JULY 1949 - DECEMBER 1951


Commander Herbert G. Claudius, USN, was born in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from Omaha's Central High School in 1926. The next four years were spent at the University of California, Berkeley, California, where the Captain was studying Business Administration and Naval Science with the Naval ROTC unit. Graduation from Cal. in 1930 meant a BS degree in business and an Ensign's Commission in the U. S. Naval Reserve dated 19 June 1930. Captain Claudius performed the duties of Division Officer, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer between 1930 and 1940 while he was active in the organized reserve in San Francisco. The Captain has been on active duty since 1940, having been commissioned Commander in August 1943 and having transferred from USNR to USN in July 1946.
Captain Claudius has had many interesting assignments in the last ten years as the following list demonstrates:

Executive Officer Naval Reserve Training Base, Yerba Buena Island, California.
Personnel Officer, Staff Commander Patro1 Forces, Treasure Island, California.
Commanding Officer U.S.S. P.C. 566.
Commanding Officer U .S.S. Haste (PG94).
Commanding Officer U.S'.S. Austin (DE15).
Commanding Officer U.S.S. Runels (DE793).
Commanding Officer U.S. Nava1 Station Argentia, Newfoundland.
Executive Officer Naval ROTC, Oregon State College, Corvallis, Oregon.
Commanding Officer U .S.S. Floyd B. Parks (DD884).

The Captain took Command of our ship on 16 July 1949 in San Diego and brought us through the long summer and early fall of 1949, during which time we were being trained for Operation MIKI and for a tour of duty with the Seventh Fleet in the Far East. During his cruise in the "Floyd B." Captain Claudius has had very little time to be with his wife, daughter and son, who have been living in Oakland, California, their misfortune having been our good fortune. He has brought us over 35,000 miles of water, some dangerous, some not so dangerous, but all requiring the utmost of his efforts. It is not by chance that reports reach us from one of the large aircraft carriers we operated extensively with that the PARKS is the best "Can," she, the carrier, had ever worked with. At the close of this cruise we can look aft at our record and be proud. Even as this book goes to press we look forward to another cruise with Captain Claudius and the promise of many leagues of good sailing with the best damn Skipper in DesPac."


Unbeknownst to most, mid-1942 was a naval disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. German U-boats were sinking freighters and tanker mercilessly. July 30, 1942, then newly promoted Lt. Cmdr H.G. Claudius had just taken command of the newly launched PC 566 sub-chaser. With a new, inexperienced crew, a new ship, and himself not trained in ASW, he had just completed the shakedown cruise. PC566 was assigned escort duty for the freighter Robert E Lee. The freighter captain insisted on steaming a straight line at 16 knots - a poor tactic and a speed which rendered the PC 566 sonar useless. While a single torpedo sank the Lee off the New Orleans coast, the PC566 sighted the sub periscope, proceeded to attack, and later rescue most of the Lee's crew and passengers. Weeks later a review board decided that the attack failed and that a Coast Guard aircraft sank that sub days later some 130 miles to the west. A mystery remained for 60 years until a marine surveying team finally found the U-boat, buried under 5000 feet of water, only 1 mile from the Robert E Lee. The young captain Claudius and his crew always suspected that they had sunk the only U-boat ever sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, but they never knew for sure and they were never given credit for it. This mystery was only resolved in the past couple of years, and the findings are the subject of a History Channel presentation of the "Deep Sea Detectives" show on April 12, 2004.

After the above description of the PARKS' WESTPAC activity, Captain Claudius commanded for a second WESTPAC tour. The PARKS was now involved in the Korean Conflict. The ship performed superbly in conducting shore bombardment and blockade duties in the Bay of Wonsan, North Korea. Captain Claudius was awarded the "Legion of Merit" for his command leadership in this activity. While on the PARKS in July, 1951, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

His assignments after the PARKS include:
Naval Reserve Training Center - greater Los Angeles area 1/26/52
Commodore Mine Flotilla One 3/2/54
Captain USS Ajax AR 6 3/19/55
Chief of Staff, MSTS - San Francisco 10/22/56
Commodore Amphibious Squadron Three 1/10/59
Staff Commander MSTS - Washington DC 1961

On July 1, 1963 he retired from the Navy, but he remained active in the Southern California Naval reserve and the National Society of Scabbard and Blade. On July 31, 1981 he was on the golf course engaging in his favorite sporting activity. While jogging to rejoin his foursome, he suffered a massive heart attack. The doctors said he was gone before he hit the ground. Thus ended an outstanding Naval career and an even longer association with the navy.

As is typical of a Naval Officer's career, dad spent little time at home while I was still living with the family. I fortunately have recently had the opportunity to review his career in some detail. Everywhere I look I find outstanding fitness reports, outstanding acts of command, and tremendous respect from his men, fellow officers and civilians alike.
Herbert Gordon Claudius, Jr.