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Claudius Roscoe Hyatt

Claudius Roscoe Hyatt
Claudius Roscoe Hyatt
Claudius Roscoe Hyatt

Born in Jonesville, Va, near the extreme western tip of the state, sandwiched between Kentucky to the north and Tennessee to the south, on January 30, 1884. Little known to him as a child growing up there that his future wife, Mary Elizabeth Gibson, born in 1881, was one of his playmates. He went by the name Roscoe.

Hyatt managed to secure an appointment to the Naval Academy and the New York Herald on June 25, 1903 announced that 38 men, Claudius Hyatt among them, all passed their physical and mental exams for entry in the US Naval Academy.

While at the Naval Academy there was a scandal involving the hazing of underclassmen by the senior cadets. It was reported in January/February of 1906 and Hyatt had to testify at a court martial involved in these hazing accusations. He was a second year man at the time and not involved in the hazing himself.

As his graduation neared it was reported on February 7, 1907, that was retiring as the manager of the Naval Academy Boat Crew at the Academy. He was also a Cadet Lieutenant Commander commanding 1st battalion at the Academy which he needed to retire from as well.

February 28, 1907, after graduation, Midshipman C. Roscoe Hyatt received orders to report to the Franklin, and old retired sailing gunboat, that was the Receiving Ship for the Naval Station at Norfolk, to await transfer to the Minnesota, which was under construction there, and upon commissioning become ships company.

On May 15, 1909 Hyatt was promoted from Midshipman to Ensign after completing 3 years as a Midshipman in the fleet, this was retroactive to February 12, 1909.

April 29, 1911 he was in receipt of orders from the Minnesota to the USS Castine, ex-Gunboat No. 6, serving as a submarine tender, for instruction in submarine operations and command.

November 22, 1911 he was detached from the Castine to take command of the submarine Stingray, (C-2). Interesting that the Stingray had been renames 'C-2' just 11 days prior and the name Stingray was still being used.

On February 11, 1912; Ensign Claudius Roscoe Hyatt, commanding officer of the submarine C-2, was nominated to be a lieutenant (Junior grade) retroactive from February 12, 1912 upon the completion of his three years' service as an ensign.

“Roscoe” Hyatt received orders on May 20, 1912, detaching him from command of USS C-2 to be the commanding officer of the submarine USS E-1. He relieved Lieutenant Chester W. Nimitz, the commissioning commanding officer where, in 1911, the Stingray had the best record of all submarines in the US Fleet in battle practice.

On October 6, 1912 Hyatt was in command of the USS E-1 during the big Presidential Review on the Hudson River. There were ten submarines in the review and the commanders were: USS C-l, Ensign Thomas E. Van Metre; USS C-2, Ensign Elwin F. Cutts; USS C-3, Lieutenant James Parker, Jr.; USS C-4, Lieutenant Patrick Nieson Lynch Bellinger; USS C-5, Lieutenant Warren G. Child; USS D-1, Ensign Lee P. Warren; USS D-2. Ensign Robert A. Burg; USS D-3, Ensign Worrall R. Carter; USS E-1, Lieutenant Claudius R. Hyatt ; USS E-2, Ensign Dallas O. Laizure.

Under Nimitz and then Hyatt, E-1 was involved in important experimental development and training with the Atlantic Fleet for the next five years until 4 December 1917, when she left for the Azores and war time patrols against Germany, 1918. On March 25, 1913 Hyatt was detached from the E-1 command so he missed much of the experimental work, and was sent home to wait orders for his next duty. He was relieved by Lieutenant Lewis D Causey of the C-5.

When his orders arrived on April 23, 1913 he was to be the Assistant Inspector of Target Practice and Engineering Competitions at the Naval War College. He was to report on May 1, 1913.

He was given orders on August 31, 1915 orders to take command USS K-6 from Lieutenant Joseph O. Fisher who placed the K-6 in commission. The K-6 was involved in experimental technology as had been the E-1. Like the E-1 the K-6 had experimental Edison batteries.

August 11, 1916 retroactive Commissioned Lieutenant January 17, 1916

January 30, 1916 K-6 has battery fire and puts into Charleston. CO C.R. Hyatt and the Navy report it as engine problems. The fire burns for several hours before being put out. It is thought that water from the toilet compartment helped cause the short that started the fire. The rest of the vessels in the flotilla leave her in Charleston. When the repairs are done she leaves for Florida but off Jupiter Inlet she catches fire again, the destroyer MacDonough stand by her as Naval tug Peoria is dispatched from Pensacola to tow her to Key West.

The K boats attached to the Atlantic fleet in this trip are the K-l . K-2, K-5 and K-6, commanded respectively by Lieutenants L. C Dunn, Radford Moses, Ronan C. Grady and Claudius Hyatt. The K-5 became separated from the rest in a thick fog en route from the New York Navy Yard to Pensacola, Fla.

June 13, 1916; Hyatt is detached command of the USS K-6 to go to staff command submarine flotilla, Atlantic Fleet.

Some time around 1916 to 1918 Hyatt married Mary Elizabeth Gibson. They had a daughter, Mary E. who shows in the 1920 and 1930 census.

August 11, 1918 promoted to the rank of temporary Commander.

May 29, 1919 Commander Claudius R. Hyatt was posted to the US Naval Academy as Assistant to the Officer in Charge of the Post Graduate Department.

At some point Cdr Claudius R. Hyatt becomes the Submarine Adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations.

We show a notation that says that Hyatt was the Commander of Submarine Division 19 and aboard the USS S-42 in 1928 but can find no other evidence to support that.

Hyatt writes a column that appears in the Syracuse American newspaper on November 30, 1930 about submarine safety and includes the Momson Lung and the Escape tower training showing that the Navy takes the issue of safety in submarines seriously

March 4 ,1933 Cdr Hyatt is made the Captain of the Submarine Tender USS Argonne AS-10 and immediately began operations to head to the Aleutian Islands for a Naval survey of port, waters and islands.

Argonne sailed from San Pedro one day after Comdr. Claudius. R. Hyatt relieved Comdr. Harry A. Badt as Argonne's commanding officer and as commanding officer of the Aleutian Islands Surveying Expedition.

Reaching the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 13 March, Argonne was dry docked, received stores and equipment, fuel oil and gasoline, and ultimately sailed for Dutch Harbor on 6 April. Proceeding thence to Bay of Islands, Adak, the ship surveyed those waters between 10 and 28 April before she proceeded back to Dutch Harbor with the USS Swallow (AM-4) in tow.

Argonne remained at Dutch Harbor from 1 to 18 May, contacting Patoka (AO-9) at that port for fuel oil and provisions, but also awaiting better weather in which to conduct her surveys. Finally departing Dutch Harbor on 18 May, the ship returned to the survey area-the waters off Adak, in the western Aleutians - on the 20th, remaining in the area for eight days before returning to Dutch Harbor for fuel oil and gasoline. She completed her survey work off Adak from 3 to 16 August before she sailed for Mare Island, and an overhaul, on 25 August.

The next three years 'Rosco', as he preferred to be called, served in the Office of the Chief Of Naval Operations before his retirement in 1936 at age 52 and 29 years of Naval service.

He had been admitted to the Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park, Maryland for a few weeks prior to his death on November 14, 1938. Prior to his death he had been an instructor with the Medical Cadet Corps at the Washington Missionary College in Takoma Park. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Plot: Sec: 6, Site: 8688.

He was survived by his wife; Elizabeth Gibson Hyatt, daughter; Mrs Mary Hyatt Eastman of Los Angles and brothers; Col John W. Hyatt, Lawrence and Kemp Hyatt, A.G. Hyatt, C.C. Hyatt and Eugene Hyatt.

Mary Elizabeth Gibson Hyatt died Mar. 9, 1968 Washington City, District Of Columbia and is buried with her husband at Arlington Cemetery.

Thanks to James Haas for additional research.

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