|Commander John M. Will Jr.,USN
Commanding officer USS PUFFER (SSN 652)
Commander John M. Will, Jr. Was born February 5, 1932 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. He attended Cornell University from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. In 1954, following short stint as a Field Engineer for E.I. duPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, he began his naval career as Communications Officer on board USS TUCKER (DDR875). This assignment was followed by a tour as operations Officer on the staff of Commander Destroyer Division 32 from which he was sent to Submarine School.
Commander Will's submarine career began aboard the USS WAHOO (SS565) in Pearl Harbor. He attended Nuclear Power School in New London, Connecticut and Nuclear Operators Training at the landbased prototype nuclear plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Following this training, was assigned to the commissioning crew of the USS SCULPIN (SSN590) in 1959 serving as Damage Control Assistant and Operations officer. From the SCULPIN, he was assigned ashore as Director of listed Training at the Nuclear Power School, Bainbridge, Maryland. Comander Will next served as Executive Officer of USS SEADRAGON (SSN584). During this tour he was awarded two Pacific Fleet Commanders Commendations for meritorious service. In 1966, he attended the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island obtaining a Master of science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. He reported as Prospective Commanding Officer of USS PUFFER (SSN652) in.March 1968.
Commander Will played varsity lacrosse and was Captain of the Cornell 150 lb Football Team. He was President of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and of the Cornell Intrafraternity Council. In 1952, he was Regimental Commander of the Naval Reserve Officer Candidate School in Long Beach, California. He holds the China Service Medal, the National Defense Medal with bronze star and the Vietnam Service Medal. Commander Will and his wife, the former Linda Walleen of Stamford, Connecticut have four children.
To the Crew and Families of USS PUFFER
It is a unique and rewarding experience to have the opportunity, as I have had, to watch a ship grow from being an inanimate metal shell on the building ways to being a functioning, capable man-of-war crewed by the finest group of men with which one could hope to serve. Of the small nucleus who, in March 1968, were on hand to ride PUFFER down the ways, there are only two of us still aboard. Of the full crew that put PUFFER in commission in August 1969, there are only 21 left aboard. We have had 24 officers and about 200 enlisted men, the equivalent to two full crews, assigned to PUFFER in her short lifetime to date. PUFFER is no longer inanimate - she has gained a spirit and character. These attributes have been generated by you - her crew and families. A crew by it's attitude, skill, diligence and dedication breathes life into a ship and causes her, by her performance, to gain a reputation. PUFFER's reputation is one of which all of us can be justifiably proud. However, PUFFER's crew efforts and perseverance would not have been possible without the loving and generous support of our families. We are proud of you, our families, and the part you have played in helping to make PUFFER the ship she is today.
I am soon to be relieved by Commander Daniel L. Cooper, U.S. Navy. He is indeed fortunate to be taking command of PUFFER and thereby to be gaining your cooperation and friendship. You too are lucky in that Commander Cooper comes to PUFFER with an outstanding record as a naval officer and submariner. I know he will continue PUFFER's fine performance and growth.
So it is with regret that my wife Linda and I must say Aloha to you wonderful people. We have enjoyed the friendship, camaraderie and good times that we have had with you. We wish you all the best of luck and happiness for the future. And we will often remember you that gave life to the PUFFER.
J.M. Will, Jr.