Pride, Alfred Melville, ADM

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Last Rank
Primary Unit
1956-1959, Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
Service Years
1917 - 1959

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael D. Withers (Mike), OSCS to remember Pride, Alfred Melville, ADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Somerville, MA
Last Address
Arnold, MD

Date of Passing
Dec 24, 1988
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
30 369-RH

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Naval Order of the United StatesUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, Naval Order of the United States
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Admiral Pride was a pioneer naval aviator whose military career spanned World Wars I and II, who distinguished himself during World War II as an aircraft carrier commander. After completing high school, he studied engineering at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts for two years before dropping out in 1917 to enlist in the US Navy during World War I. He served first as a machinist's mate in the Naval Reserve, but was soon given the chance to receive flight training and gain a commission as an ensign. During the latter part of World War I, he was sent to France, where he served briefly. In 1921 he transferred to the regular Navy and served on the battleship USS Arizona. In 1922 he served on the USS Langley, a converted coaling ship that became the Navy's first aircraft carrier, and in 1922 he was one of the first pilots to land an aircraft on the USS Langley. He also took part in the fitting out of the aircraft carriers USS Saratoga and USS Lexington, as a member of their original crews. While serving on the USS Langley he devised an arresting gear to prevent landing aircraft from going over the end of the deck. Impressed with his inventive genius, the US Navy sent him to study aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1931 he became the first person to land an autogiro (now called a helicopter) on an aircraft carrier. From 1934 to 1936 he headed the Flight Test Section at Naval Air Station Anacostia, Washington DC, which at that time the Navy's center for aircraft testing. While there, an aircraft he was piloting crashed and he was severely injured and the doctors wanted to amputate his left leg but he refused. The injury left him with a permanent limp, but he resumed flying. After the US entry into World War II, he served at the rank of captain as the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Belleau Wood in the South Pacific, conducting air strikes against the Japanese in the major campaigns from Tarawa, Wake and Makin Islands to Kwajalein, Truk, Saipan and Tinian. He was then promoted to the rank of rear admiral and became Commandant, 14th Naval District, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, then transferring to Fleet jobs, including command of Carrier Division 6 and Carrier Division 4. After the war, he held important positions relating to Naval Aviation's technical development. From 1947 to 1951 he served as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington DC, the Navy's material organization for aviation, and from 1952 to 1953 he commanded the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland. In 1953 he returned to the Pacific Theater, when he received promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral, and became the Commander of the US 7th Fleet from December 1953 until December 1955, and the first Commander of the US Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC). During this time, he was featured on the cover of the Time magazine (February 7, 1955 issue). In 1956 he became Commander, Air Forces, Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and retired in this position in 1959 at the rank of vice admiral, with 42 years of continuous military service. Among his military decorations and awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with gold star, the Legion of Merit, the World War II Victory Medal, and the World War I Victory 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"). In 1961 he was retroactively designated the ninth recipient of the Gray Eagle Award, as the most senior active naval aviator from July 1959 until his retirement later that year. His other honors include being a Companion of the Naval Order of the US and a member of the National Museum of Naval Aviation's Hall of Honor. The US Navy Department also established the Admiral Alfred M. Pride Frigate ASW Readiness Award, for excellence in Anti-Submarine Warfare in the Navy's surface force. He died of a heart attack at the age of 91.

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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Flight Officer Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Naval Reserve Forces CommandUS NavyUSS Arizona (BB-39)NAS Norfolk
USS Langley (CV-1)USS Lexington (CV-2)VF-3B TophattersNAS Anacostia
USS Saratoga (CV-3)Naval Air Test Center (NATC) PAX, NAS Patuxent River (NASPAX)COMSEVENTHFLTUS-Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC)
Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
  1917-1918, MM-0000, Naval Reserve Forces Command
  1919-1919, 3rd Naval District
  1920-1920, USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
  1920-1921, USS Arizona (BB-39)
  1921-1921, NAS Norfolk
  1922-1924, USS Langley (CV-1)
  1926-1929, USS Lexington (CV-2)
  1929-1932, NAS Norfolk
  1932-1934, VF-3B Tophatters
  1934-1936, NAS Anacostia
  1936-1936, Bureau of Aeronautics
  1937-1938, USS Wright (AV-1)
  1940-1942, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1943-1944, USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24)
  1944-1945, 14th Naval District/COMNAVBASE Pearl Harbor
  1947-1951, Bureau of Aeronautics
  1952-1953, Naval Air Test Center (NATC) PAX, NAS Patuxent River (NASPAX)
  1953-1955, COMSEVENTHFLT
  1955-1956, US-Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC)
  1956-1959, Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 World War I
  1943-1943 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Air Strikes on Marcus and Wake Islands
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation/Battle of Tarawa
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Majuro (Operation Flintlock)
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Kwajalein Atoll (Operation Flintlock)
  1944-1944 Western Caroline Islands Operation/Battle for Ulithi Atoll
  1944-1944 Western Caroline Islands Operation/Battle of Peleliu
 Colleges Attended 
Tufts UniversityUnited States Naval AcademyMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  1915-1917, Tufts University
  1924-1925, United States Naval Academy
  1925-1926, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Sep 17, 1918, Commissioned as Ensign
  Aug 03, 1920, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Jul 01, 1931, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Sep 23, 1931, XOP-11
  Jun 23, 1938, Promoted to Commander
  Jun 16, 1942, Promoted to Captain
  Jul 05, 1944, Promoted to Rear Admiral
  Dec 01, 1953, Promoted to Vice Admiral
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