Sheldon H. Kinney

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Sheldon Hoard Kinney (1918 – 11 December 2004) was a U.S. Navy rear admiral who was prominent for action in World War II, the Korean War, and later maritime education as Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and President of SUNY Maritime College.


Kinney was born in Pasadena, California, where he took to sailing from his youth. Sources note that "as a 16-year-old, he was a crew member on a sailing schooner to Hawaii."[citation needed] Kinney never graduated High School, and in 1935 enlisted in the Navy. As a seaman, Kinney served aboard the USS Omaha and then as a signalman aboard the USS New York.

Kinney was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in 1937. There, he received a bachelor's degree in marine engineering in February 1941 and immediately went on duty due to preparations for American involvement in World War II. When he graduated, he was given the Class of 1897 Sword that's now displayed with his medals at Bancroft Hall.

Kinney received master's degrees in international economics and international politics as well as a juris doctor from George Washington University. He also graduated in 1960 from the Naval War College. After becoming an officer, he served aboard the USS Sturtevant on North Atlantic convoy duty. His ship survived being rammed. Kinney received the "Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism for diving from his ship to rescue two downed aviators. Later, the Sturtevant was sunk, and he survived by floating on a bag of coffee beans."

In 1943, Kinney took command of the USS Edsall and became the youngest commanding officer of a destroyer-type ship. After this, he commanded the Bronstein and was credited for sinking three German U-boats and disabling a fourth. For this he was given the Navy Cross and the Bronstein a Presidential Unit Citation. Adm. Robert Carney, chief of naval operations from 1953 to 1955, described the Bronstein's fight that night as "the most concentrated and successful antisubmarine action by a U.S. Navy ship during World War II."[citation needed]

After the war, Kinney served as the anti-submarine warfare officer on the staff of the Commander Destroyers Atlantic. He then commanded the USS Ludlow and the USS Taylor during the Korean War. He also commanded the USS Mitscher, which has the distinction of being the Navy's first guided missile frigate.[citation needed] He was also on the staff of the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe.

During the Vietnam War, he commanded the USS Mississinewa, Amphibious Squadron 12, and then the naval gunfire support ships of Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 11 in Operation Sea Dragon in Vietnam. His final command was as Commander Cruiser Destroyer Forces Pacific.

From 1963 to 1967 he was commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1963 to 1967. In 1972 he retired and became president of SUNY Maritime College. He remained in the position until 1982 when he permanently retired. In retirement, he help to found and preside over the World Maritime University of the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations at Malmo, Sweden. He also served as special adviser to the secretary general of the IMO in London. His other military decorations include the Legion of Merit (Combat V) with two Gold Stars, the Bronze Star (Combat V) and the Navy Commendation Medal. Kinney died of cancer in Annapolis, Maryland on December 11, 2004.