Robert B. Pirie

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Robert Burns Pirie
Robert B. Pirie.jpg
Born(1905-04-18)April 18, 1905
Wymore, Nebraska
DiedJanuary 9, 1990(1990-01-09) (aged 84)
Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service1926–1962
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Vice admiral
Commands heldSicily (CVE-118)
Coral Sea (CV-43)
U.S. Second Fleet
NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic
Battles/warsWorld War II
Cold War
AwardsNavy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal
RelationsRobert B. Pirie Jr.

Robert Burns Pirie (18 April 1905 – 9 January 1990) was a vice admiral in the United States Navy. He was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for air when he retired in 1962.[1]


A native of Wymore, Nebraska, he was a 1926 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He joined the Navy's air arm in 1928. In World War II he was executive officer of the carrier Mission Bay (CVE-59) in the Atlantic.[1]

After the war he headed the aviation department at the Naval Academy and commanded two carriers, the Sicily (CVE-118) and the Coral Sea (CV-43), before assuming division and fleet commands. He was named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations in 1958, serving until his retirement.[1]

In the 1950s, he was allowed to wear facial hair, unusual then, reportedly because of a skin condition. It was a distinguished-looking Van Dyke beard.[2]

While serving as Deputy Chief of Navy Operation (Air) 1958-1962 and was credited with maintaining the Navy’s air traffic controller program, following the enactment of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. The Air Traffic Controller of the Year award, named in honor of Vice Adm. Robert B. Pirie, is presented for outstanding contributions to operational readiness and safety applied by individual Navy and Marine Corps Air Traffic Controller.[1]

After he left the Navy he held management positions with the Aerojet General Corporation. He was a former president of the Naval Academy Foundation and the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.[1] He was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in 1986.


Vice Admiral Robert Burns Pirie received a lot of high military decorations for valor or for distinguished service. His military awards included Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Gold Star or Bronze Star Medal.[3] Here is his ribbon bar:

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Naval Aviator Badge
1st Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Silver Star Legion of Merit with Gold Star and "V" Device Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device
3rd Row Navy Presidential Unit Citation with four stars American Defense Service Medal with Atlantic Clasp Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver service star
4th Row American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal
5th Row Navy Occupation Service Medal National Defense Service Medal with one service star Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars


  1. ^ a b c d e "Robert Pirie, 84, Dies - Retired Vice Admiral". 12 January 1990. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Valor awards for Robert Burns Pirie - Hall of Valor". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2012-11-28.