Behrens, Jr., William, VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary NEC
112X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Submarine Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1969-1970, CNO - OPNAV
Service Years
1943 - 1973
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by PO1 Jeff Frey (Ace) to remember Behrens, Jr., William, VADM.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Date of Passing
Jan 26, 1986
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
  • VADM Behrens, JR. died of a heart attack on 21 January 1986 at the Bay front Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • VADM Behrens, JR. is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Other Comments:
  • The son of RADM William W. Behrens SR., USN, who served during WWI, WWII, and Korea.

Career Highlights:

  • Credited with conceiving electronic slip rings allowing for continuous, non-reversing trainability of submarine sonar, as well as authoring the first short form code for use in submarine wolfpack communications.
  • Was the Project Manager for the Navy's first underwater telephone (UQC-1) for voice communications between ships and submerged submarines. As well as the Project Officer for the first US scanning sonar (QHB-1)
  • While at the Nuclear Power School, wrote curricula for both officer and enlisted courses and set the requirements for operation of nuclear reactors under rigid guidelines, which were later adopted by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
  • As Special Advisor to the Chief, Naval Reactors (ADM Hyman G. Rickover), he completed nuclear physics study through the doctorate level and qualified as a Nuclear Reactor Operator, License Number 5.
  • Was assigned to the Construction, Commissioning, and Command of the USS Skipjack (USS-585), the first modern submarine(designed from keel up with improved nuclear reactor, fast attack, whale shaped, sail diving planes, high test steel, true submersible,.
  • Instrumental in the establishment of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.
  • Author of US Policy “The Treasure of the Deep Ocean is the Property of all Mankind”
  • Served as Deputy Administrator of NOAA
  • Co-Authored “The Limits to Growth”
Post Naval Career Highlights:
  • Corporate Vice President of J. Watson Noah Associates, Inc., Falls Church, Virginia.
  • Science Advisor for Wheeler Industries, Washington DC.
  • Co-Founder of Services National Bank, Arlington, Virginia.
  • Appointed by the State of Florida to establish the Florida Institute of Oceanography.
  • As a Bioneering Professional Engineer (Nuclear), he authored many professional articles and journals.
  • The Navy Nuclear Power School's Vice Admiral William W. Behrens JR. Award is awarded to the honor graduate of the class.
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  1958-1960, USS Skipjack (SSN-585)


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USS Skipjack (SSN-585) Unit Page


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 USS Skipjack (SSN-585) Details

USS Skipjack (SSN-585)
Hull number SSN-585

Sub-Surface Vessels


Parent Unit


Created/Owned By
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Last Updated: May 14, 2007
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
10 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Skipjack (SSN-585)

Walker, Gene, CWO2, (1947-1970) Warrant Officer
Harrington, Park, CPO, (1956-1978) Petty Officer Third Class
Behrens, William Wohlsen, VADM, (1943-1973) OFF 112X Captain
McKee, Kinnaird Rowe, ADM, (1951-1988) OFF 111X Lieutenant Commander
Shafer, Benjamin, MCPO, (1944-1963) EM EM-3354 Senior Chief Petty Officer
Dorman, Robert, PO1, (1959-1965) ET ET-3353 Petty Officer First Class
Hewitt, Leonard, CPO, (1952-1963) EM EM-3354 Petty Officer First Class
Brockbank, Edward, PO2, (1959-1963) IC IC-9904 Petty Officer Second Class
Crockford, Richard, MCPO, (1959-1981) ET ETR-1501 Petty Officer Third Class
Yure, Dennis, PO1, (1956-1965) IC IC-0000 Petty Officer Third Class

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