Coontz, Robert Edward, ADM

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1925-1928, NAVSTA Norfolk, VA

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This Military Service Page was created/owned by John (JED) Dupee (Harbor Pilot), BMC to remember Coontz, Robert Edward (2nd CNO), ADM.

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Date of Passing
Jan 26, 1935
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Last Known Activity
From October 1925 until his retirement in June 1928, Coontz served as Commandant of the Fifth Naval District, reverting to the rank of Rear Admiral. He remained active after retirement until suffering a series of heart attacks in 1934, dying shortly after.
Other Comments:
Robert Edward Coontz (11 June 1864 - 26 January 1935) was an admiral in the United States Navy, who sailed with the Great White Fleet and served as the second Chief of Naval Operations.

Born in Hannibal, Missouri, Coontz graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1885 and served at the Navy Department and in several ships over the next decade, among them vessels stationed in Alaskan waters and the Great Lakes. He returned to the Navy Department late in 1894 to work on updating officer records, then was assigned to the cruiser Philadelphia, the Coast Survey and the cruiser Charleston. His time in the latter included Spanish-American War service in the Pacific. Following further duty afloat and ashore, Coontz, then a Lieutenant Commander, was Executive Officer of the battleship Nebraska during the 1907-1909 world cruise of the "Great White Fleet".

After promotion to Commander in 1909, Coontz was Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1912-14, he was Governor of Guam. Captain Coontz then served as Commanding Officer of the battleship Georgia, followed by duty as Commandant of the Puget Sound Navy Yard and the 13th Naval District. He held those positions until late in 1918. Following a brief period as acting Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral Coontz assumed command of a battleship division in the Atlantic.

Coontz had just been assigned to the Pacific Fleet in September 1919 when he was selected to become Chief of Naval Operations, succeeding Admiral William S. Benson. Reportedly, his term as CNO was marked by unceasing pressure for economy, Congressional unhappiness over base closings, diplomatic efforts to achieve naval limitations, internal Navy Department conflicts over organization and the best ways to manage new technologies, plus the naval fallout of the Teapot Dome scandal. While dealing with these problems, Admiral Coontz established a unified United States Fleet and strengthened the CNO's position within the Navy Department.

Relieved as CNO in mid-1923 by Admiral Edward W. Eberle, Coontz was able to return to sea as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet. In 1925, he led the fleet on a trans-Pacific visit to New Zealand and Australia, the first massed deployment of American battleships since the "Great White Fleet" cruise nearly two decades earlier and a valuable demonstration of their strategic reach.

USS Coontz (DLG-9, later DDG-40) and USS Admiral R. E. Coontz (AP-122) were named in his honor.
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US NavyPuget Sound Navy YardCNO - OPNAVNAVSTA Norfolk, VA
  1896-1897, USS Charleston (C-2)
  1896-1898, USS PHILADELPHIA (C-4)
  1907-1909, USS Nebraska (BB-14)
  1913-1914, USS Georgia (BB-15)
  1915-1918, Puget Sound Navy Yard
  1919-1925, CNO - OPNAV
  1925-1928, NAVSTA Norfolk, VA
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1932-1935, United States Naval Academy
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