Robert F. Lopez

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Robert Files Lopez (March 31, 1857 – September 20, 1936) was an officer in the United States Navy.[1] He entered Annapolis with the Class of 1879, and he became the first Hispanic-American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy.


Lopez served as an ensign aboard the USS Thetis during a voyage of exploration around Alaska in 1888–89.[2] Lopez Point on Herschel Island was named in his honor by the commander of Thetis, Charles Stockton.[3]

The highlight of his 32-year naval career, was his service under Admiral Dewey's command at the first major engagement of the Spanish–American War, the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898.[1]

Shortly after the war ended, Lopez became a plankowner of the torpedo boat USS Rowan (TB-8) when she was commissioned on 1 April 1899.

Following his assignment to Rowan, Lopez commanded the destroyer Preble (DD-12) from 1904 to 1906.[4]

Captain Lopez's last posting before retirement was as senior member of a naval board which conducted a general survey of vessels on the Pacific coast. He retired as a Commodore (Rear Admiral) in 1911.[5]

Upon America's entry into World War I in 1917, Lopez was recalled to duty as acting commandant of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, located northeast of San Francisco.[1]

Commodore Lopez died in Alameda, California after a year's illness at the age of 77.[1]


Dates of rank[edit]

  • Cadet Midshipman - 29 September 1874
  • Midshipman - 10 June 1881
  • Ensign (junior grade) - 3 March 1883
  • Ensign - 26 June 1884
  • Lieutenant (junior grade) - 16 April 1892
  • Lieutenant - 1 April 1896
  • Lieutenant Commander - 11 April 1902
  • Commander - 1 July 1907
  • Captain - c. March 1911
  • Commodore, Retired list - 30 June 1911

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Commodore Lopez, 77, Manila Veteran, Dies; Former Commandant of Mare Island Retired in 1911; Served in World War". New York Times. October 1, 1936. p. 25.
  2. ^ Swineford, Alfred P. (1888). The Cruise of the Thetis: A Cruise of Ten Thousand Miles in Alaskan Waters (PDF). Alaska State Library.
  3. ^ Burn, C.R.; Hattendorf, John B. (December 2011). "Toponymy of Herschel Island (Qikiqtaryuk), Western Arctic Coast, Canada" (PDF). Arctic. 64 (4): 459–464. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  4. ^ "USS Preble DD-12". 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Navy Board Retires Fourteen Officers; Some Well Worth Keeping in Service, but Must Make Way for Younger Men" (PDF). The New York Times. July 4, 1911. p. 13.