Robert F. A. Studds,
our Man-of-the-Month for November, was born in Washington D.C.,
1896. He received his early education at local grammar and high
schools, attended the Immaculate Conception School, and was graduated
from Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Science
in Civil Engineering in 1917.
After graduating from Catholic University, he entered the Sanitary
Division of the District Government, and remained in this position
until our entry into World War I. He enlisted in the Army in
the 472nd Engineer Regiment, and served at Camp Humphreys until
6 months after the war.
Commander Studds received his appointment to the Bureau in 1919
as a deck officer and junior engineer and was assigned to the
NATOMA. In 1922-1923 he was with the LYDONIA off the coasts
of Oregon and Florida. After an assignment on the PATHFINDER
from 1923 to 1926 in the Philippines, he returned to the States
in charge of the ELSIE III from 1926 to 1929, engaged in operations
in New York Harbor and original surveys in South Carolina. This
assignment was interrupted for a brief period in 1927 for duty
on the RANGER in Puerto Rico.
Perhaps his most memorable experience came in 1936 when, as
Commanding Officer of the FATHOMER, his ship was caught in a
typhoon in Port San Vincente on the northeastern end of Luzon
in the Philippines. The wind velocity reached an estimated 150
miles per hour and the FATHOMER dragged her anchor fetching
up on a reef.
In his report on the "Stranding and Salvaging of the FATHOMER"
(Field Engineers Bulletin 1936) Commander Studds gives a very
vivid description of the typhoon.
Although modestly giving credit to his officers and crew, his
ability to instill in his officers and men his own meticulous
insistence on proper maintenance of ship and equipment were
largely responsible for the final salvaging of the vessel.
After serving in several capacities in the Washington Office,
he was made assistant chief of Charts in 1938, where he remained
to this date. His present job consists of handling the very
difficult personnel problems for Chart Division.
He not only knows by name the vast majority of employees of
the Division, but their grade, date of last promotion, and number
He is married to Margaret Lee Milan, and has three children,
John Anthony, Sharon Lee, and Michael Bowman. Outside of his
home life he is a sharecropper of some note and the family larder
is well stocked with the results of his (or better put, Mrs.
His chicken raising industry ran into difficulties when his
son John became allergic to the birds. Now the Studds' have
been eating chickens instead of raising them. Commander Studds
takes such an interest in his work here that he has decided
that when he retires, he will go into the personnel business,
which all goes to prove he can really take it.
THE BUZZARD, 11/4/1943