Skip to main content

Edward J. Fahy papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSC-120

Scope and Contents

The collection focuses on the admiral's naval career, with emphasis on his submarine service, his directorship of the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory, New London, Connecticut, and of the Mare Island Shipyard, Vallejo California. The materials are housed in six boxes that measure two and one half linear feet. The collection is divided into eight series.

Series I, Correspondence, contains both personal and official letters sent and received, 1936-1971, inclusive. Personal letters consist of letters sent by the Fahy daughters to their parents as well as several from other relatives. Official letters and memoranda regarding the rescue of the USS SQUALUS in 1939, the use of radar in the fleet during World War II, the Sea Hawk project in 1966, beneficial suggestions received while Director, Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory as well as other correspondence and letters sent and received regarding ship launchings at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA form the greater part of the correspondence section.

Series II, Naval Orders, contains a complete record of his assignments from 1933 through 1953, while Series III, biographical information, houses copies of his official Navy biography and his obituary printed in Shipmate, January-February 1990.

Speeches, Series IV, 1946-1957, consist of notes and official presentations given as Director of the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory and Commanding Officer of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Writings, Series V, 1936-1965, contain papers on fleet electronics materials, system coordination in naval shipyards for electronics, electrical and ordinance work, research, careers in science, organization, management and published articles in the U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, the Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers and Electron.

Subject files, Series VI, 1935-1971, house a 1935 report of the submarine officers conference regarding submarine characteristics of new construction, with a cover memo by Joseph K. Taussig, and various memoranda on improvements in submarines, hull welding, trials and inspections, tactical requirements for sub air search raiders, sub maintenance cycle, maintenance of electronic equipment modifications in submarines and submarine strength. Memoranda, reports, instructions, charts, correspondence and schema for electronic spare parts are the second major segment in this series. Booklets, memoranda, presentations and reports in production, planning, costs, quality control, appraisal, budget, and destroyer building practice at the Mare Island Shipyard complete this series.

Series VII, Reports, 1918-1971, has information on submarines, shipbuilding capacity and costs in the U.S. Navy, defense planning, antenna systems on ship and shore and several curriculum items from courses RADM Fahy attended.

Miscellany, Series VIII, contains a variety of materials, including newspapers from various stations Fahy commanded, certificates, programs, booklets, including historical information on the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, career photographs, including shots of shipbuilding and ship launchings, a notebook and address book from the U.S. Naval Academy, 1934, and Naval War College Correspondence course materials for Strategy and Tactics, 1938- 1939, with his solutions.


  • Creation: 1918 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

Rear Admiral Edward J. Fahy was born in New York City on May 8, 1910. He attended St. Francis Xavier High School where he joined the Naval Reserves before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930. He graduated with distinction in 1934 and had the honor of serving as Regimental commander.

After graduation, he reported to the cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for fitting out duy. He participated in its post commissioning shakedown cruise to South America and the Caribbean in the summer of 1934. After serving on the staff of Commader Cruisers, Scouting Force, he attended Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, and also enrolled in the Naval War College's Correspondence School course in Strategy and Tactics.

Assigned to the Submarine USS PERMIT in San Diego in 1938, he remained with the ship in the Asiatic Fleet until 1941. For the next year and one half, he received advanced training at civilian and navy schools. In 1943, he was named prospective co of USS SPEARFISH. A year later he joined USS PLUNGER as navigator and in 1944 became her commanding officer. The PLUNGER saw action in the Pacific at Truk, the Caroline Islands and was responsible for sinking five enemy ships during its war patrols. For his service on the PLUNGER, he received two letters of commendation. Fahy ended his wartime service on the staff of the CO, Training Command, Submarine Force, Pacific, where he made valuable contributions to the offensive and defensive capabilities of submarines as tactical, new developments and electronics officer.

Following the war, he joined the Bureau of Ships for four years as Director of Shipboard Electronics Installation and Maintenance and subsequently served as Electronics Shipyard Officer at the Norfolk, (VA) Navy Yard. In 1953, he became Commanding Officer and Director of the Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London, Connecticut. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1961 while serving as assistant chief of the Bureau of Ships for Research and Development.

Fahy reported as commander of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, in 1962 where he supervised the construction of SARGO, the first nuclear powered submarine built on the west coast, and was instrumental in the development of HALIBUT, the first nuclear powered guided missile submarine. He was CO of the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, before being appointed Chief of the Bureau of Ships in 1966. He retired from the Navy in that position in 1969.

During his years of active naval service, he completed postgraduate studies in electronics at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

He retired to Annapolis, Maryland, where he sailed and became involved in real estate. In 1974, he moved to Delray Beach, Florida, where he was active in civic and naval organizations. He died there on October 25, 1989, leaving his wife, four daughters and a son.

RADM Fahy was awarded the Legion of Merit, the American Defense Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He was a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, The U.S. Naval Institute, The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, Serra International, and the USNA Alumni Association, and was past president of the American Society of Naval Engineers.

Chronology of Naval Service

Born, Brooklyn, New York, May 8
Joined the Naval Reserve
Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Commander cruisers Scouting Force, Communications Watch Officer
Submarine School, New London, CT, Student
USS PERMIT (SS-178), Torpedo and Gunnery Officer
Postgraduate School, Annapolis, MD, Instruction in Electronic Engineering
MIT, training; Prospective Commanding Officers' School, Submarine Base, New London, CT, training
USS PLUNGER, (SS-179), Navigator, CO
Commander Training Command, Submarine Force, Pacific, Electronics and New Development Officer
Bureau of Ships, Director of the Electronic Division and Ship and Amphibious Division
Norfolk (VA) Naval Shipyard, Shipyard Electronics Officer
Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, Force Material Officer
Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory, New London, CT, co and Director
Mare Island Shipyard, Vallejo, CA., Production Officer
Bureau of Ships for Research and Development, Assistant Chief
Mare Island Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, Commander; Promoted to Rear Admiral
San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, and Mare Island Division, Vallejo, CA, Commander
Retired from U.S. Navy, August 1
Died, October 25, Delray Beach, Florida


6 boxes (6 boxes and oversized items)

Language of Materials



Correspondence and memoranda, 1936–1972; Naval Orders, 1933–1958; Biographies, 1965–1990; Speeches, 1946–1967; Writings, 1936–1965; Subject Files, 1935–1971; Published reports, 1918–1971; Miscellany, including certificates, booklets, programs, photographs and sound recordings, 1939–1971.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Rear Admiral Edward j. Fahy were presented to the Naval War College Foundation for deposit in the Naval Historical Collection by the Admiral's son, Captain Edward J. Fahy, USN, in November 1991.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Naval War College Archives Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US