Liberty Ships, Tugs, Brooklyn Navy Yard & WWII

Does anyone remember a quote from an admiral at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWII saying something along the lines of, “I would rather give command of one of my liberty ships to one of my tug captains than I would give command of one of my tugs to one of my liberty ship captains.”

I am looking for the specific quote, the actual verbatim text, and the name of the person who said it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

Back then they were licensing anyone who had ever looked at a boat. The Tug captains comparatively had prbly been in their jobs for years already.

This seems a bit apocryphal to me. I don’t see any record of a liberty ship being built at Brooklyn Navy Yard. Maybe he was talking about one of his carrier or battleship captains?

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I have seen it said that the three most useless things on a small vessel are a wheelbarrow, an umbrella and a naval officer.

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If I remember correctly the Admiral in question (whose name I don’t remember, or else I would not have had to post this thread) was referring not to Liberty ships that his yard had built, but instead to Liberty ships that he was responsible for marshaling in some way, such as readying them for convoy duty or repairing them after convoy damage.

I’m not entirely sure of any of that, that’s just what I vaguely remember about the quote. To be honest, it may not have even been liberty ships at all that he was referring to. I just remember the quote as having been something vaguely along the lines of what I stated in the original post, but to what degree the actual quote varied from that I have no idea at all.

Might have been an admiral in charge of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, a major loading point for Liberties bound for warzones.

I might be wrong, but I seem to recall that line from a Mowat or Hartog novel about rescue/ salvage tugs.


I hadn’t thought of that. I’ve read both Grey Seas Under as well as The Serpent’s Coil, but a long time ago, so it’s entirely possible it came from one of those and I just forgot that that was the source. I thought I had read it on the gCaptain forum originally, which is why I asked about it on here. I guess I’ll have to go back and give both of those a look now.