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Adm Roderick Osgood Middleton
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Birth: Jan. 23, 1919
Pomona Park
Putnam County
Florida, USA
Death: Jan. 10, 1978
Santa Clara County
California, USA


Roderick Osgood Middleton was born in Pomona, Florida on January 23, 1919, son of Mrs. W.S. (Lizzie Williams) Middleton and the late Mr. Middleton. He attended Crescent City and Frostproof High Schools, both in Florida, and the Florida Southern College, Lakeland, before his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, in 1937. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on February 7, 1941, he subsequently advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral, to date from July 1, 1967.

Upon graduation from the Naval Academy he was assigned to the Pre-Commissioning Detail of the USS WASHINGTON, and joined that battleship for navigation and gunnery duties at her commissioning on May 1941. He was on board the WASHINGTON at the outbreak of World War II and during her subsequent service with the British Home Fleet in Russian convoy operations, and with the U.S. Pacific Fleet in operations at Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. While he was serving as a turret officer on board, the WASHINGTON sank the Japanese battleship KIRISHIMA.

After brief training at the Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas, he assisted in fitting out the USS ALASKA's gunnery department, participating in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa Campaigns in that large cruiser. Detached in May 1945, he returned to Annapolis for instruction in Ordnance at the Naval Postgraduate School, completing the course at Harvard University, from which he was awarded the degree of Master of Science in July 1946.

From July 1946 until September 1948 he served as Gunnery Officer of the USS LITTLE ROCK (CL-92), light cruiser. He attended Guided Missile School at Fort Bliss, Texas, and from September 1948 until September 1952 served in the Navy Department, Washington, D.C., attached to the Guided Missile Research and Development Division, Bureau of Ordnance. Duty as Ordnance Officer on the Staff of Commander Service Squadron THREE took him to the Far East, and he received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon and Combat "V", for service in that assignment during the Korean hostilities.

Returning to the United States in April 1954, he attended Anti-Submarine Warfare School at the Naval Station, Key West, Florida during June and July, then served briefly on the Staff of Commander Destroyers, Atlantic, as Prospective Commanding Officer, before assuming command, in September 1954, of the USS BENHAM (DD-796). When detached early in 1956, he reported to Naval Office, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Huntsville, Alabama, and in January 1957 was ordered to head the Missile Branch, Special Projects Office, Bureau of Ordnance (later Bureau of Naval Weapons). He was awarded the Legion of Merit on January 5, 1961 by the Secretary of the Navy for his work on the POLARIS missile.

In January 1961 he was transferred to duty as Commander Destroyer Division ONE HUNDRED FORTY TWO, and in June 1962 was assigned as Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Carrier Division FOURTEEN. He assumed command of the USS OBSERVATION ISLAND (EAG-154) in August 1962 and in September 1964 became Commanding Officer of the USS LITTLE ROCK (CLG-4). In October 1965 he reported as Apollo Mission Director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and in August 1967 became Manager of the Apollo Program, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, Cape Kennedy, Florida. As such, he developed plans and monitored their implementation, which resulted in the first manned lunar landing in July 1969. "For exceptionally meritorious service from August 1967 to October 1969..." he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit.

He reported as Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla TWELVE in October 1969 and Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Representative, Mayport, Florida. In that capacity he supervised the overall readiness of the Flotilla, the administration of all Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet matters in the Florida area and planned for and proposed a new weapons system. For exceptionally meritorious service in that assignment, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Third Legion of Merit. In December 1970 he reported as Military Assistant to the Deputy Director (Strategic and Space Systems), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering), Washington, D.C. :For exceptionally meritorious conduct..." in that capacity, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Legion of Merit. He served as such until relieved of active duty pending his retirement, effective May 1, 1972.

In addition to the Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars and the Commendation Ribbon with Combat "V", Rear Admiral Middleton has the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four operation stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; China Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also holds the Expert Rifleman Medal.

Rear Admiral Middleton is married to the former Miss Ethel Bellows of Norfolk, Virginia. They have three children, Mrs. Rodney Anne Middleton Beale, Roderick Osgood Middleton, Jr; and Stephanie Adele Middleton. His official residence is Pomona Park, Florida.

Rear Admiral Middleton's hobby is oil painting.


Family links: 
  William Spencer Middleton (1874 - 1951)
  Lizzie Aileen Williams Middleton (1883 - 1967)
  Ethel Adele Bellows Middleton (1921 - 2010)
  Roderick Osgood Middleton (1946 - 1968)*
  William Sylvester Middleton (1904 - 1969)*
  Clyde Downing Middleton (1906 - 1985)*
  Aileen Spencer Middleton Swail (1911 - 1987)*
  Elwyn Linton Middleton (1914 - 1990)*
  Roderick Osgood Middleton (1919 - 1978)
  David Webster Middleton (1921 - 1983)*
*Calculated relationship
Eden Cemetery
Crescent City
Putnam County
Florida, USA
Maintained by: Tony Middleton
Originally Created by: Rose Smith Boyd
Record added: Apr 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35953498
Adm Roderick Osgood Middleton
Added by: Tony Middleton
Adm Roderick Osgood Middleton
Added by: Rose Smith Boyd
Adm Roderick Osgood Middleton
Added by: Rose Smith Boyd
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- Rose Smith Boyd
 Added: Apr. 16, 2009

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