|Birth: ||Oct. 29, 1919|
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
|Death: ||Nov. 5, 2010|
John K. Beling, Rear Admiral USN (Retired) died Friday, November 5, 2010 in Reston, VA from consequences of pneumonia. The son of Aelian Arnold and Mabel Jackson Beling, he was born in New York City October 29, 1919 and raised in Harrington Park, New Jersey. He resided in Arlington, VA for more than 40 years.
RADM Beling's naval career spanned 32 years and included service in World War II and the Vietnam War. He is perhaps best known and admired for his duty as Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS FORRESTAL from May 1966 to September 1967. During combat operations off the coast of Vietnam in July 1967, an uncontrolled fire broke out on the flight deck. The fire and subsequent explosions killed 134 men and seriously injured many others. His critical decisions during the disaster and calm assurance of the crew are credited with helping to bring the ship to safe harbor.
He attended Stevens Institute of Technology, earning the degree of Mechanical Engineer in 1941. With the onset of World War II, he entered the Naval Reserve as an Ensign aviation specialist. He resigned his commission in July 1942 to start flight training as a Seaman Second Class. In January 1943, he received his wings and was again commissioned an Ensign. He joined the Pacific Fleet as a carrier-based dive bomber pilot with Bombing Squadron ONE. During the Marianas Campaign his Curtis Helldiver was hit by ground fire over the island of Yap. Badly burned, he parachuted onto the enemy-held island, paddled his raft across the coral reef through breaking waves and reached open sea. Spotted by a seaplane from the cruiser Biloxi, he was rescued under fire. After hospitalization he returned to carrier aviation as a fighter pilot.
After the war, he undertook postgraduate training in aeronautical engineering and in physics, receiving the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Physics from M.I.T. in 1951. Thereafter, his naval career was divided about equally between operational assignments and research, development, test and evaluation. Highlights of technical duty were a tour in the Office of Naval Research, London, which included research at Harwell, a major British nuclear facility, three years in Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, California, duty in Air Development Squadron FIVE in the Mojave Desert, and two tours in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations involving weapons development. On the operational side he served in various ships and aviation squadrons, commanding USS FORRESTAL, USS ALSTEDE and three attack squadrons. His final assignment was as Commander, Iceland Defense Force, a post of interesting military and diplomatic responsibilities during the Cold War. In addition to campaign medals covering service from World War II to Vietnam, he received the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal with two Gold Stars, Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, and Commanders Cross with Star of the Order of the Icelandic Falcon.
After retiring from the Navy in 1973 he directed the Net Technical Assessment Office, which was responsible to the Secretary of Defense for comparing and contrasting U.S. and Soviet weapons systems and programs. In 1977 he joined TRW in McLean, VA as a Strategic Analyst, directing studies until 1985. In retirement he pursued an amateur interest in farming, maintaining a small property in Rockingham County, VA, which he visited frequently with his wife and an ever-growing collection of dogs. He also served as a Director of the USS FORRESTAL Museum, an organization devoted to preserving the ship, which was decommissioned in 1993, as a museum.
He is survived by his wife of sixty years, Evelyn O'Brien Beling of Reston, VA, three children, James J. Beling of Arlington, VA, Nancy A. Gallagher of Sterling, VA and Peter A. Beling of Charlottesville, VA, daughter-in-law Margaret T. Beling, son-in-law Edward F. Gallagher and seven grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents Aelian and Mabel Beling, brother Charles A. Beling, and grandson Samuel J. Beling.
Evelyn M. O'Brien Beling (1921 - 2011)*
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 46 Grave 522
Created by: John Michael
Record added: Nov 11, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61433206
Added: Feb. 16, 2016
Thank you for your service. Rest in peace.|
Added: Nov. 21, 2014
Thank you for your distinguished service to our country, my Navy brother. Rest in peace. Anchors Aweigh!|
MSgt Allan Javellana, USAF (Retired)
Added: Oct. 29, 2014