50th Anniversary of the Commissioning of the USS Luce

Admiral Charles M. "Savvy" Cooke Jr

Admiral Charles M. "Savvy" Cooke Jr

Admiral Stephen Bleecker Luce

Admiral Stephen Bleecker Luce

50 years ago the US Navy honored one of it’s illustrious officers and visionaries by naming a ship after him. That visionary was Stephen Bleecker Luce, who rose up from the ranks from his first commission as Midshipman from President Van Buren to Admiral and founder of the Naval War College. And Admiral Luce was the younger brother of my great-great-great grandfather, John Bleecker Luce.  My great-grandfather, John Bleecker Cooke was named after him. Both my great-grandfather and his brother, Charles Maynard Cooke, Jr., joined the US Navy shortly after the 20th Century began. Charles Jr. earned the nickname Savvy during his stint at the US Naval Academy. (Unlike today, Savvy earned a degree first at university, before getting the appointment to the academy). JB and Savvy both served in the submarine corps before advancing to other roles. There will be more later on both of them.

Admiral Luce died in 1917 but Savvy had managed to meet his great-uncle a few times while in service with the Navy. JB did not have any meetings with Admiral Luce, as at the time JB would have been too low of rank and was also serving on the West Coast at the San Pedro Sub base, whilst Savvy was serving in New England.

Anyway in May of 1961, the US Navy decided to commission the 3rd ship to be named after Admiral Luce, a guided missile destroyer of the Farragut class, DDG-38, USS Luce. JB persuaded Savvy to attend and to make a report back to the rest of the family. The transcription of that report is contained in the link that follows:

Text of Savvy’s Report on the Commissioning of USS Luce

The USS Luce (DDG-38) served the US Navy as part of the 6th Fleet until she was decommissioned in 1991 and then scrapped. As of 2011 there is no USS Luce in service of the US Navy.

One Response to “50th Anniversary of the Commissioning of the USS Luce”

  1. David Kohnen says:


    I am writing to you, as I recently completed my dissertation about Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King and his Headquarters of the Second World War. Obviously, Savvy Cooke loomed very large in my study. Anyway, I am now in the process of expanding my dissertation into a book which I will be submitting later this year. I will keep you apprised of my progress if you are interested. I am aware of the Cooke papers at the Hoover Institute. His contributions are also found in all of the material relating to King at National Archives and etc. As I also work at the Naval War College, I have also been interested in the connection between S.B. Luce and Cooke….

    Please stay in touch.

    With best regards,
    Dave Kohnen

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