Rear Admiral Charles August Curtze
Pearl Harbor Survivor
Curtze graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933 and later earned a master's degree in naval construction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
An accomplished gymnast, he qualified for the 1936 Olympics in Munich, Germany, but security concerns over Adolf Hitler caused the State Department to prevent his participation.
He eventually was commander of the San Francisco Naval Yard, becoming rear admiral.
His naval career ended in 1965 when he retired from his position of Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., in a disagreement over the handling of the Vietnam War.
Rear Admiral Charles August Curtze, who died at 96, had a hand in some major events in American history. He played a key role in salvaging a major ship during the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. That achievement is highlighted in a tribute to Curtze at the Admiral Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall at Erie History Museum. Curtze was working as a fleet safety officer on the light cruiser USS St. Louis when the attack began. He helped guide the cruiser out of the harbor. It was the only major ship to escape that day, and it became the stalwart as the Pacific Fleet was reconstructed after the bombing.
At the pinnacle of his naval career, serving as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., growing frustration over the political abuses during the Vietnam years, led to his retirement in protest with the Chief of the Bureau. He served as commander of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard Curtze when he and his commanding officer, Rear Admiral William A. Brockett, Chief of the Bureau of Ships, resigned their posts in 1965 to protest Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's centralization of the Pentagon.
Museum of Erie County - Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall
Housed in the Erie County History Center at 419 State Street, is the Museum of Erie County which offers a look into the development of the City of Erie and the surrounding area.
The Museum offers a variety of exhibits. The Voices from Erie County History, an exhibit focusing on Erie County rich heritage from pre-settlement to present day, is located in the primary exhibit gallery. Voices is designed to reflect an Erie County history timeline, and includes Erie’s settlement history, industrial history, ethnic history and contemporary history.
Also exhibited in the Museum of Erie County History is the interactive Admiral Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall. Named in honor of distinguished naval officer Admiral Curtze, the Maritime Hall enables visitors to trace Erie’s roots as a naval town, shipbuilding leader and freshwater fishing capital of the world.