I was cataloging some autographs today and ran across this…did not even know that I had it. It’s kind of a cool autograph.
- Slade Cutter was born in Oswego, Illinois in November 1911.
- Cutter wanted to be a flutist–and was good. So good that he had scholarships from some colleges. But turned them all down to go to the Naval Academy.
- Cutter played three years of varsity football at the Naval Academy, earning First Team All-America honors in 1934 as a tackle.
- In 1934 Cutter cemented his legacy in Navy’s football history. In front of 79,000 spectators at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Navy recorded their first win against their archrival Army in 13 years with a 3-0 victory thanks to Cutter’s lone field goal. Naval Academy fans heralded him as a hero for decades to come.
- He was so good in college that he was inducted into the College Football Hall of fame in 1967.
For most people that would be enough life accomplishments. But no, not for Slade.
- Graduated the Naval Academy in 1935.
- His first duty was as a football coach for the team of the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42).
- After submarine school, he coached football at the Naval Academy with collateral duty in the USS S-30 (SS-135).
Then World War 2 happened…
- When the war broke out he was assigned to the USS Pompano (SS-181) as the boats Executive Officer.
- During his time on the USS Pompano he would take part in three war patrols.
- It was a rough tour. During the submarines first patrol it was attacked and damaged by friendly fighters, and later depth charged by the Japanese. On the submarines third patrol, the boat was depth charged by the Japanese and effectively sunk off the coast of Japan. Luckily the crew was able to recover the boat, surface, and escape.
- His second tour was Executive Officer in USS Seahorse (SS-304).
- He would only stay the XO for one patrol. The submarine’s commander was relieved of duty after only one patrol and was replaced with Cutter.
- Slade Cutter would command the USS Seahorse for four War Patrols.
- He would make a name for himself as one of the great submarine commanders of the war. Over those four patrols, he would sink 19 Japanese ships–over 70,000 tons. That was second only to Dick O’Kane and tied with Dudley Walker “Mush” Morton for most ships sunk during the war.
- He was awarded four Navy Crosses.
- After the war, Cutter achieved the rank of Captain and subsequently commanded the oiler, USS Neosho (AO-143), and the converted heavy cruiser USS Northampton (CLC-1) while the latter served as flagship of the U.S. SECOND Fleet.
- He retired from active duty in 1965.
- I thought it was a little weird that a guy with such an amazing war record would retire as a Captain. From what I understand he was beloved by his men–but not so much his seniors. In particular, he got under the skin of Adm. Hyman Rickover–which was not a great idea if you were a post-war submariner looking for a promotion.