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ADM James Fife, Jr

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ADM James Fife, Jr

  • Birth 22 Jan 1897 Reno, Washoe County, Nevada, USA
  • Death 1 Nov 1975 Stonington, New London County, Connecticut, USA
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Section 11, Site 195-2
  • Memorial ID 6800842

US Navy Admiral. His military career spanned World Wars I and II, primarily serving in submarine duty. After graduating from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1918, he briefly served in World War I. During the period between World Wars I and II, he served aboard the submarines USS S-3 and USS R-22, and commanded the submarines USS N-7, USS R-19, and USS R-18. In addition to his service on submarines, he also served on the battleship USS Idaho and the destroyers USS Leary and USS Hatfield from 1923 until May 1935. When the US entered World War II in December 1941, he was serving as Chief of Staff of Submarine Squadron 20, part of the Asiatic Fleet, in the Philippine Islands. He then served as Chief of Staff to Admiral T.C. Hart until May 1942. About this time he and Captain J. E. Wilkes, his former squadron commander, were instrumental in identifying several deficiencies of the submarine force, especially the difficulties with the Mark 14 torpedo and the Hooven-Owens-Rentschler diesel engine. He later conducted some of the experiments that isolated the Mark 14 torpedo's defective components in cooperation with Rear Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, then Commander, Submarines, Southwest Pacific. In late 1942 he served with General Douglas MacArthur as the representative of Admiral A.S. Carpender during the Buna campaign in New Guinea, followed by the commander of the submarines of Task Force 42 (later Task Force 72) in Brisbane, Australia, where he planned and directed his submarines' missions. In 1944 he returned to the US to serve as a war planner on the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King in Washington DC. At the close of 1944, he returned to Australia as Commander, Submarines, Seventh Fleet, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Western Australia, and Commander Task Force 71. From April 1947 until 1950, he commanded the Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, followed by duty as Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Operations), Washington DC. His final assignment was as the US Naval Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, under British Admiral Louis Mountbatten of the Royal Navy, and he retired in that position in August 1955, with 37 years of continuous military service. Among his military decorations and awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with two gold stars, the Air Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. He was then promoted to the rank of admiral on the retired list for having been especially commended in combat in accordance with an Act of Congress passed on March 4, 1925 and February 23, 1942 (colloquially known as a "tombstone promotion"). After his military retirement, he served as the Director of Mystic Seaport museum in Stonington, Connecticut. He died in Stonington, Connecticut at the age of 78. Fife Hall, a navigation training facility at Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut is named in his honor, as well as the destroyer USS Fife, commissioned in May 1980 and decommissioned in 2003.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill Heneage
  • Added: 24 Sep 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6800842
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for ADM James Fife, Jr (22 Jan 1897–1 Nov 1975), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6800842, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .