Ralph Earle (American naval officer)
Earle in 1919
May 3, 1874|
|Died||February 13, 1939
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1896–1927|
|Unit||Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance|
World War I
|Awards||Commendations from the President|
Ralph Earle (3 May 1874 – 13 February 1939) served the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War and World War I. He was the Chief, Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) and retired as a rear admiral in 1927.
While on board USS Missouri, he won commendations from the President and Secretary of the Navy for his conduct at the time of a disastrous turret explosion. He commanded USS Dolphin at the U.S. occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, and later commanded Connecticut.
Ashore, Earle had duty at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Proving Ground. An expert on guns and explosives, he was made Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance shortly before the United States entered World War I.
Under his administration the North Sea mine barrage was conceived and executed using a new type of mine, and the plan of mounting naval 14-inch guns on railway cars for use as long-range artillery on the Western Front, was evolved and carried out.
After his retirement in 1925, Rear Admiral Earle served as president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute until his death. Earle, well loved as WPI's sixth president implemented a five-year plan which brought the students a swimming pool and a new hall named after R. Sanford Riley among other needed campus improvements. He also served as president of the Worcester Economic Club in 1931.
Honored in ship naming
The Naval Weapons Station Earle (New Jersey) was also named (in 1943) to honor the admiral because of his strong association with ordnance projects.
- "Stroke Is Fatal To Admiral Earle. Head of Worcester Polytechnic Institute Collapses While Addressing Students. Ordnance Chief In War. He Planned the North Sea Mine Field and Originated 14-inch Nasal Rail Batteries". New York Times. Associated Press. February 14, 1939.
- "Admiral Earle May Head School". New York Times. September 26, 1924.
- "Earle Heads W.P.I. New President Emphasizes the Problem of Living". New York Times. October 23, 1925.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo of grave of Ralph Earle in Friends Cemetery Leceister, MA
- Earle Bridge at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
- Photo of A. Atwater Kent receiving honorary degree from WPI President Ralph Earle
- Worcester Engineering Society Collection with information on candidates for the Admiral Ralph Earle Award
- A Bright Chapter within Two Towers: The Story of Worcester Tech by Mildred McClary Tymeson about Earle's Presidency at WPI
- Tech Presidents
- Diaries of Ruth Earle Southwick 1921-1925, ISBN 9781512128819. Ruth Earle Southwick was Ralph Earle's only sister.