photographs.
Walter Lowry Small, Jr. was born on October 31, 1916 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina to Judge Walter L. Small, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Peele White (nee). Small, Jr. married Jane Van Rensselaer Harris, daughter of Rear Admiral Robert W. Cary, USN (Ret.), in 1940. They had two children, Elizabeth Craven Small and Jane Christian Small. Small entered the United States Naval Academy in 1934 and graduated in 1938 as a commissioned ensign. During World War II, Small served on the submarine USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) as Navigator and Executive Officer. Small also commanded many other naval vessels, acted as Personal Aid to Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1947), commanded the Middle East Force (1967-1968) and several submarine fleets, including the Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (1968-1970). Small retired from the Navy, June 1, 1973, with the rank of Rear Admiral.
Included in the papers is correspondence primarily of an unofficial nature. Of particular interest is a letter concerning the opening of the Port of Bandar Abbas by the Shah of Iran (1967, n.d.) and a letter from film producer Elmo Williams regarding shooting of the film TORA! TORA! TORA! (1969) in which he thanks Small for his consultation work. Also included are numerous written congratulations to Small on his promotion to Rear Admiral, correspondence describing a Naval War Gaming course and a description of Small by his niece for one of her class assignments. Also of interest is correspondence between Small and a Texas teacher of special education students. Discussion consists of the class' request for an autographed photograph of Small, Small's response to the teacher's question of whether Admiral Nimitz was in agreement with President Roosevelt in regard to the "War at Sea" campaign, and also discussion of President Truman. In addition, correspondence focuses on the Pacific Submarine Force led by Small, as well as a letter from Small to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune submitting an obituary of Virginia Scott Polk whom he worked with during his naval career and greatly admired.
Other material in the collection includes official war patrol reports (September 9, 1944-January 25, 1945) of the submarine USS ICEFISH (SS-367) documenting its activity in the South and East China Seas. Reports entries include maneuvers around a Japanese patrol vessel and a sampan (October 17, 1944, p. 9), and details of an attack with the submarine USS DRUM (SS-228) on a Japanese convoy and aircraft (October 23-26, 1944, pp. 11-16). These reports also include summaries of radar contacts, Japanese aircraft and ship contacts, attack data, damage and defects, radio and radar functions and distance traveled. A large hand-drawn map of the 5th War Patrol of the USS ICEFISH is also included.
Later records (1967-1968) concerning the Middle East Region while Small was Commander of the Middle East Forces include rosters of United States and United Kingdom personnel and Bahrain civilians, as well as a history of the Middle East Force Command. Also present are several speeches given by Small at the commissioning and decommissioning of submarines and a variety of other official functions (1968-1970). Other materials include detailed information on submarines, Polaris and Poseidon missiles and biographical materials on Small. Numerous photographs are also present and pertain to Small's various commands, inspections, and official functions while in command. Two scrapbooks contain photographs and clippings documenting Small's command of the Submarine Fleet in the Pacific Ocean (1969-1970). See container list for fruther details.
Gift of Rear Admiral Walter L. Small, Jr.
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Processed by: Michael J. Plakos, 1998
Ann Merriman, 1999
Marian D. Collins, May 2004
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.