When a new submission is made, that candidate will remain on the candidate list for one year, if not selected to be inducted. Upon conclusion of that year, the name will be removed from the candidate list. New candidates will be posted on this page as they are submitted and received by MPA Board. You may also submit additional information for current candidates listed here by using the nomination submission form. Each year, the candidates list will be narrowed down to a select number of nominees for voting.
* These current candidates listed will remain on this list until December 2020.
View the current candidates by scrolling through the slides below.
CAPT Andrew Serrell, USN (Ret.)
The information herein was derived from his documents, which the family donated to the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian of Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
Aviator, Educator, Leader
Captain Andrew “Andy” Serrell was born in 1923 in Dobbs Ferry New York, along the banks of the Hudson River. As a boy Andy would watch in awe as the yellow pontoon planes would take-off and land at the Dobbs Ferry flying School. Andy was immediately hooked on flying. He earned his student pilots certificate at age 16. His love of Aviation continued for the remainder of his life. He would achieve over 9,000 hours of flight time in military aircraft and compiled over 15,000 total hours as a pilot.
In July 1942, Immediately after High School, Andy enlisted in the Naval Reserves as an Aviation Cadet, completing his flight training and ground school at St Lawrence University and Wesleyan University. He reported for active duty in January of 1943 with assignments to Chapel Hill Pre-flight and Pensacola in early 1944. He continued flight training in PB-Y and PB4-Y aircraft. Andy served briefly with photographic squadron five from July to September of 44. This assignment nurtured his interest in aerial photography, a skill he would refine and use for many years in the private sector.
He was then assigned to Patrol Bombing Squadron 121, flying out of the many Island bases in the Western Pacific. Ltjg Serrell participated in raids against the Marshall and Wake Islands, and later on the island of Iwo Jima in support of 3rd fleet operations against the Japanese homeland. His Pacific service earned Andy an Air Medal with two gold stars. He was awarded the Asia Pacific Theater ribbon with one battle star while participating in 3rd fleet operations against the mainland of Japan.
After the War (1946 to 1948) Andy was assigned to NAS Pensacola as a multi-engine flight Instructor. During that time Andy transitioned from naval reserves to regular Navy and was promoted to Lieutenant. This was followed by assignments as personnel officer with COMAIRPAC Pearl Harbor then Patrol Squadron 28. These personnel assignments undoubtedly nurtured Andy’s ability to encourage achievement in men serving alongside of him and those under his command. It has been said that Andy Serrell never looked down upon an enlisted sailor”.
In 1950 after training at GCA school in Olathe KS Andy was assigned to NAS New York, (Floyd Bennet Field) as officer in charge of GCA unit 14. He maintained his flying hours towing targets in an F6-F hellcat and with assignments in various other aircraft.
During this time Andy began to take advantage of the Navy’s Five Term College program, enrolling in Columbia University through 1952 and 1953. His education was interrupted by a three-year assignment to Air Transport Squadron 2 out of Alameda CA, where he accumulated many hours piloting the huge Martin “MARS” Seaplane on regular trans-Pacific flights.
In 1956 he returned to his quest for education, attending the Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterrey, CA, the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, AL and the Naval Intelligence School in Washington DC.
From 1957 to 1958 LCDR Serrell attended the Air forces command school. Then, from March 1959 to March 1961 he served as assistant air intelligence officer on the staff of COMSIXFLT under Admiral George Anderson.
From March to December 1961 CDR Serrell was assigned to VP-30, out of NAS Norfolk VA, flying ASW in P2V-7 aircraft.
CDR Serrell and VP-44
The early 1960’s were transition years for Patrol Squadron 44. Throughout the late 1950’s the squadron won multiple ASW efficiency awards in the P5-M flying boat, however the Navy was phasing out of the P5M and into Land based ASW aircraft. Patrol Squadron 44 transitioned to the P2V-5F and, in late 1961 they deployed to NAS Sigonella Sicily. It was there that CDR Andrew Serrell joined the squadron as executive officer. He was recognized for his aviation skills and his personal demeanor. A natural leader “Andy” gained respect from everyone on board. Upon return from Sigonella CDR Serrell assumed command of VP-44 and the squadron was relocated, in spring of 1962 to Patuxent River NATC.
In August of 1962 CDR Serrell and his aircrew were sent to Lockheed in Burbank CA. There he experienced his first flight in the Lockheed P3A aircraft. After initial crew training they flew BUNO 14885 back to PAX. Andy and his crew picked up Admiral Koch and flew the new P3A to the Paris air show where they were the only P3 on display. Following that, VP-44 acquired a full complement of P3 aircraft.
In October of 1962 President Kennedy negotiated an agreement with the Soviet Union for removal of all ballistic missiles from the Island of Cuba. There was a front page photo taken in November showing LM-4 flying over a Soviet-Bound freighter which was carrying a number of missiles. CDR Andrew Serrell was in the left seat of LM4 in that photo. In the following year CDR Serrell was instrumental in proving the versatility that became the trademark of the P-3 aircraft for the following 50 years.
In the years following his time in VP-44 Andrew Serrell was promoted to Captain and was assigned to Fleet ops Div.of the office of CNO in Washington, DC, as chief briefing officer to the Chief of Naval Operations. He then served as assistant head of planning requirements branch, Aviation Requirements Division, from July 1963 to July of 1966.
Captain Serrell spent a year at The Industrial college of the armed forces Followed by two years as deputy commander of Fleet Air Wing Five. He achieved his Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Maryland in 1966 and his MBA from George Washington University in 1969.
Captain Serrell concluded his outstanding career as an instructor, then team chief of the seminar school at the Industrial college of the Armed Forces at fort McNair, Washington DC. Andy Serrell retired from the U.S. Navy in 1972. He then established his own flight training school, Ocean City Aircraft, in order to continue his life-long passion for flying.
In 1944 Andy married his High School sweetheart, Beverly Francis (1924-2015). They had four children during 71 years of marriage. Andrew Serrell passed away in January of 2018. He and Beverly are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
Awards: Legion of Merit, Air Medal with two gold stars, American Campaign Medal WWII, Asian Pacific Campaign Medal WWII with one bronze star, Victory Medal, WWII Navy Occupation Medal (Japan), National defense Medal with one Bronze star, Armed Forces Expedition Medal for Cuban Missile Crisis.
Aviator, Educator and Leader He loved Flying, he loved learning and those under and around him knew he loved leading them.
ADCS Gilbert Wood (Woody), USN (Ret.)
Person Nominating: Roger Creamer
ADCS Gilbert Eugene Wood (Woody), USN (Ret.) started flying P-3’s in 1980, and was assigned to VP-48, VP-16, VP-30 and retired after 26 years from NADEP as the Senior Flight Engineer and Assistant P-3 Program Officer.
While in VP-48 Woody flew five flights with Jay Beasley (Lockheed P-3 Test Pilot) and had a dozen simulator periods with him as well.
Woody was the VP-30 Administrative Support Aircraft (ASA) Flag Crew Chief for Admiral Kelso CNO, Admiral Boorda CNO and Admiral Flanagen (CINCLANTFLT). While in the detachment He had the opportunity to fly Ex-President George H.W. Bush, his wife and three Secret Service agents in one of the VIP P-3’s from Kennebunkport, Main to Norfolk, Virginia and back on the 50th anniversary of Bush’s Naval Career. He left the detachment in 1997.
ADCS Wood was a P-3 Instructor Flight Engineer continually from his time in VP-48 until retirement on May 29th 1999. Woody then began his current job as the Site Manager for the civilian P-3 simulator instructors. During his tenure as the site manager, his oversight expanded from eight F/E Instructors teaching 56 hours per day, to a high of 54 Instructors teaching all positions in the P-3 except IFT totaling 345 hours per day. Woody continues as the site manager and has begun expanding into the P-8 simulator instruction field. Woody will continue as site manager until the P-3 sundown is complete.
Woody has over 11,000 hours in the P-3 and an estimated 20,000 hours of flight simulator training hours, and over 37 years of teaching Pilots and Flight Engineers how to operate the P-3. He was the Subject Matter Expert for the Level “D” equivalent upgrade to the flight simulators in Hawaii, Brunswick and Jacksonville.
Prior to 100th anniversary of U.S. Naval Aviation, Woody began a two year restoration project on the NAS Jacksonville static displayed PBY-5A Catalina. He worked on the project for a year by himself using his own time, talent and funds. Others began coming out to help during the second year and VP-5 bought the paint to complete the job. Woody used over 2500 sheets of sandpaper, 11 sanders and one compressor. Woody repaired the broken aileron, damaged by a recent storm, at his home and realized when it was over 30\' long it looked rather odd when he came back through the main gate with it in his pickup truck. During the re-dedication ceremony of the finished PBY, the side number was changed to replicate a PBY that was shot down and lost in the Bering Sea during WWII, dedicating the exhibit to those who lost their lives while flying in this legendary aircraft.
ADCS Wood’s achievements, qualifications and education include:
Navy Commendation, Three Navy Achievement Medals, and Meritorious Service Medal
8251 Flight Engineer
FAA A&P Mechanic with Inspectors Authorization
B.S. in Aviation Management, Southern Illinois University
Master’s in Aeronautical Sciences, Embry-Riddle University.
Plank owner in MPA.
Married 32 years to Jan Wood, two children, son Kenny with wife Amanda and granddaughter Kimber, and daughter Stephanie. Woody and Jan make their home in Middleburg, Florida.
ADCS Wood, USN (ret.) spent his entire military and civilian life, thus far, doing a job to insure others are trained, qualified and in some cases certified, making their voyage in the maritime community a successful meaningful event in their own lives. His tireless character and patriotic bearing doesn’t hide his servant’s heart whether in uniform or out. Woody has had your six for almost 40 years. He deserves the consideration for a place in our Hall of Honor.
Commander Delbert A Olson, USN (Ret.)
Person Nominating: William Klett
Olson, Delbert Austin
Date of loss: 11 January 1968
Remains identified 20 December 2002
Unit: Observation Squadron 67 (VO-67)
DOB: 4 January 1926
Home City of Record: Casselton, ND
Joined Navy: 18 April 1947
Married: 30 April 1958 to Patricia Harris
Daughter: Dana (Olson) Snyder
Son: David Olson
CDR Delbert A. Olson was killed in action on 11 January 1968. He was XO of VO-67 and was on a classified mission in Vietnam when he descended through the clouds and was never seen again. VO-67 was a vital part of project Muscle Shoals. The mission of the project was to detect, classify, hinder and penalize the North Vietnamese Army infiltration into the South. Estimates of 75% loss of VO-67 Aircraft and combat crews by planners fortunately did not occur. Thanks to the Air Force FAC Pilots training and intelligence reports only 3 aircraft and 20 crewmembers were lost. The FAC Pilots taught the VO-67 pilots how to survive the heavily defended air space over the trail. The men of VO-67 were dedicated to the mission they were assigned. After each aircraft shot down with the loss of their close friends and fellow airmen, their resolve became more determined to stop the flow of war supplies down the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Note: As a fresh Ensign I was in VP-2 with CDR (then LCDR) Olson in the early 60\'s.
Commander Rick Payne, USN
Person Nominating: John Thiele
In 2001, LTJG Richard Payne sat in the tube of an EP-3E as its Tactical Evaluator when a
Chinese J-8 Finback moved too close to the mission aircraft in an unsafe intercept. Shearing
the top of the jet in a fatal collision, the EP-3 now known as 511 had a terribly damaged wing
and was forced to consider maneuverability options. LT Shane Osborne made the decision
based on a lack of controllability to force land the plane at an airfield in Hainon Island rather
than risk the crew in an attempted ditch. The nation held its breath as the crew was held for
ten days before being released by the Chinese government after negotiations.
Undaunted, Rick Payne continued his Naval aviation career, serving as a NATOPS instructor
at VP-30 and pursuing a successful series of tours. In 2014 he returned a third time to VQ-1
and in May of 2015 he assumed Command of the squadron. Facing down the legacy of his
history with the EP-3 and a career or exemplary service, Skipper Payne skillfully led the
squadron to a year of over 8,600 mishap free flight hours, while continuously forward
deployed around the world with 4 Combat Reconnainssance Crews at 3 separate detachment sites for all 365 days of the year. Commander Payne\'s was regularly seen visiting the squadron spaces each day and making time to encourage his sailors, and his vision and
dedication to excellence provided a spectacular career of high morale, administrative
excellence, and a 98% mission completion rate.
For these reasons and many more that those
who know the man would agree would not be given proper service with simple words,
Commander Rick Payne is my nomination for the 2017 MPA Hall of Honor.
Captain Joseph Kelly, USN (Ret.)
Person Nominating: Mark Wood
Capt Joseph P. Kelly, although unknown to virtually every Patrol
Squadron Aircrew should share in a large percentage of their success in locating, localizing and tracking Soviet Submarines during the Cold
War. He is known as \"The Father of Sosus\" and served as the manager of Project Jezebel and Project Caeser (The SOSUS Development Project) from 1951-1973 rising from the Rank of Lieutenant to the Rank of Captain in the same billet. In recognition of Captain Kelly’s unparalleled dedication and contributions to undersea surveillance, the Captain Joseph P. Kelly Award was established in 1992 to recognize those officers, enlisted and civilian personnel who have likewise made great contributions to the “System” during their tenure in the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS).
Joseph P. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical
Engineering from Catholic University in 1937. After graduation, he
worked at the Westinghouse Corporation in East Pittsburgh on large
turbine generators and cable transmission systems. He was commissioned 22 October 1943 as an Ensign in the United States Navy and served in the Engineering Volunteer Service. He was indoctrinated in Arizona and trained in the Underwater Harbor Defense School in San Pedro, California.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Kelly was then sent to Panama as Maintenance Officer for magnetic loops and harbor defense mine fields. His work involved cable maintenance and repair and marked his first, but by no means last, encounter with cable ships. He was later sent to Clearfield, Utah, as the officer responsible for making weapons and equipment impervious to tropical climate conditions. As World War II came to a close, he was released from the Navy and returned to Westinghouse , where he worked from 1945-1951.
With the advent of the Korean War, he was called back to active duty as a Lieutenant, assigned to Advanced Space Functional Components. In December 1951, he was interviewed by Admiral Wallen, Chief of the Bureau of Ships. He asked him, “What do you know about Project
Jezebel?” His response was “What’s that?” The Admiral replied, “Welcome Aboard: you’re the new Project Officer.” That was the beginning of Joseph Kelly’s twenty-one year association with Oceanographic Surveillance.
During that period, he rose to the rank of Captain. His outstanding
performance as manager of Projects Jezebel and Caesar and the entire
Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) program was widely recognized both by the Navy and by industry. He received two Navy Commendation Medals, and was three times awarded the Legion of Merit. An award from the Maritime Technology Society for Ocean Science and Technology cited Captain Kelly’s “superb management” of the SOSUS program. Captain Kelly was also a recipient, along with Charles F. Wiebusch of Bell Laboratories, of the first Admiral Charles B. Martell Award, given by the National Security Industrial Association. The citation reads: “For their creative and dedicated leadership of the Project Caesar Navy/Industry Team, the work of which led to the implementation of an undersea surveillance system that has effectively and immeasurably increased the worldwide efficiency of the anti-submarine warfare effort of the United States Navy.”
Following his retirement from the Navy in 1973, Captain Kelly served as Staff Advisor of the Oceanic Division of Westinghouse. He died at
Bethesda Naval Hospital on 6 November 1988.
Admiral Harry Harris, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Harry Harris was born in Japan and reared in Tennessee and Florida. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1978. Graduate education included Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, Oxford, and MIT's Seminar 21 fellowship.
Designated as a naval flight officer (NFO) in 1979, he was first assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 44. Subsequent operational tours included tactical action officer aboard USS Saratoga, operations officer in VP-4, three tours with Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One, director of operations for U.S. 5th Fleet, and director of operations for U.S. Southern Command.
Harris commanded VP-46, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, U.S. 6th Fleet, and Striking and Support Forces NATO. In 2013, he was promoted to admiral and assumed command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He took command of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) May 27, 2015, the 24th commander since USPACOM was established in 1947.
Harris served in every geographic combatant command region and participated in the following major operations; S.S. Achille Lauro terrorist hijacking response, Attain Document III, Earnest Will, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Willing Spirit, and Odyssey Dawn.
Harris’ staff assignments included aide to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, speechwriter for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), three tours on the Navy staff; including Deputy CNO for Communication Networks (OPNAV N6), assistant to the CJCS where he was the chairman’s direct representative to the secretary of state with additional duties as the U.S. roadmap monitor for the Mid-East Peace Process.
He is currently serving as the US Ambassador to the Republic of South Korea.
Harris logged 4,400 flight hours, including over 400 combat hours, in maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft . He is the first Navy flyer from this community to achieve four-star rank. His personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, (two awards), Navy Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), Legions of Merit, Bronze Star (two awards), Air Medal (one strike/flight), and the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. He has been decorated by the governments of France, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Philippines, and Singapore.
Harris received the CIA’s Agency Seal Medal, Navy League’s Stephen Decatur Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Lifetime Achievement Award, Who's Who in Asian American Communities Alliance Foundation Community Spirit Award, and the Asian American Government Executives Network Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the Navy’s “Gray Owl,” the NFO who has held this designation for the longest period, and the “Old Goat,” the longest-serving Naval Academy graduate still on active duty.
CAPT Jack Punches, USN
Person Nominating: Larry Berberich
Jack Punches was a retired naval officer who flew in P-3s and was serving as a contractor in the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. He was killed during the attack on the building. I did not know Jack personally, but knew of him. Everyone who ever mentioned his name to me spoke highly of his professionalism.
Captain Punches was a native of Tower Hill, Illinois and held a B.S. from Missouri University in Civil Engineering, an M.S. in Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and an M.S. from Salve Regina in International Relations.
Designated a Naval Aviator in 1975, Captain Punches received orders to Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16) at NAS Jacksonville flying the P-3C. He completed three deployments before reporting as an instructor pilot to the FRS (VP-30) in Jacksonville, Florida.
In July 1982, Captain Punches returned to sea duty when he reported to VPU-1 (Special Projects) in Brunswick, Maine. After two years of intelligence collection duties, he reported to the Navy War College in November 1984.
Upon graduation from Naval War College in November 1985, he returned to Jacksonville, Florida to Patrol Squadron 49 (VP-49) as the Maintenance Officer. After one operational deployment and a Unitas deployment, he received orders as the OIC NAMTRAGRUDET JAX in July 1988.
After an abbreviated tour, Captain Punches joined the Lifting Eagles of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR-24) in Sigonella, Sicily as the Executive Officer in October 1989. He assumed command of VR-24 in January 1991 and deployed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Storm/ Desert Shield.
In June 1992, he reported to the new United Command USSTRATCOM as Chief, Airborne Operations in Omaha, Nebraska. In August 1995, he proceeded to the Office of Chief of Naval Operations as the Head of Navy Counterdrug and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Navy for Counterdrug Matters at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. In June 1996, he assumed duties of Deputy Director, Operations and Interagency Support Division, under the newly assigned Coast Guard flag officer. CAPT Punches retired from the Navy in July 2000. From July until November 2000, Jack Punches served as Senior Consultant with Blue Stone Consulting of Alexandria, Virginia with principal duties assigned as senior advisor for Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Command in Puerto Rico. In December 2000, Jack Punches returned to the Navy as a senior civilian employee when he was appointed as Deputy Head, Navy Interagency Support Branch in the Pentagon.
Captain Punches is survived by the former Janice Myers of Clifton, Virginia, and their two children, Jennifer and Jeremy; his mother, Mrs. Ruth Godwin of Ramsey, Illinois; and sisters Shirley, Janet, Ilena and Debbie. Also, he is survived by his grandfather, Mr. Floyd Punches and his father, Jack Punches, all of Sullivan, Illinois; and Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Myers of Shelbyville, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his stepfather, Leon Godwin, in March 2001.
His favorite pastime since his retirement was golfing with his son, Jeremy, and helping his daughter, Jennifer, set up her very first apartment. In the Navy, Captain Punches accumulated more than 7,000 flight hours and 50 carrier landings. His personal awards include Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, Navy Achievement, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Unit Commendation and various other service/ campaign medals.
CAPT Chalker W. Brown, USN (Ret.)
Person Nominating: CDR Sean R. Liedman, USN (Ret.)
It is my pleasure to nominate Captain Chalker W. Brown, U.S. Navy (Ret.) for induction into the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Hall of Honor in recognition of his significant contributions in shaping the heritage of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance (MPR) community.
After building a remarkable reputation as an operational Anti-Submarine Warfare expert during the Cold War, Captain Brown played a pivotal role in the strategic transformation of the MPR community after the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War in the early 1990’s. The subsequent quantitative reduction in the Soviet submarine threat, coupled with the maritime surveillance and targeting capability gaps identified during P-3C operations in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 presented a strategic “transform or die” inflection point for the MPR community. In the face of diminishing “Peace Dividend” defense budgets and a rapid reduction in MPR force structure from 24 active and 14 reserve VP squadrons to a force approximately half that size, MPR leadership settled on a vision built around the capabilities of the Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program ("AIP" - later re-designated the Aircraft Improvement Program to reflect its multi-mission capabilities). Captain Brown was THE DRIVING FORCE in actualizing the vision of AIP into the reality of transformational capability on-station; he is often referred to as "the Father of AIP". Upon relinquishing command of Patrol Squadron FORTY-EIGHT (VP-48) in May 1991, Captain Brown served as the Deputy Program Manager in the Maritime Surveillance Program Office (PMA-290) on the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) staff and subsequently as the P-3 Requirements Officer in the Air Warfare Division (OP-05 – later N88) on the Chief of Naval Operations' (OPNAV) staff. During this period, he played a key role in cementing the requirements and contractual arrangements for AIP, along with securing the requisite funding in the challenging fiscal environment of the Post-Cold War. Captain Brown went on to serve as the Commanding Officer of VP-30 and led MPR through the AIP Fleet Introduction process beginning in 1998. The success of his Fleet Introduction program was reflected in the immediate operational successes of AIP during combat operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It is difficult to overstate the impact of Captain Brown's leadership in transforming MPR in the Post-Cold War era and saving the community from sundown due to strategic irrelevance. The core of his strategic vision later became the requirements foundation for the P-8A "Poseidon" Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft and MQ-4C “Triton” Unmanned Aerial System programs.
In addition to his contributions in transforming the MPR Fleet for the Post-Cold War era, Captain Brown also spearheaded an effort to inculcate MPR's rich heritage into the newest generations of MPR warriors as they entered the Fleet through the doors of VP-30. While serving as the CO of VP-30 from 1997-1999, he personally invested himself in acquiring an extensive collection of historical MPR photographs and memorabilia to adorn the passageways of Hangar 30 at NAS Jacksonville and daily remind our MPR students of the tremendous heroism and courage of those who have gone before them. As a testament to his enduring legacy, Captain Brown's heritage preservation efforts are still posted in the passageways of Hangar 30 twenty years later and continue to inspire MPR warriors.
Captain Brown's strategic leadership and personal commitment to honor the heritage of the MPR community warrant induction into the MPR Hall of Honor; doing so would inspire others to further honor the heritage of the MPR community.
Rear Admiral Wycliffe David "Wyc" Toole, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Person Nominating: CAPT Richard Heimerle, USN (Ret)
It is with deep regret I inform you of the passing of Rear Admiral Wycliffe David "Wyc" Toole, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired) on 24 November 2018 at age 91. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 21 April 1944 and served as a Naval Aviator until his retirement in 1977, holding three commands simultaneously; Naval Districts Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. His early career
included sensitive intelligence collection operations, Hurricane Hunter flights, and he was later awarded a Bronze Star medal while in command of USS IWO JIMA (LPH-2) during combat support operations off Vietnam in early 1971.
After attending Howard College in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wyc was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 5 June 1946 and augmented to active duty on 23 May 1947. His first assignment was aboard the destroyer-escort USS PAUL G. BAKER (DE-642) operating in the Far East, before transferring in February 1947 to the destroyer-tender USS KLONDIKE (AD-22.) From July 1947 to January 1948,
he served aboard the USS GEORGE CLYMER (APA-27,) the flagship for Transport Division ELEVEN during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1947. Following his initial afloat tours, he reported to the Naval Intelligence School in Washington DC followed by assignment in November 1948 to the Naval Security Station, Washington DC.
In November 1949, he commenced flight training in Pensacola, earning his wings in August 1951. His first aviation assignment was Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10), followed by duty in March 1954 with Intelligence Special Projects in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. While in Washington DC, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Military Science from the University of Maryland.
In April 1957, he reported to the Persian Gulf as Aide and Flag Lieutenant, to Commander, Middle East Force. This was followed in October 1958 by duty as pilot and Maintenance Officer in Airborne Early Warning Squadron FOUR (VW-4) flying the WC-121N Lockheed Super Constellation in a Hurricane Hunter role, critical in the days before the advent of weather satellites. (The WC-121N replaced the P-2V Neptune in this role after a Neptune was lost with all hands penetrating the eye-wall of Hurricane Janet in 1955.) From October 1960 he served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Assistant to the Assistant Director for Aviation Captains Detail. Following training with Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit, he reported in July 1963 of Patrol Squadron SEVEN as Operations Officer, then Executive Officer, and in May 1965 assumed command of the squadron, converting from the P2V-5F to SP-2H Neptune ASW and patrol aircraft and included operations from Iceland.
In August 1966 he attended the National War College in Washington DC, while earning a Master of Science in International Affairs from George Washington University. He then became Executive Assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy for Manpower in August 1967, and then served as Executive Assistant and Naval Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) for which he was awarded a Legion of Merit.
In December 1969, then Captain Toole assumed command of the "jumboized" oiler USS MISPILLION (AO-105) during combat operations in the Vietnam area, for which MISPILLION was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation. In December 1970, he assumed command of USS IWO JIMA (LPH-2) for additional Vietnam combat support operations. In July 1972, he reported as Commander Amphibious Group ONE, for which he received a Legion of Merit for directing SEVENTH Fleet amphibious operation off Vietnam. On 1 May 1973 he was advanced to Rear Admiral. In July 1973 he became Commander Patrol Force, SEVENTH Fleet, Commander Patrol Wing ONE, and Commander Task Force SEVENTY-TWO.
As a flag officer, he served as the Commander of the Philadelphia Naval Base and was Commandant of the Naval Districts in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston at the same time, retiring in 1977. At some point he authored a mystery novel, several published articles on military affairs and as the short story master suspense-builder of Alfred Hitchcock and Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazines.
In addition to awards listed above, his awards also included the China Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal (Asia Clasp,) two National Defense Service Medals, four Vietnam Service Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device. He also received the Order of the Cloud and Banner from the Republic of China.
Rear Admiral Toole served our nation with distinction in a wide variety of assignments, often dangerous ones from Hurricane Hunter to combat operations along the coast of Vietnam. He was a leader in ASW and Patrol operations as the Soviet Navy became an increasingly larger, more dangerous, and more forward-deployed force in the 1960's, and as Commander of U.S. Patrol forces in the Far East, his aircraft were responsible for detecting and tracking
attempts by North Vietnam to reinforce and resupply communist forces in South Vietnam, as well as dealing with continuing crises in Korea, China, and a resurgent Soviet Pacific Fleet. The Navy and our nation were well served by his dedicated efforts.