Frank Kelso

Last updated
Frank Kelso
Admiral Frank Kelso, official military photo.JPEG
Kelso in 1991
Born(1933-07-11)July 11, 1933
Fayetteville, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedJune 23, 2013(2013-06-23) (aged 79)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Buried
Rose Hill Cemetery, Fayetteville, Tennessee
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Navy (official).svg  United States Navy
Years of service1956–1994
Rank US Navy O10 infobox.svg Admiral
Commands held Chief of Naval Operations
Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
United States Atlantic Command
United States Atlantic Fleet
Sixth Fleet
NATO Naval Striking Force and Support Forces Southern Europe
Submarine Squadron 7
USS Bluefish
USS Finback
Naval Nuclear Power School
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)
Spouse(s)Landess McCown Kelso (−2012; her death)
Georgia Robinson (2013; his death)

Frank Benton Kelso II (July 11, 1933 – June 23, 2013) was an admiral of the United States Navy, who served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1990 to 1994.

Admiral is a four-star commissioned naval flag officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below fleet admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health Service do not have an established grade above admiral. Admiral is equivalent to the rank of general in the other uniformed services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps has never had an officer hold the grade of admiral. However, 37 U.S.C. § 201 of the U.S. Code established the grade for the NOAA Corps, in case a position is created that merits the four-star grade.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

Chief of Naval Operations statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the highest-ranking officer and professional head of the United States Navy. The position is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral who is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy. In a separate capacity as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the CNO is a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The current Chief of Naval Operations is Admiral John M. Richardson.

Contents

Early life

Kelso was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee, on July 11, 1933. He attended public school and the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, prior to entering the United States Naval Academy in 1952.

Fayetteville, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Fayetteville is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,994 at the 2000 census, and 6,827 at the 2010 census. A census estimate from 2012 showed 7,072.

Sewanee, Tennessee CDP in Tennessee, United States

Sewanee is a census-designated place (CDP) in Franklin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,311 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Tullahoma, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area.

United States Naval Academy The U.S. Navys federal service academy

The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States' five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845 when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.

Military career

Following graduation in 1956, Kelso served on the cargo ship USS Oglethorpe before attending Submarine School in 1958.

USS Oglethorpe (AKA-100) was an Andromeda-class attack cargo ship named after a county in Georgia, which in turn was named in honor of James Oglethorpe, the founder of the state. She served as a commissioned ship for approximately 23 years.

Naval Submarine Base New London United States Navys primary East Coast submarine base

Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary East Coast submarine base, also known as the "Home of the Submarine Force". It is located in Groton, Connecticut.

On completion of training, Kelso was assigned to the submarine USS Sabalo before returning to Submarine School for nuclear power training in January 1960. He then served one year in the Nuclear Power Department at the school. Subsequent tours included the pre-commissioning crew of USS Pollack, Engineering Officer aboard USS Daniel Webster and Executive Officer of USS Sculpin.

Submarine Watercraft capable of independent operation underwater

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term most commonly refers to a large, crewed vessel. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub. The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat; by naval tradition, submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size.

USS <i>Sabalo</i> (SS-302)

USS Sabalo (SS-302), a Balao-class submarine, was the first submarine and second ship of the United States Navy to be named sabalo, another name for the tarpon, a large, silvery game fish of the herring group, found in the warmer parts of the Western Atlantic.

USS Pollack (SSN-603), a Permit-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the pollack, a food fish resembling the true cod, but with the lower jaw projecting and without the barbel.

From January 1969 to August 1971, Kelso served as Commanding Officer, Naval Nuclear Power School in United States Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Port Deposit, Maryland. Following tours included Commanding Officer, USS Finback; Staff of Commander, Submarine Force, United States Atlantic Fleet; and Commanding Officer, USS Bluefish. Kelso was then assigned as Executive Assistant to the Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Command and Atlantic Fleet and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic from September 1975 to July 1977.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

USS <i>Finback</i> (SSN-670) Sturgeon class submarine

USS Finback (SSN-670), a Sturgeon-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the finback, the common whale of the Atlantic coast of the United States.

USS <i>Bluefish</i> (SSN-675) Sturgeon class submarine

USS Bluefish (SSN-675), a Sturgeon-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the bluefish.

Kelso served as Commander, Submarine Squadron 7 until reporting as Division Director, Submarine Distribution Division in the Naval Military Personnel Command, and Section Head of the Submarine Programs Section in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel and Training) in September 1978. He was selected for promotion to the rank of rear admiral in February 1980.

Mine Squadron 7, is the designation for a United States Navy minelaying and retrieval command and unit. COMINRON SEVEN was assigned to the United States Pacific Fleet from some time before 1943 until the unit's decommissioning in 1968. The word Commander in the unit's nomenclature refers both the entire unit, the headquarters section, and to the actual commanding officer.

Bureau of Naval Personnel

The Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) in the United States Department of the Navy is similar to the human resources department of a corporation. The bureau provides administrative leadership and policy planning for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) and the U.S. Navy at large. BUPERS is led by the Chief of Naval Personnel.

Rear admiral in the United States refers to two different ranks of commissioned officers — one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most nations, the term "rear admiral" refers to an officer of two-star rank.

Upon selection for flag rank, Kelso served as Director, Strategic Submarine Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and then was assigned as Director, Office of Program Appraisal, Office of the Secretary of the Navy. On February 8, 1985, Kelso became Commander Sixth Fleet and NATO Commander Naval Striking Force and Support Forces Southern Europe. During this tour, forces under his command launched raids on Libya in defiance of Colonel/President Muammar Gaddafi's claim that Libya's territorial waters extended 200 miles into the Gulf of Sidra. On June 30, 1986, Kelso was promoted to admiral and assumed the duties of Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet. Kelso became Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Command on November 22, 1988. In that capacity his forces were involved in the second Gulf of Sidra incident (1989). He succeeded Admiral Carlisle A.H. Trost to become the Navy's 24th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on June 29, 1990. [1]

Tailhook controversy

Kelso attended the 1991 Tailhook Association meeting in Las Vegas (his second time) at the urging of his senior aviation advisors to gain first-hand information from aviators who were part of Operation Desert Storm following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. In the months following this meeting, allegations of sexual harassment of hotel guests and other sexual misconduct on the part of naval aviators surfaced. Following several lengthy investigations, more than 100 aviators were implicated in overt acts of sexual misconduct. None were court-martialed, though over half of those implicated were informally disciplined and the careers of several senior officers were essentially ended. Secretary of the Navy Lawrence Garrett ultimately resigned and Kelso was forced to retire two months early amid the scandal and aviator complaints that he had failed to ensure due process for accused personnel. [2] Nonetheless, the Navy and its leadership were roundly criticized for minor punishments handed out to a few officers. Kelso was succeeded as CNO by Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda on April 23, 1994.

Retirement and personal life

Shortly before his retirement, Senator Barbara Boxer attempted to punish Kelso by recommending a reduction in rank from full admiral to rear admiral (upper half). Under Congressional law, all military promotions for flag officers to have three or four stars are at the behest of the Senate, and said promotions can be revoked, as was the case of Pacific Fleet commander Husband Kimmel following the Pearl Harbor attack, who was demoted from a 4-star admiral to a 2-star, and Richard Dunleavy, Kelso's Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare, who was demoted from 3-star to 2-star as a result of Tailhook. Boxer claimed Kelso was deserving of punishment on the grounds that as the Navy's top officer he bore ultimate responsibility for what happened at Tailhook. Boxer's attempt failed when more Senators agreed Kelso had taken the correct and proper actions in handling the affair, and he was allowed to retire at full rank. Kelso's supporters praised his overhaul of officer training that eliminated the separate Aviation Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, Florida for non-United States Naval Academy and non-Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps college graduates that had traditionally set many naval aviators and naval flight officers apart from their other officer peers, and for tough new policies on sexual harassment. [3] Had Kelso been demoted, it would have been a significant loss in his military pension.

Kelso retired with his wife, Landess McCown Kelso (who died in 2012), to his place of birth in Fayetteville, Tennessee in 2003. He died from complications of a fall and severe head injury on June 23, 2013, in Norfolk, Virginia, where he had gone to attend his grandson's graduation. He had been married to his second wife, Georgia Robinson, for just two weeks. He was also survived by two sons (both of whom served in the Navy) and two daughters. [4]

Military awards

[ citation needed ]

Kelso's decorations and awards include:

Submarine Officer badge.jpg Officer Submarine Warfare insignia
Silver Deterrent Patrol badge.jpg Award star (gold).png Award star (gold).png Award star (gold).png Silver SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia with three gold stars
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
 
1 golden star.svg
1 golden star.svg
1 golden star.svg
Navy Distinguished Service ribbon.svg
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Air Force Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Coast Guard Distinguished Service ribbon.svg
1 golden star.svg
1 golden star.svg
1 golden star.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Bronze-service-star-3d.png Bronze-service-star-3d.png
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Navy Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg Bronze-service-star-3d.png Bronze-service-star-3d.png Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.svg
Officer Submarine Warfare insignia
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster [5] Navy Distinguished Service Medal with three 516" gold stars [5]
2nd Row Army Distinguished Service Medal [5] Air Force Distinguished Service Medal [5] Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal [5]
3rd Row Legion of Merit with three 516" gold stars [5] Meritorious Service Medal with one 516" gold star Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
4th Row Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Navy Unit Commendation w/ 2 bronze service stars Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star
5th Row Navy Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 service star National Defense Service Medal with two 316" service stars Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

Related Research Articles

United States Fleet Forces Command

The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is a service component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to a wide variety of U.S. forces. The naval resources may be allocated to Combatant Commanders such as United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America since the early 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over most of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America. The command is based at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia and is the navy's service component to U.S. Northern Command and is a supporting command under the U.S. Strategic Command.

Ernest King US Navy Admiral (FADM), Chief of Naval Operations

Ernest Joseph King was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet (COMINCH) and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) during World War II. As COMINCH-CNO, he directed the United States Navy's operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the United States Navy's second most senior officer in World War II after Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, who served as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.

The Tailhook Association is a U.S.-based, non-profit fraternal organization, supporting the interests of sea-based aviation, with emphasis on aircraft carriers. The word tailhook refers to the hook underneath the tail of the aircraft that catches the arresting wire suspended across the flight deck in order to stop the landing plane quickly.

William V. Pratt United States admiral

William Veazie Pratt was an admiral in the United States Navy. He served as the President of the Naval War College from 1925 to 1927, and as the 5th Chief of Naval Operations from 1930 to 1933.

John Henry Towers United States Navy admiral, naval aviator

John Henry Towers was a United States Navy admiral and pioneer naval aviator. He made important contributions to the technical and organizational development of naval aviation from its beginnings, eventually serving as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics (1939–1942). He commanded carrier task forces during World War II, and retired in December 1947. He and Marc Mitscher were the only early Naval Aviation pioneers to survive the hazards of early flight to remain with naval aviation throughout their careers. He was the first naval aviator to achieve flag rank and was the most senior advocate for naval aviation during a time when the Navy was dominated by battleship admirals. Towers spent his last years supporting aeronautical research and advising the aviation industry.

Forrest Sherman Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Forrest Percival Sherman was an admiral in the United States Navy and the youngest person to serve as Chief of Naval Operations until Admiral Elmo Zumwalt in 1970. The Forrest Sherman class destroyer was named for him.

Carlisle Trost United States admiral

Admiral Carlisle Albert Herman Trost is a retired United States Navy officer who served as the 23rd Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1 July 1986 to 29 June 1990. He oversaw the Navy during the end of the Cold War, and the preparations for the Gulf War of 1991. He retired from active naval service on 1 July 1990, following completion of a four-year term as CNO.

The Tailhook scandal was a series of incidents where more than 100 United States Navy and U.S. Marine Corps aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted 83 women and 7 men, or otherwise engaged in "improper and indecent" conduct at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada.

David L. McDonald United States admiral

David Lamar McDonald was an admiral in the United States Navy, who served as the 17th Chief of Naval Operations from 1 August 1963 to 1 August 1967 during the Vietnam War era.

Richard S. Edwards United States Navy admiral

Admiral Richard Stanislaus Edwards served in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II.

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFF) is the title of the United States Navy officer who serves as the commanding officer of the United States Fleet Forces Command. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command was originally established in 1905 as the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and as a two-star rear admiral's billet; the position has been held by a four-star admiral since March 10, 1915. The 34th, and current, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command is Admiral Christopher W. Grady.

Allan Rockwell McCann United States Navy admiral

Vice Admiral Allan Rockwell McCann, was a United States Navy officer who served in World War I and World War II.

George E. Mayer United States admiral

Rear Admiral George E. "Rico" Mayer is a retired United States Naval officer and Naval Aviator. At the time of his retirement, he was the first Puerto Rican Commander of the Naval Safety Center.

Kinnaird R. McKee United States admiral

Kinnaird Rowe McKee was an American United States Navy four star admiral who served as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion from 1982 to 1988. He also served as Superintendent, United States Naval Academy from 1975 to 1978.

Robert J. Kelly President of Pensacola Country Club

Robert J. Kelly is a retired United States Navy four star admiral who served as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) from 1991 to 1994.

Stan Arthur United States Navy officer

Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, USN was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 1992 to 1995, culminating more than 37 years as an officer in the United States Navy.

Richard Dunleavy United States admiral

Admiral Richard Michael Dunleavy is a retired US naval officer. He retired as a two-star rear admiral in 1992 after being demoted from the rank of three-star vice admiral as a result of the Tailhook scandal.

Arthur C. Davis United States Navy admiral

Arthur Cayley Davis was an admiral of the United States Navy. His career included service in World War II and the Cold War. He was a pioneer of dive bombing.

Alfred E. Montgomery American admiral

Vice Admiral Alfred Eugene Montgomery was an officer in the United States Navy who served in World War I and World War II. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he participated in operations on the Mexican Border. He trained for submarines, and became executive officer of the submarine USS E-1. In November 1914 he reported to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where the new submarine USS F-1 was being fitted out, and served as its commander from June 1917 until it was lost on 17 December 1917.

Scott Stearney American naval aviator and Vice Admiral of the United States Navy

Scott Andrew Stearney was an American naval aviator and Vice Admiral of the United States Navy who served as Commander of the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain. He died in office by an apparent suicide.

References

  1. Navy biography of Frank B. Kelso (Note this omits any mention of Tailhook.)
  2. U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, hearing on Sexual Harassment of Military Women / Improving Military Complaint Systems, 103rd Congressional hearings held March 1994
  3. Barbara Starr, ABC News, 8/11/99, "Tailhook Fallout Still Felt"
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Frank Benton Kelso". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
Carlisle A.H. Trost
Chief of Naval Operations
1990–1994
Succeeded by
Jeremy M. Boorda
Government offices
Preceded by
Sean O'Keefe
United States Secretary of the Navy (acting)
January 2 – July 21, 1993
Succeeded by
John H. Dalton