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William A. New

CDR William A. New
CDR William A. New

Captain William Adolf New was born in Huston Texas on February 11, 1903. He, with his family lived in numerous places as he grew up. Tod Inlet in British Columbia, (near the present day, world famous Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, British Columbia); Los Angles, Calif; Hudson New York; and New York City.

He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City and then furthered his education by taking night courses at the New York University School of Business while being employed at the Whitehall Tatum Company in New York City. He later worked as a surveyor's 'rodman' for the North Jersey Water Supply Commission.

On August 12, 1920 he enlisted in The US Navy and served aboard the USS Pennsylvania for a year. He was honorably discharged on August 11, 1921 to accept an appointment as a 'Midshipman at Large' from the state of New York and reported the on the same day to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

While at the Academy he was a member of the Varsity Wrestling Team and participated in Inter-Mural Gymnastics, Lacrosse and Football. At the Naval Academy he was known as 'Billy'. He was apparently very bashful around women but soon grew out of it.

He graduated and was commissioned and Ensign on June 4, 1925. He subsequently was advanced to the rank of Captain in August, 1944.

Following graduation in June 1925, he was assigned to the USS California and made the Australian Cruise in 1926 aboard that battleship. On October 16, 1926, he reported to the Naval Training Station San Diego, California, where he served until April 6, 1927.

The next year he served aboard the USS Henderson AP-1, a Transport ship, on Asiatic Station.

He volunteered for Submarine Duty and was subsequently given orders to the Submarine Base, New London, Conn for instruction at the Submarine School. He completed the course in December 1928 and early in 1929 was assigned to the USS S-39 to serve until July 1931.

Following a brief duty in November and December 1931, at the Navy Yard at Mare Island California, he proceeded to the Navy Yard, Washington D.C. for instruction at the Deep Sea Diving School. He reported on July 5, 1932 to Submarine Squadron Four for duty aboard the USS S-47 and later to the USS S-42, with additional duty in connection with lung training and tank training at Pearl Harbor, T.H.

From May 1934 to May 1936 he served aboard the USS S-32, after which on May 9, 1936, he assumed command of the USS S-34. He served in Command for one year.

He reported for duty as officer in charge of the Deep Sea Diving School at the Navy Yard at Washington D.C. on June 29, 1937. He served there for two years before assuming command of the USS Pike SS 173 on July 8, 1939.

During the early period of his command the Pike was part of the Asiatic Fleet and at the outbreak of WW II was at Manila Bay. She left on her first war patrol on the first day of the war and captain New remained in command until after she had completed her fifth patrol. He was detached on March 6, 1943.

On April 6, 1943 he reported to the Navy Yard, Washington D.C. for duty as Officer In Charge of Experimental Diving Unit, with additional duty as Officer In Charge of the Deep Sea Diving School. He served in this dual capacity until October 1944.

Captain New had temporary duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington D.C. before reporting to the United States Naval Forces in Europe on November 4, 1944. He was then assigned to Task Force 124 for duty as Chief of Staff and further assigned to the United States Forces, Germany.

Captain New died at the 97th General Hospital, Atlantic Area on November 4, 1945. He died from a Coronary Thrombosis.

He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit for services as Chief of Staff of Commander, Task Force 124, from December 1, 1944 to November 1, 1945. He also had the Yangtze Service Medal for his duty on the USS Henderson and was entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the American Area Campaign Medal; European-Africa-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal and the WW II Victory Medal.

Captain New was married to Miss Doris Lillian Grimes of Vallejo, California on August 28, 1926 and had two sons William and Donald.

It had been alleged that New had been relieved of command of the Pike for not being aggressive enough. This is something that the US Navy sub captains suffered from early in the war since they had been all instructed in wholly unreasonable pre-war tactics that never exposed the periscope and making attacks based on sound alone. They also suffered from the defective MK 14 torpedo that had only been tested twice in live fire before WW II began. Once some new skippers came along that hadn't been brain washed with this pre-war doctrine, and the torpedo problem sorted out, attacks became more numerous and sinkings increased.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia; Plot: Sec: 8, Site: 263. His wife Doris is buried with him. She died December 1, 1995.

Many thanks to; Robert J. Cressman. Historian, Editor, DANFS History and Archives Division, Naval History and Heritage Command

For providing this biography.

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