Biographies of Commanding
Officers; USS Scamp (SSN-588
CO (Plank Owner); 5 Jun 61 – 21 Dec 62
Walter N. Dietzen, Jr.
CDR-USN (Rtd. RADM-USN; Dec. 10/22/05)
Hailing from Chattanooga, TN, “Buck” graduated from the U.S. Naval
Academy in June 1944. After completing Submarine School, he made two war
USS Tirante (SS 420) where he served until 1946. He then transferred to
USS Raton (SS 270) and USS Baya (SS 318), Executive Officer of the latter from
1952 to 1954. He then went to Naval War College, graduating in 1955, and
then to Commanding Officer USS Cubera (SS 347). After tours at the
Bureau of Naval Personnel and Naval Reactors, he was assigned in 1960 as
Commanding Officer USS Scamp, where he built, launched, commissioned and
commanded her until 21 Dec 1962. He subsequently commanded USS Woodrow
(SSBN 624) Gold, from 1963 to 1966.
from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1967 he served as Deputy
Director Submarine Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations;
Chief Navy Section, Military Mission for Aid to Turkey; Director Deep
Submergence Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and finally,
the Deputy Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Anti-Submarine
Warfare. He retired from active duty
on August 30, 1975 as
civilian life, Admiral Dietzen was a real estate developer and the West Coat
Division Manager of General Physics Corporation. He retired from General
Physics Corporation in 1986 and then taught mathematics at the Navy’s Broadened Opportunity School
for Officer Selection (BOOST).
service Admiral Dietzen was awarded the Distinguished
Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the
Navy Commendation Medal (2). In addition to his Gold Dolphins, he was entitled to wear the WWII Combat
Patrol Pin, or SCPI.
He married the former Ann Tauter of Chattanooga, TN. They had one son, one daughter and four grandchildren.
After the USS Scamp 2003
Reunion in Reno, NV, Buck said "I've been to a lot of reunions, but that one
was the best!"
Admiral Dietzen went
on Final Patrol on October 22, 2005 and was laid to rest at Fort Rosecrans
National Cemetery. He is survived by Ann and their children and
grandchildren. (This Admiral Dietzen biography was reproduced from the USS
Scamp Deactivation Ceremony Booklet)
CO; 21 Dec 62 – 13 Dec 63
Sr., CDR-USN (dec. CAPT-USN)
in Elvira, NY, he achieved Eagle Scout and went on to be an assistant scout
master for Troop No. 362. He attended the Naval Academy, and served in the
Navy during World War II, Korea and Vietnam Wars. He was an
Engineer Officer aboard the USS Nautilus. He commanded USS Seawolf (SSN
575), USS Scamp (SSN 588) and USS Nathaniel Greene (SSBN 636). He was
the key speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Nathaniel Greene. He
also was CO of USS Raleigh (?).
He and his wife Carol J. Crispin were parents of Robert E. Crispin and Robyn
Crispin Butler, and had 5 grandchildren.
Captain Crispin passed away Wednesday, Nov 13, 2001 in Virginia Beach, VA. He
is buried at Colonial Grove Cemetery in the same city.
(Biographical information was
extracted from his obituary)
13 Dec 63 – 23 Jul 66
A. J. M. Atkins,
CDR-USN (rtd. CAPT-USN)
Born in Selma, AL in
1926, Captain Atkins' service career spanned from February
1944 until July 1979. The portrait at right was made in Pensacola, FL in
“In the summer
of 1945 the day I arrived at
the Naval Academy, one of the first
officers I saw was a tall Commander in dress whites, with sword and white
gloves. He had lots of ribbons and
wore wings and DOLPHINS! I was greatly
impressed. I later found out that he
was Commander Walt Ebert, who had completed six very successful war patrols
as commanding officer of the first Scamp, USS Scamp (SS 277)!
After graduating, I spent two years in
destroyers before sub school.
CUTLASS, VOLADOR and PICKEREL (were followed by) nuclear training and XO of PLUNGER
Then the fun began ...CO of USS SCAMP
Buck and his great crew did a terrific job
of getting things going on the right track.
I always felt a strong obligation to keep the faith.
Looking back, I think we did a pretty good
Those were the best two years of
my career, all made possible by the finest submarine crew ever assembled
(though I wasn’t sure when on one of the first nights I was aboard, someone
stole the door to the officers shower!).
Things went from good to better!!
We had a good WestPac tour and several
fleet exercises while we were “Stars” – at least we thought so!
We were awarded the Battle Efficiency “E”
for two years in a row, even when we were in the shipyard for half of one
Just the fact that we stayed together as we
did during that SUBSAFE overhaul is a tribute to the quality and dedication
of our great crew (Ed. note: although some of necessity had to transfer
to other boats, through no wish of their own).
Thanks, Men and Families of SCAMP!
I’ll always love you!
I went from SCAMP to CO DANIEL WEBSTER,
then Air War College, SUBPAC Staff and
Commander SUBMARINE SQUADRON THREE, in San Diego. Once again, the star of the squadron was
I ended my submarine duty as Chief of Staff
to COMSUBPAC in
Pearl. I had a ball, but the best was the two
years you made so great for me on SCAMP!
Since retiring I have played a lot of golf,
done some traveling and become legally blind.
and I have had our share of medical problems, but
as they say, “Old age ain’t for sissies”, so we are hanging in there!
As you can see, the one thing I never
learned to do was type2.
My very best to all with everlasting love
Thanks for the
Tommy Atkins, Capt. USN (rtd.)
- LEGION OF MERIT (2)
- MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
- NAVY COMMENDATION MEDAL
- AIR FORCE COMMENDATION MEDAL
- AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL * WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL
Tommy lost Martee soon after
he wrote this to us. 2. Tommy’s letter was done on a
manual typewriter and was reflective of his blindness.]
CO; 23 Jul 66 – 19 Apr 69
John F. Drain, CDR-USN
Photo: Washington, D.C., 1978
3/1953 - 7/1979
OFFICE OF THE CNO (OP-616)
CO, USS ORION AS-18
COMSUBDIV 102 / DEPCDRSUBRON 10
NAVAL REACTORS (NAVSEA 08)
USS SCAMP SSN-588
LEGION OF MERIT
MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL (3)
NAVY COMMENDATION MEDAL
19 Apr 69 – 3 Feb 73
Dickinson M. Smith, CDR-USN
“In the summer of 1968, when I returned
from being a rider on a Spec Op on
USS Lapon, I was expecting to report
the Bureau of Personnel for several weeks until orders were prepared. On arrival, I was given orders to be the
Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO) of USS Pogy, which was being built in
Pascagoula, Mississippi. Normally, one went to tactical PCO school
on the coast where the ship was to be home ported and then went to Adm.
Rickover's PCO school in Washington, D.C. In my case, however, the need for a PCO on
Pogy was so urgent that I was sent directly (the following Monday) to
Rickover's school and was told I would have to skip tactical school
altogether. Within weeks there, it was
obvious that Pogy was delayed again and I was far too early. After Rickover's school I was sent to
tactical PCO School in New London without knowing where I
would go to command. Near the end of
that schooling, I arranged for my household goods to be packed and picked up
with the promise I would know where to send them before they left the
house. And, indeed, I was ordered to
Scamp at the last minute.
Scamp was a wonderful assignment; the only
downside was that when I took command, the ship was nearly out of fuel so we
seldom went to sea for the last several months before the refueling overhaul.
After overhaul we made up for the slack
time we had had earlier by going to sea most of the next two years.
There was nothing we were unwilling to do
and we were fairly successful with our assignments. I have many fond memories
of my time with the ship and, primarily, fond memories of the guys I served
We worked hard and we had fun
The Scamp tour was the highlight of my
career. Follow on tours included a two
year stint with Rickover, duty in
Sardinia, Squadron Command and
Chief of Staff at Sub Pac. I was
fortunate enough to be selected for Flag rank and served six years in Flag
assignments before retiring in 1986. As a civilian I worked in the nuclear power industry until 2003, with
eight years as Chief Nuclear Officer for PECO Energy and some consulting
assignments after retiring from PECO.”
6th CO; 3 Feb 73 – 1 Jul 76
Daniel B. Branch, Jr,
CDR-USN (rtd. CAPT-USN)
As a junior officer right out of the
Academy, Dan Branch served as Weapons Officer on USS Bigelow
(DD-942), and had a second surface tour on USS Bainbridge, at that time
DLGN-25. Later it became CG-25. Timing was good and he made the first six month
Mediterranean deployment on Bainbridge with
deployments were made in the first four years in the Navy. Dan said, “It
was great since I was still a bachelor and did not marry until aboard my first
Submarine training was next, and subsequent
tours included USS Gato and USS James K Polk. Lieutenant Commander Dan Branch
took command of USS Scamp in January 1973 and served as Commanding Officer
until July 1976. Home port at the time was
San Diego. He was the
youngest and most junior nuclear submarine CO for nearly two
years. During his tour, USS Scamp conducted a six month deployment to
the Western Pacific which included two Special Operations, spent 15 months in
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for overhaul, and conducted operations in the
eastern Pacific for the remainder of the tour. Some interesting
operations and activities included certification of the then new S-3
aircraft, shooting MK 48 torpedoes for the first time on Scamp, shooting more
exercise torpedoes than any other submarine during the tour, hosting SECNAV
for presenting his engineering excellence award in l976, conducting a fun
dependents cruise off San Diego, helping a Destroyer in San Diego prepare for
and pass their first OPPE (non-nuclear ship engineering exam), training with
USS Enterprise in order to conduct the first WestPac joint deployment as full
time member of the Battle Group, and winning the Battle Efficiency E two
years in a row. One of Dan’s finest memories is the relationship he and
the crew had with
Tommy Atkins, who was SUBPAC
Chief of Staff for much of Dan’s tour. He had been CO Scamp earlier.
After Scamp, Commander Branch served at
Academy as a Battalion Officer
and member of the Board of Admissions, then joined COMSUBRON 16 as Deputy
Commander in the newly opened base at
Georgia. Nothing existed at
the base when the new staff and tender arrived, and the next 3 years were
spent developing the base infrastructure and getting the Squadron settled
after transfer from
Rota to the
USA in l979.
Follow-on tours were as Commanding Officer,
USS Orion (AS-18) in La Maddalena, Italy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Tactical
Readiness and Training at COMSUBLANT HQ, and finally as Arms Control Advisor
on the staff of SACLANTREP EUR in Brussels, Belgium. An interesting
twist of fate here, Dan said “I relieved Dick Smith as CO in 1973 and then
later (mid-80s) we were both in
Norfolk. Like me after
Scamp, he had a tour in La Maddalena. He was a RADM then on SACLANT
staff and was responsible for me getting the job in Brussels in 1987-1989,
which turned out to be very interesting professionally and quite enjoyable
for the family.”
After retiring from the Navy in 1989, Dan went
to work for EG&G, Inc., and later for Kaiser-Hill, Co., LLC to clean
up and shut down the DOE nuclear weapons plant (Rocky Flats) near
Denver, Colorado. After 13 years there and responsible for startup and
shutdown of the four major nuclear facilities, he shifted to part time
consulting and lots of skiing and travel. Dan said “I do not have any
trouble staying busy since I continue to be a Foundation member at the
Academy, am President of the
Naval Academy Alumni Association in
Colorado, and am Rocky Mountain
Regional President of the Navy League of the
United States. I sit on a couple
of congressmen's advisory boards, and enjoy sitting on their selection
committees for candidates for the military academies.”
As a personal note, Dan said, “I lost my
wife Sheila who had been with me throughout my submarine career in 2000,
but remarried in 2003 to Kathleen. We make our home in
Colorado. My address is
555 Apollo Drive,
80303-5002. The email is
DBRANCHJR@AOL.COM and the telephone
is 303-499-0337. I would really enjoy hearing from shipmates and others
in the Scamp family. It always had a great reputation”. Dan Branch
CO; 1 Jul 76 – 5 Apr 79
John F. Groth, CDR-USN
graduation from high school in 1955 I enlisted
in the United States Navy as an Electronics Field Seaman Recruit. In
1956 I successfully competed for a Fleet appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
I graduated in 1960 and was assigned to the
Eversole (DD-7899) home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. In December of 1960, after Anti-submarine Warfare School,
I married Joan C. Steelman and rejoined my ship. After
18 months of unsuccessfully chasing submarines and noting that they had
complete freedom of action after submerging, I applied for submarine training.
During submarine school I was
selected for nuclear power training. In 1964 I joined the commissioning
crew of USS Henry Clay (SSBN 625), earned my dolphins, qualified as an
Engineer Officer and was transferred to USS Lafayette (SSBN 616) as Navigator
and third officer in the first all nuclear
Subsequent assignments as Operations Officer Commander Submarine Flotilla Six,
acting Executive Officer USS Henry Clay and Executive Officer USS Lafayette
(SSBN 616) completed my preparations for submarine command. In 1976 I
was ordered to the Submarine Command Course in Norfolk Virginia as prospective
Commanding Officer USS John Adams (SSBN 620) Gold. During the course of
instruction I was recommend for command of an attack submarine, my desire
since 1964. In a family conference with my wife and three children, with
the list of available attack submarines in hand, our choice was assignment to
USS Scamp (SSN 588) home ported in San Diego, California, and so I became
lucky number seven in July 1976.
On a new coast, with a new, to me, ship type, I had a steep learning curve.
I was blessed with a tremendously talented wardroom and highly qualified crew,
supplied by my predecessor, Dan Branch. The Executive Officer, Mike
Raggett, was the most professional submarine officer I ever served with.
The Engineer Officer, Rich Stark, was the best ship handler I ever observed,
and Chief Andy Lawyer, Chief of the Boat, the provider of the sagest advice
imaginable. A month after assumption of command we deployed for WESTPAC
with orders from the Squadron commander; "Have fun!" The deployment was
highly successful. In the subsequent twelve months the ship was awarded
the Battle Efficiency "E" in direct competition with 637 and 688 class
submarines, given a no-notice operational reactor safeguards examination (the
first ship in the class so honored); and on ten days notice, assigned to
complete a circumnavigation of South America with UNITAS, ending the trip with
a homeport shift to New London. Scamp was the first nuclear submarine to
complete the entire circumnavigation with UNITAS.
In March 1979
I was transferred to my first shore duty as Commanding Officer Naval Nuclear
Power School at Orlando, Florida. In 1982 I took command of USS Fulton
In 1984 I
retired from active duty and pursued a career in civilian nuclear power.
first civilian job with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, an
organization dedicated to improving the safety and operation of commercial
nuclear power plants, I inspected more than 70 commercial power plants
throughout the world including communist Russia, China, Pakistan, Finland
Sweden and Mexico. Next Joan and I relocated to Palacios, Texas, as Vice
President Nuclear Operations South Texas Nuclear Operating Station. After
eight rewarding years we accepted a position as Chief Nuclear Officer for
Consolidated Edison of New York. In 2001 we returned to our friends in
Palacios doing volunteer work primarily to benefit the youngsters in the
community. In 2010 we retired to an adult community in Griffin, Georgia, a
location centrally located between our children’s families and the seven
Note, for a short period
four of the family were on active duty simultaneously; myself, Lisa as a line
Lieutenant, her husband John as a Lieutenant Commander Submarines, and son
John as an Ensign Naval Aviator.
Joan and I are in
good health; we spend our time volunteering in the community, biking,
swimming, and traveling to see the magnificent seven.
My years in Scamp
were the most professionally challenging and rewarding years of my career.
The professionalism of the officers and crew set a standard for performance
for the officers and crews of my subsequent commands and their civilian
counterparts. The unswerving dedication, indefatigable sense of humor
and willingness to attempt every challenge of Scamp's personnel have been my
inspiration in every subsequent professional and personal challenge.
My family accepts the lack of detailed information about my years on Scamp.
Those years allow me to smile in the mirror every morning while shaving and
reflecting on the deeds we did, the contribution we made and the challenges we
shared. USS Scamp, because of her Officers and crew, could do anything,
go anywhere and accomplish every assignment. She lives in my memory.
I still experience a chill remembering the first "Last man down, hatch
secured, permission to dive the ship" I received as her Commanding
Groth, January 2005.
5 Apr 79 – 20 Jul 82
Ralph Schlichter, CDR-USN
Ralph Schlichter was born in Wupertal, Germany January 28, 1943. He is a graduate
of Dan McCarty High School in Fort Pierce, Florida. He was commissioned
an Ensign in the US Navy after graduation from the US Naval Academy in 1964.
completion of nuclear power and submarine training in March 1965, Commander
Schlichter was assigned to USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN 633)(Blue), where he
served as an engineering division officer until March 1969. His next
assignments included tours as Engineer Office aboard USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN
601)(Blue) and USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN 633)(Gold). He was awarded the
Navy Achievement Medal during the latter tour.
1972 to May 1975, Commander Schlichter was assigned to the staff of the
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, as a member of the Naval Nuclear Power
Examining Board. Following this tour he was assigned as Executive
Officer of USS Omaha (SSN 692), during construction and for six months
following commissioning. Following this tour he completed Prospective
Commanding Officer training at the Division of Naval Reactors, in Washington,
D.C. and at Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet facilities in New
London, Connecticut and Norfolk, Virginia, reporting to USS Scamp in March
Commander Schlichter went on to Prospective Commanding Officer of SSN 708.
9th CO; 20 Jul 82 – 15 Jul 85
Thomas P. Guilfoil, CDR-USN
Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1941,
Thomas "Tim" Guilfoil graduated
from St. James High School and enlisted in the United States Navy in August
He served in USS Cubera (SS 347),
received training in Nuclear Power and served in USS Patrick Henry (SSBN 599)
Blue. In 1964, he was selected to participate in the Navy Enlisted
Scientific Education Program and attended the University of Oklahoma in
Norman, Oklahoma. He graduated in 1968 with a BS in Engineering Physics
and went on to Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, after
graduating from which he was commissioned as Ensign in the US Navy.
Upon completion of Nuclear Power Training at West Milton, New York, Tim
attended the Submarine Officer Indoctrination Course (SOIC) at New London,
Connecticut and was assigned to USS Guardfish (SSN 612), where he served from
July 1969 until May 1972. In December 1972, upon completion of the
Submarine Officer Advance Course (SOAC), Guilfoil was assigned as Engineer
Officer of USS Kamehameha (SSBN 642)(Gold) where he served until December
1976 to July 1978, Commander Guilfoil was assigned to the Staff of the
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as a member of the Nuclear Propulsion
Examining board. Following this tour he reported to USS Jacksonville
(SSN 699) Pre-commissioning Unit to serve as Executive Officer until September
1980. He then served as Executive Officer of USS Billfish (SSN 676) from
October 1980 to December 1981. Following this tour, he completed
Prospective Commanding Officer Training in Washington, D.C., New London,
Connecticut and Norfolk, Virginia, reporting to USS Scamp (SSN 588) in June
Guilfoil was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star in lieu of a
second award, the Navy Enlisted Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star, the
National Defense Service Medal, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Battle
Efficiency Ribbon and the Navy Sea Service Ribbon with Bronze Star.
In 2005, Tim
is retired and lives in Connecticut.
& Last CO (Decomm); 15 Jul 85 – Aug 88
David Duma, CDR-USN
Commander Duma is
from Ironwood, Michigan. He graduated from St.
Ambrose High School
and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1965.
In 1968, Duma was
selected into the Navy Enlisted Scientific Education Program, and chose to
attend North Carolina
North Carolina. He graduated in 1971 with a BS degree in
Nuclear Engineering. Upon completion
of Officer Candidate
School in Newport,
Rhode Island, in August 1971, he was commissioned
an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
completion of Nuclear Power Training, Commander Duma was assigned to USS
Guardfish (SSN 612), where he served from July 1973 until September
1975. He completed the Submarine
Officer Advanced Course in April 1976 and was assigned as Engineer Officer of
USS Alexander Hamilton (SSBN 617) (Blue), where he served until January 1980.
1980 until November 1981, Commander Duma served as assistant director of the
Tactics Department of Naval Submarine School, Groton,
Connecticut. In November 1981 he reported to USS Pargo
(SSN 650) to serve as Executive Officer until November 1984. Following his tour he completed Prospective
Commanding Officer Training and reported to USS Scamp (SSN 588) in June
has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal and
the Good Conduct Medal.
(CDR. Duma’s Bio is from
the USS Scamp (SSN 588) Deactivation Ceremony Booklet, dated 7 August 1987.)