Patrick N. L. Bellinger
|Patrick Nieson Lynch Bellinger|
|Born||October 8, 1885
Cheraw, South Carolina
|Died||May 30, 1962
Clifton Forge, Virginia
|Place of burial||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1907–1947|
|Battles/wars||Occupation of Veracruz
World War I
World War II
Distinguished Service Medal
|Relations||Patrick Neeson Lynch, 3rd Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina (grand-uncle)|
He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina and went to the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1907. After first trying submarines he soon transferred to aviation. He was part of the first group of US Naval aviators trained and was rated as Naval Aviator #4.
In 1914, during the United States occupation of Veracruz, while flying off the USS Mississippi, Bellinger became the first American to encounter enemy fire in an airplane, and was recommended for the Medal of Honor. On 13 June 1913 he set an altitude record when he flew a Curtiss seaplane to the height of 6,200 feet.
Bellinger was also commander of the squadron of seaplanes to make the first trans-Atlantic flight. On May 8, 1919, NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4 took off from Naval Air Station Rockaway in Long Island, New York. Bellinger's plane, the NC-1 sank and he and his crew transferred to the Greek steamer Ionia and soon after to the USS Gridley. For his leadership in the flight, he was awarded the Navy Cross. By 1940 he had advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral in command of Patrol Wing 2 based in Honolulu. He was the senior Naval Air Commander present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor when the Japanese launched their "day of infamy" attack on December 7, 1941. and sent out the first radio alert: "Air raid. Pearl Harbor - this is no drill."
In May 1942 he took command of all patrol wings in the Pacific, and in August became Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet, Admiral Ernest J. King. In March 1943, he was given command of the Atlantic Fleet Air Force. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in October 1943.
Awards and decorations
As well as the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Medal, Bellinger's foreign decorations include the Officer of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, from Italy; the Military Order of the Tower and Sword, from Portugal; and the Légion d'honneur and Croix de Guerre, from France.
- "Patrick Nieson Lynch Bellinger, Vice Admiral, United States Navy". arlingtoncemetery.net. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
- Coletta, Paolo Enrico. Patrick N.L. Bellinger and U.S. Naval Aviation. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1987. ISBN 0-8191-6534-4