Duncan, Charles, ADM

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Last Rank
Primary Unit
1970-1972, USCINCLANT
Service Years
1933 - 1972

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Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Nicholasville, KY

Date of Passing
Jun 24, 1994
Location of Interment
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He began his naval career at age 17 as a Naval Academy midshipman. Upon graduation in 1933, he was commissioned as Ensign, U.S. Navy, and served for five years aboard the cruiser,USS Salt Lake City, in the Pacific. He went to the Atlantic in 1938 to serve in several capacities aboard the destroyer Schenck (DD-159). He continued serving at sea as World War II approached, assigned to the staff of Commander Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet, at the time that command was formed in June, 1940. It was during that period, while turning over 50 destroyers to the British, that he met his wife, Sheila Taylor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, whom he married the following summer of 1941 in Bermuda.

He commissioned the destroyer Hutchins as executive officer in the Atlantic in 1942. After a short period in the Atlantic, he went with her to the Pacific, taking part in combat in the Aleutians and the South Pacific. He then commanded the destroyer Wilson, and saw action in the South and Central Pacific areas. He was awarded the Navy Commendation medal with Combat "V," and a Gold Star with Combat "V" in lieu of a second award.

He had three tours of duty in the Bureau of Personnel in Washington. He was Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Plans and Programs (1962-64); Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel (1953-55), and Director of Naval Officer Procurement, Bureau of Naval Personnel (1944-46). More than 100,000 officers were commissioned while he held the latter position. During that period he also served as a member of the Navy's "Holloway Board," to "study the form, system, and method of education of Naval officers". The conclusions and recommendations of this board established the modern NROTC and provided also for direct commission of college graduates at the Officer Candidate School.

He held a sequence of three major Atlantic Fleet Commands: the U.S. Second Fleet and NATO's Striking Fleet Atlantic (1967-68); the Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Force (promoted to Vice Admiral) (1967-68), and the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser-Destroyer Force (1964-65). For his service as Commander Amphibious Force, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

He was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower and Naval Reserve) and the Chief of Naval Personnel from April 1968 to August 1970. During this period he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal "for exceptionally meritorious service."

He became NATO's seventh Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic on September 30, 1970, and at the same time became Commander in Chief Atlantic (the United States Unified Command) and the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He retired from the U.S. Navy on November 1, 1972, in the grade of Admiral.

His postwar career involved assignments as a battleship executive officer, commanding officer of an amphibious ship, command of a destroyer division, and operations officer of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

He had been promoted to Rear Admiral in the summer of 1958, and immediately assigned as Commander Amphibious Group One (1958-59) and later as Commander Amphibious Training Command, Pacific Fleet (1959-61). In January 1961 he was assigned as Commander, U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay, Philippines. During that tour he was President of a Philippines charitable association and also was Vice President of the Philippines Tubercular Association. He became an "adopted son" of the Provinces of Bataan and Zambales.

Upon retirement he moved to the country near Leesburg, Virginia, living there until January 1977, and becoming involved with local volunteer work. He continued to serve as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Board on Education and Training, and as a member of the Board of Advisors to the President, U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He now is a resident of Coronado, California.

In the spring of 1974, he was installed in Athens as honorary President of the Greek National Organization Encouraging NATO's Aims.

As Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, where he conducted the largest NATO naval exercises held at that time, he received the Award of the Grand Cross of the Order of Oranje Nassau with Swords from Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, and the Grand Cross of the Order of AVIS (the oldest military order) from Portugal.

In 1981, he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Museum of Art. In 1984, he was elected as a member of France's Acadmie de Marine.

Member of the Chevy Chase Club, and an Episcopalian, he also was named a Kentucky Colonel. He maintained his ties with Lexington, having moved to the city at age nine and attending University High School, Kavanaugh Preparatory School, and the University, before entering the Naval Academy. His mother was a full professor at UK.

Charles Kenney Duncan was named to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February 1965.

Information posted in the USS SLC Association Newsletter, 1996-1997
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 Duty Stations
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)US NavyBureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)COMPHIBGRU 1 (CPG 1)
Commander Naval Amphibious Forces Atlalntic (COMPHIBLANT)Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)HQ SACT (Formerly SACLANT)USCINCLANT
  1929-1933, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1933-1938, USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)
  1938-1940, USS Schenck (DD-159)
  1942-1943, USS Hutchins (DD-476)
  1943-1944, USS Wilson (DD-408)
  1944-1946, Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)
  1953-1955, Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)
  1958-1959, COMPHIBGRU 1 (CPG 1)
  1959-1961, Commander Amphibious Training Pacific (COMPHIBTRA PAC)
  1961-1962, NAVSTA Subic Bay, PI
  1962-1964, Chief of Naval Personnel (CHNAVPERS)
  1964-1965, COMCRUDESLANT
  1965-1967, COMSECONDFLT
  1967-1968, Commander Naval Amphibious Forces Atlalntic (COMPHIBLANT)
  1968-1970, Chief of Naval Personnel (CHNAVPERS)
  1970-1972, Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)
  1970-1972, HQ SACT (Formerly SACLANT)
  1970-1972, USCINCLANT
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyUniversity of Kentucky
  1929-1933, United States Naval Academy
  1929-1929, University of Kentucky
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