From "The Rope Yarn", May 31, 1941

Published weekly aboard the Heavy Cruiser, USS SALT LAKE CITY, by direction of the Commanding Officer for the benefit of the Crew.

ball-red-02 Deceased Captain E. M. Zacharias, USN, Commanding Officer
Commander J. B. Noble, USN, Executive Officer

Feeling that it would be of interest to the readers of the "The Rope Yarn" to know some of the highlights in the lives of important people in the Salt Lake City, we will present weekly a short sketch on some outstanding personality on board. It is only fitting that we should start at the top, so here goes:

Page 2 & 3

Captain Ellis M. Zacharias, USN, is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and a graduate of the US Naval Academy in the class of 1912. He served his first cruise aboard the new battleship ARKANSAS and had a part in the commissioning of that vessel. On this cruise he carried President William Howard Taft to Panama to inspect the canal before the water was turned into it. From 1913 to 1915 he served aboard the VIRGINIA and following this he had a short service in the survey ship HANNIBAL, when he was called to more important duty.

During the World War Captain Zacharias served in the Atlantic on the cruisers RALEIGH and PITTSBURGH. The post war period found him on duty at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, where he had been sent by the office of Naval Intelligence to study the Japanese language. It was at the end of this tour that he went through the great Japanese earthquake. Although in Yokohama at the time, he happened to be on the end of the pier, a comparatively safe place, although that portion of the pier to which he ran sank into the bay. After five hours the fire which burned the entire wrecked city had spent itself. The Captain worked all night ashore helping to carry the injured out to vessels in the harbor and later directed other rescue work along the coast. Three days later when he returned to his house a few miles down the coast he found that the tidal wave had carried four feet of water through it. No, he wasn't married then.

Following this interesting foreign duty he served two years aboard the ROCHESTER around Panama and was with General John J. Pershing in Arnica, Chile, to settle the Teena Arnica dispute between Chile and Peru. In 1926 he became Commanding Officer of the destroyer, McCORMACK in China and in 1927 he went again to the PITTSBURGH, then flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. A year later he began a three year tour of duty in the office of Naval Intelligence.

In 1931, after making a tour of the United States as Aide to Prince and Princess Takamatsu, brother of the present Emperor, time again found Captain Zacharias in command of a destroyer, the DORSEY, with Destroyers Battle Force. Upon being relieved of this command in 1933, he went to the senior Course at the United States Naval War College at Newport, RI This duty was followed by a two year assignment as executive officer of the cruiser RICHMOND. Prior to his coming to command the SALT LAKE CITY last November, Captain Zacharias had, for two and a half years, been Intelligence Officer of the 11th Naval District, which takes in all of Southern California, New Mexico and Arizona. Captain Zacharias has won high commendation for his services as a Naval Intelligence Officer and has had hand in practically every espionage case in recent years. He was instrumental in clearing up a number of cases such as the recent Russian-Gorin-Salich espionage case in Los Angeles, the Drummond case in Los Angeles, the Farnsworth case in Washington, DC and the New York Nazi Spy case. All of these involved the sale of American Naval Secrets and now some of the principles are doing time.

He is recognized as a keen student and an authority of Asiatic problems and speaks Japanese fluently. When he was detached from the Intelligence Service in the 11th Naval District, the San Diego Tribune-Sun in an editorial said of him:

In Naval circles and among civilians who knew him during the two and a half years he has been stationed here, there will be a genuine regret over the departure of Captain Ellis M. Zacharias who, since May 1938, has been District Intelligence Officer in San Diego. The regret, however, will be tempered with happiness over his elevation to the command of the heavy Cruiser USS Salt Lake City.

Captain Zacharias has made many friends in the district. Temperamentally and by training, he has been regarded as the ideal intelligence officer, because of his ability to understand problems from the civilian viewpoint and particularly, from the viewpoint of the Nisei, or second generation of the Japanese. For several years he was stationed in the Orient and spent much of that time in Japan, where he acquired a knowledge that has enabled him to speak it fluently. He also understands the customs, the mannerisms and the line of reasoning of the Japanese people, something for Occidentals to acquire.

Captain Zacharias is the type of naval officer that San Diego knows so well and so favorably; competent, alert and possessing a keen interest in civic matters."

Click "here" for More information on Captain Ellis M. Zacharias, Sr.


Contributions from Bernard "Ben" McMurray
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