Kelso II, Frank Benton, ADM

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
112X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Submarine Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1990-1994, 112X, CNO - OPNAV
Service Years
1956 - 1994
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

18 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Kelso II, Frank Benton, ADM USN(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Fayetteville, Tennessee
To be buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Fayetteville, Tennessee

Date of Passing
Jun 23, 2013
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Joint Chiefs of Staff US European Command Joint Forces Command US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
 Chief of Naval Operations 
July 1, 1990 - Apr. 23, 1994

Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, a native of Fayetteville, Ten., attended public school and the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952. Following graduation in 1956, he served in the cargo ship USS Oglethorp (AKA 100) before attending Submarine School in 1958.
On completion of training, he was assigned to the submarine USS Sabalo (SS 302) before returning to Submarine School for nuclear power training in January 1960. He then served one year in the Nuclear Power Department at the school. Subsequent tours included the precommissioning crew of USS Pollack (SSN 603), Engineering Officer aboard USS Daniel Webster (SSBN 626) and Executive Officer of USS Sculpin (SSN 590).
From January 1969 to August 1971, he served as Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Md. Following tours included Commanding Officer, USS Finback (SSN 670); Staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; and Commanding Officer, USS Bluefish (SSN 675). Admiral Kelso was then assigned as Executive Assistant to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic from September 1975 to July 1977.
He served as Commander, Submarine Squadron SEVEN until reporting as Division Director, Submarine Distribution Division in the Naval Military Personnel Command, and Section Head of the Submarine Programs Section in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel and Training) in September 1978. He was selected for promotion to the rank of rear admiral in February 1980.
Upon selection for flag rank, Admiral Kelso served as Director, Strategic Submarine Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and then was assigned as Director, Office of Program Appraisal, Office of the Secretary of the Navy. On February 8, 1985, Admiral Kelso became Commander Sixth Fleet and NATO Commander Naval Striking Force and Support Forces Southern Europe. On June 30, 1986, Admiral Kelso was promoted to admiral and assumed the duties of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Admiral Kelso became Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command on November 22, 1988. He became the Navy's 24th Chief of Naval Operations on June 29, 1990.
Admiral Kelso has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), Legion of Merit (four awards), Meritorious Service, Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals.
Other Comments:
Retired Navy Adm. Frank Benton Kelso II, the 24th Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 1956, died Sunday.

Kelso, 79, passed away after complications from a fall that resulted in a severe head injury. The Fayetteville, Tenn., native had been in Norfolk, Va., for his grandson's high school graduation, according to the Alabama news site His grandson has an appointment to the Naval Academy, the site reported.

Kelso, born July 11, 1933, served as the Navy's CNO from 1990 to 1994. He is best remembered for leading the Navy during Operation Desert Shield in 1990 and Operation Desert Storm the following year.

Also during his tenure as CNO, he supported adding women to combat aviation jobs.

But Kelso came under intense scrutiny following the 35th Annual Tailhook Association Symposium in 1991 in Las Vegas. In the months after the meeting, more than 100 aviators who attended were accused of sexual harassing hotel guests and other sexual misconduct.

The scandal forced Secretary of the Navy Lawrence Garrett to resign. Kelso was forced to retire two months early due to pressure that stemmed from the scandal as well. An attempt at reducing Kelso's rank from full admiral to rear admiral failed, and he was allowed to retire at full rank.

After his retirement, Kelso remained active with the Navy and the Naval Academy. He served as a senior fellow at what is now the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk. According to the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, he donated many personal items to the Lincoln County Museum in Tennessee for permanent display.

He served as a trustee emeritus of the Naval Academy Foundation Athletic and Scholarship Division. He was the Reaffirmation Day speaker for the Class of 2006 and the Alumni Association described him as a “tireless fundraiser for his class."

His decorations include Defense, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit and numerous foreign awards.

Kelso is survived by his second wife, Georgeanna, and four children: Dr. Thomas B. Kelso, of Southport, N.C.; Capt. Robert D. Kelso, of Chesapeake, Va.; Mary Kelso Kearns, of Honolulu, Hawaii; and, Kerry L. Kelso, of Richmond, Va.

Both of Kelso's sons served in the Navy. Both of his daughters married military officers, one Navy, one Marines.

Alumni Association spokesman Skid Heyworth said Kelso will be buried in the historic Rose Hill Cemetary in Fayetteville next to his first wife, Landess, whom he was married to for 56 years before her passing in July 2012.

Alumni Association President Byron Marchant, of the Class of 1978, said the group is "deeply saddened" by Kelso's passing.

“Adm. Kelso was a great supporter of the United States, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Naval Academy during his long distinguished life," Marchant said in a statement. "We will miss him and send our deepest sympathies to his family, classmates, and fellow Distinguished Graduates."
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Submarine Officer Badge
SSBN Deterrent Patrol Badge - 7 Patrols

 Duty Stations/ Advancement Schools
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS Oglethorpe (AKA-100)Submarine School Officers BasicUSS Sabalo (SS-302)
Nuclear Power School (Staff), Bainbridge, MD, Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC)USS Pollack (SSN-603)USS Daniel Webster (SSBN-626)USS Sculpin (SSN-590)
NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MDUSS Finback (SSN-670)Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet  (COMLANTFLT)USS Bluefish (SSN-675)
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Sixth Fleet (CNE-C6F)US Atlantic Command (USACOM)
  1952-1956, OC, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1956-1958, 110X, USS Oglethorpe (AKA-100)
  1958-1958, 117X, Submarine School Officers Basic
  1958-1960, 112X, USS Sabalo (SS-302)
  1960-1960, 112X, Nuclear Power School (Staff), Bainbridge, MD, Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC)
  1960-1962, 112X, USS Pollack (SSN-603)
  1963-1966, 112X, USS Daniel Webster (SSBN-626)
  1967-1969, 112X, USS Sculpin (SSN-590)
  1969-1971, 112X, NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MD
  1971-1972, 112X, USS Finback (SSN-670)
  1972-1973, 112X, Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMLANTFLT)
  1973-1975, 112X, USS Bluefish (SSN-675)
  1975-1977, 112X, Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT)
  1977-1978, 112X, COMSUBRON 7, COMSUBPAC
  1978-1980, 112X, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, CNO - OPNAV
  1980-1981, 112X, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, CNO - OPNAV
  1982-1985, 112X, Office of Program and Process Assessment (OPPA), Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
  1985-1986, 112X, Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Sixth Fleet (CNE-C6F)
  1985-1986, 112X, Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Sixth Fleet (CNE-C6F)
  1986-1988, 000X, Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT)
  1988-1990, 112X, US Atlantic Command (USACOM)
  1990-1994, 112X, CNO - OPNAV
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyUniversity of the South
  1952-1956, United States Naval Academy
  1952-1952, University of the South
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