William F. Bringle

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William F. Bringle
ADM Bringle, William F.jpg
Official portrait of ADM William F. Bringle, commander of USS Kitty Hawk
Nickname(s) Bush
Born April 23, 1913
Covington, Tennessee
Died March 19, 1999(1999-03-19) (aged 85)
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1933-1974
Rank Admiral
Commands held Carrier Air Group Seventeen
Carrier Air Group One
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
Carrier Division 7
Task Force 77
United States Seventh Fleet
United States Naval Forces Europe
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War
Awards Navy Cross
Legion of Merit, Combat "V"
Distinguished Flying Cross (6)
Air Medal (16)

Admiral William Floyd Bringle, USN, (April 23, 1913 – March 19, 1999)[1] was the first commanding officer of USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).[2] During the Vietnam War, he was Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet in 1967-70[3] as a Vice Admiral, and later, as a four star admiral, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in 1971-73.

Early life and career[edit]

Admiral William F. Bringle was born in Covington, Tennessee,[4] on April 23, 1913, son of Mrs. Lota Smith Bringle and William F. Bringle of Covington, Tennessee. He died on March 19, 1999 at Rancho Santa Fe, California

He attended the Byars-Hall High School and Columbia Military Academy before his appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Graduating in June 1937, he was commissioned an ensign, and through subsequent advancement attained the rank of captain, July 1, 1955.

During his career, Captain Bringle served in numerous sea and shore assignments. His first was aboard the aircraft Saratoga in the gunnery, communications and engineering departments as a junior officer until 1940.

Reporting to the Naval Air Station Pensacola for flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in December 1940.

World War II[edit]

In January 1941, he served as senior aviator aboard the light cruiser Milwaukee, and he eventually became commanding officer of Cruiser Scouting Squadron TWO, operating on the light cruisers Omaha and Savannah.

From September to November 1943, he trained at the Naval Air Station Melbourne and in December, formed the first Observation Fighting Squadron (VOF-1) during World War II. He commanded the squadron throughout the period of hostilities, and was awarded the Navy Cross, "For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy forces during the Allied Invasion of Southern France in August 1944." Captain Bringle also received the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star from the Government of France for his part in the invasion.[1] Reassigned to the Pacific war again, Captain Bringle and squadron embarked in the escort carrier Wake Island and later Marcus Island.

While under his command, the squadron participated in strikes against enemy held installations in Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Sakishima Gunto, Nansei Shoto area, Okinawa and many other Pacific islands. His squadron contributed materially to the success of these combat operations in the performance of its primary function of spotting for naval gunfire and close air support of ground forces in repeated bombing and rocket attacks against enemy troops and installations. For his outstanding service during these engagements and others, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with gold stars in lieu of five additional awards of that medal as well as the Air Medal with gold stars in lieu of sixteen additional similar awards.

Post-war, through early 1960s[edit]

After World War II, from October 1945 until October 1946, he was the Air Group Commander, aka: "CAG" of Carrier Air Group Seventeen, and when detached he returned to the Naval Academy for duty as a Battalion Commander. He remained there until June 1948.

Returning again to sea, Captain Bringle filled the post of Commander, Carrier Air Group One aboard the aircraft carriers Tarawa and Philippine Sea.

From 1950-1952, he served as a member of the Superintendent's Staff at the Naval Academy. The next year, as a student, he attended the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island.

Another year and a half of sea duty as Executive Officer of the carrier Hornet, 1953–1954, was alternated with 2½ years of shore duty as head of the Operational Intelligence Branch of the Chief of Naval Operations, and as the Personal Aide to the Secretary of the Navy.

In 1957, Captain Bringle assumed command of Heavy Attack Wing Two, operating A3D Skywarrior bombers in the Pacific. He served in this command until July 1958, when he was ordered to become the Commandant of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy.

Captain Bringle, in May 1960, received orders designating him as the Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO) of the Navy's newest attack carrier, the Kitty Hawk, building at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey. He became the first Commanding Officer on her commissioning day, April 29, 1961.

In June 1962 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he served as Assistant Director of the Aviation Plans Division until January 1963, when he was designated the Director of that division.

Bringle shaking hands with President and Madame Nguyen Van Thieu as they depart after a visit aboard USS Constellation

Flag Assignments[edit]

On April 6, 1964, he assumed command of Carrier Division Seven. In addition to commanding Carrier Division Seven, Admiral Bringle served as Commander Task Group 77.6, during the period of March 29, to June 29, 1965 and as Commander Task Force Seventy Seven (CTF-77) from May 28, to June 27, 1965. For service in these capacities, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V". "For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, Rear Admiral Bringle masterfully directed the combat operations of his forces in support of the Republic of Vietnam. He consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership and professional skill in repeatedly responding to a constantly changing environment".

In July 1965, he was ordered to the Staff of Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet, where he assumed the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans.

Vice Admiral Bringle was Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet during 1967-70. Later, as a four-star admiral, he was the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in 1971-73.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

In addition to the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit with Combat "V", Distinguished Flying Cross with five Gold Stars, Air Medal with sixteen Gold Stars, the Navy Unit Commendation (USS Marcus Island), and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, Rear Admiral Bringle was also awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Silver star
Silver star
Silver star
Silver star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Navy Cross Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for Valor Distinguished Flying Cross with five gold stars Air Medal with sixteen gold stars
Navy Unit Commendation American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Medal with four bronze stars
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars World War II Victory Medal Croix de guerre National Defense Service Medal

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Obituaries - William Bringle". Capital Gazette. Mar 29, 1999. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ships History USS Kitty Hawk" (PDF). 1961. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Commander Seventh Fleet". Navy Department Library. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ Estrada, Louie (March 26, 1999). "William F. 'Bush' Bringle Dies at 85; Admiral Was Decorated WWII Aviator, Led Naval Air Forces". Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2014.