“But what has that to do with giving Benson a commission in the Navy?” demanded Farley.
“I’m coming to that,” Dave replied. “As I’ve heard the yarn, Benson and his two boy friends attracted attention even from the European governments. The Germans and some other powers even made them good offers to desert this country and go abroad as submarine experts. Our Navy folks thought enough of Benson and his chums to want to save them for this country. So the Secretary of the Navy offered all three the rank and command of officers without the actual commissions. As soon as these young men, the Submarine Boys as they are called, are twenty-one, the Navy Department will bestir itself to give them actual commissions and make them real staff or line officers.”
“So that those kids will rank us in the service?” grumbled Dan.
“Well, up to date,” replied Dave quietly, “the Submarine Boys have done more for their country than we have. Of course, in the end, we may be admirals in the Navy, even before they’re captains. Who can tell?”
“I wonder what Benson is doing here?” murmured Farley.
“Lieutenant Benson,” Dave corrected him, “is probably here on official business. If you want exact details, suppose we stop at the superintendent’s house and ask him.”
“Quit your kidding,” grinned Farley.
“So I’ve got to say ‘sir,’ if that boy speaks to me?” asked Dan.
“I think it would be better,” smiled Darrin, “if you’re anxious to escape another handful of demerits.”
By the time that the football squad began to assemble on the football field, Dan and his friends found that some of the midshipmen were full of information about the famous Submarine Boys. Readers who may not be familiar with the careers of Lieutenant Jack Benson, Ensign Hal Hastings, and Ensign Eph Somers are referred to the volumes of the Submarine Boys’ Series. In "The Submarine Boys and the Middies" will be found the account of the hazing that Jack, Hal and Eph had received at the hands of midshipmen.
Benson and his two friends, with a crew of four men, were now at the Naval Academy, having arrived at two o’clock that afternoon, for the purpose of giving the first classmen instruction aboard the latest Pollard submarine, the “Dodger.”
But play was called, and that stopped, for the time being, all talk about the Submarine Boys.
The prize trip on the “Dodger”
The following afternoon, at the hour for instruction in the machine shops, the entire first class was marched down to the basin, where the “Dodger” lay. Squad by squad the midshipmen were taken on board the odd-looking little craft that was more at home beneath the waves than on them.
While the exact place and scale of importance of submarine war craft has not been determined as yet, boats of the Pollard type are certainly destined to play a tremendously important part in the Naval wars of the future. Hence all of the midshipmen were deeply interested in what they saw and were told.