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Isaac C. Kidd Jr., 79, Admiral And Expert on Maritime Law
By WOLFGANG SAXON
Published: July 4, 1999
Adm. Isaac Campbell Kidd Jr., who capped a 40-year Navy career by becoming an authority on the Law of the Sea, died on June 27 at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 79.
The cause was prostate cancer, said a spokesman for the John M. Taylor Funeral Home in Annapolis, Md.
Admiral Kidd retired in 1978 as commander in chief of the Atlantic Fleet and supreme commander of NATO forces in the Atlantic. He then put his expertise to work for various public agencies in Washington, lectured widely on maritime law in the United States and abroad and taught a course on the subject at the College of William and Mary.
In 23 years of sea duty, he commanded destroyers, destroyer divisions and Navy fleets in the Mediterranean, the Pacific and the Atlantic.
As chief of materiel at the Pentagon in the early 1970's, he oversaw Navy procurement, logistics and labor relations and supervised 350,000 uniformed and civilian personnel.
The admiral, who was known as Ike, was born into a Navy family in Cleveland and graduated from the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis, in 1942. His father, Rear Adm. Isaac Kidd Sr., was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, aboard his flagship, the battleship Arizona.
As a newly commissioned officer, Ensign Kidd was assigned to convoy duty in the North Atlantic. He later served as a gunnery officer aboard a destroyer in the Allied landings in Sicily and Italy, and finished the war in the Pacific theater.
He received his first destroyer command shortly after the war ended, and then alternated between sea and shore assignments before becoming a full admiral in 1971.
Admiral Kidd led an inquiry into the Israeli attack on the American intelligence ship Liberty in the Mediterranean off the Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, an attack that killed 34 officers and men and wounded 171 others. Israel said the Liberty had been mistaken for an Egyptian ship, but the inquiry concluded that the Israeli attack was unprovoked.
Admiral Kidd was chief of the Naval Materiel Command from 1971 to 1975 before he assumed his final Atlantic and NATO commands. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
He was a member and past president of the International Scuba Association and of the Italian Society of Military Engineers.
Admiral Kidd is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marie Angelique de Golian Kidd; three sons, Isaac I. 3d, of Annapolis, Kevin G., of Portland, Ore., and Christopher A., of Alexandria; three daughters, Marie Angelique de Golian Smith of Bexley, Ohio, Regina I. Wolbarsht of McLean, Va., and Mary C. Littlepage Plumer of Atlanta; 17 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.