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01/24/2012

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What a wonderful story! I'd never heard of this before.

Gallery was definitely one of a kind. There's a bit of a mix-up in the brief bio above, though: "..at one time a daring navy jet pilot, later a revered Captain of USS Guadalcanal..." The capture of the U-505 by TG 22.3, with Gallery commanding the Guadalcanal, took place in 1944, long before the U. S. Navy had operational jet aircraft, and Admiral Dan's flying days were pretty much over by the time they got them. He was a hot pilot in his day and did win the National Air Races in the late 1930s, flying, of all things, a race-tuned Douglas TBD Devasator. As a measure of his original thinking, his plan to capture a U-boat was actually hatched in 1942, when he commanded the fleet air base at Reykjavik, Iceland, and the original plan called for capturing the sub with a PBY, which makes his later success using an ASW task group pale by comparison. He probably would have gone on to retire as CNO had he not been one of the most vocal leaders of the Revolt of the Admirals, writing a series of articles for the Saturday Evening Post that more or less single-handedly scuttled the plans of then-President Harry Truman and Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson to cut the Navy to a convoy escort service and fold the USMC into the Army. Essentially, Gallery sacrificed his third star and his career to save the Navy and the Marine Corps and narrowly escaped a court-martial. In light of later events, he may well have saved the nation as well. He deserved better.

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