Grenfell, Elton Watters

Date of birth:
June 17th, 1903 (Fall River/Massachusets, United States)
Date of death:
1980
Service number:
0-60390
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

Promotions:
June 3rd, 1926: Ensign;
?: Lieutenant Commander;
?: Commander;
August 1st, 1943: Captain;
July 24th, 1953: Rear Admiral (as from January 1st, 1954);
July 21st, 1960: Vice Admiral.

Career:
June 17th, 1922 - June 3rd, 1926: U.S. Naval Academy;
September 1926: USS Florida (BB 30);
June 1927: Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island;
December 1927: USS Lexington (CV 2);
?: USS Childs (DD 241);
July 1928: Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut;
December 1928: USS R-4 (SS 81);
July 1933: Mechanical Engineering, Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland;
?: University of California, Berkeley;
January 26th, 1937: USS Pickerel (SS 177);
May 1939: Bureau of Engineering/Bureau of Construction and Repair, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.;
June 1940: Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.;
February 1941: USS Gudgeon (SS 211), Mare Island Navy Yard;
April 21st, 1941 - April 15th, 1942: Commanding Officer USS Gudgeon (SS 211);
September 1st, 1942 - December 14th, 1942: Commanding Officer USS Tunny (SS 282);
?: Strategic Planning Officer , Staff, Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet;
?: Commanding Officer Submarine Division 44, Submarines, Pacific Fleet;
June 1st, 1945: Commanding Officer Submarine Squadron 34;
September 2nd, 1945: Commanding Officer Submarine Squadron 5;
August 1946: Assistant Deputy for Undersea Warfare, Submarines, Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department;
?: Submarine Member of the Ship Characteristics Board, Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department;
July 1948: Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet;
June 1953: Commanding Officer Submarine Flotilla 1;
August 1953: Special Deputy to the Chief of Naval Operations, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department;
July 13th, 1954: Deputy to the Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel/Assistant Chief of Naval Operations;
June 1955: Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Personnel Control/Assistant Chief of Naval Operations;
August 31st, 1956: Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant Commander
Unit:
Commanding Officer, USS Gudgeon (S 211), Submarine Division 62, Submarine Squadron 6, U.S. Navy
Awarded on:
May 1942
Action:
Citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Gudgeon (SS-211), on the First War Patrol of that submarine during the period 13 December 1941 to 29 January 1942, off the coast of Kyushu in Japanese home waters. While in enemy waters, Lieutenant Commander Grenfell successfully attacked and sank a ship of 5,000 tons. Later, when due to return to his base at Pearl Harbor, and having received information that the Midway Islands had been attacked by enemy submarines, Lieutenant Commander Grenfell set his course with the object in view of intercepting these submarines. He encountered a Japanese submarine on the surface, attacked it with three torpedoes, severely damaging the enemy submarine. His patrol was completed without damage to his submarine or injury to personnel of his command. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to his officers and men and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Details:
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 302 (May 1942).
Navy Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Commander
Unit:
Commanding Officer, U.S. Navy
Awarded on:
September 9th, 1943
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Action:
Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Commanding Officer of a United States Submarine on patrol in enemy Japanese-controlled waters. Skillfully maneuvering his ship into striking position, Commander Grenfell attacked the enemy with aggressive determination and outstanding courage and succeeded in sinking or damaging an important amount of Japanese shipping. Despite strong hostile countermeasures, he evaded the enemy by his prompt and expert tactics, finally bringing his vessel safely into port. His superb leadership and daring devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Details:
Pacific Fleet Board Awards: Serial 40 (September 9, 1943).
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Captain
Awarded on:
1944
Action:
Received for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during World War II.
Legion of Merit - US Military
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Captain
Awarded on:
February 1945
Action:
Citation:
"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as strategic planning officer on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet from 12 December 1942 to 17 August 1944. Captain Grenfell contributed materially to the success of our submarine operations in enemy waters which resulted in very severe damage to the enemy."
Details:
Second LoM awarded in the form of a golden star to be worn on the ribbon of the first LoM.
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 335 (February 1945).
Legion of Merit - US Military
Rank:
Vice Admiral
Unit:
Commander Submarine Force, United States Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Navy
Awarded on:
July 20th, 1964
Action:
Citation:
"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States during the period August 1960 to September 1964, as Commander Submarine Force, United States Atlantic Fleet, and advisor for Polaris operations to the Commander in Chief Atlantic. Exercising outstanding professional skill and resourcefulness, Vice Admiral Grenfell was eminently successful in carrying out his responsibilities throughout this period. As a result of his sound judgment and superior planning ability, Atlantic Fleet Submarines conducted operations of inestimable value to the United States in the Atlantic, Arctic, and Indian Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea. His dynamic and infusive leadership resulted in the development of highly trained crews to man the scientifically sophisticated Polaris submarines which were maintained at an unprecedented degree of readiness, thus making an extremely important contribution to the nuclear deterrent posture of the United States. During a period in which personnel strength of the Submarine Force, United States Atlantic Fleet, expanded threefold, Vice Admiral Grenfell succeeded in maintaining the traditional esprit de corps and professional competence of his command in spite of rapid expansion, change in composition, and diversity in the nature of the operations involved. His inspiring leadership, keen foresight and untiring devotion to duty throughout, reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the United States Naval Service."
Details:
Board Serial 460 (20 July 1964).
Distinguished Service Medal - Navy/USMC

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