BIOGRAPHY OF CAPT. CLAUDIUS AS
WRITTEN IN THE
U.S.S. FLOYD B. PARKS "LOG OF CRUISE" 1949-1950
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
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,
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."
ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHY OF CAPT. CLAUDIUS
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
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.