Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
Admiral William Floyd Bringle was born in Covington, Tennessee, on 23 April 1913. He attended Byers-Hall High School in Covington, and Columbia Military Academy, Columbia, Tennessee. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy on 6 July 1933. As a midshipman, he earned the N-star as a member of the Academy football team. He graduated and was commissioned as an Ensign on 3 June 1937.
Upon graduation, Ensign Bringle was assigned engineering, communications, and gunnery duties aboard USS Saratoga in the Pacific Ocean until February 1940. In April 1940, he reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was designated as a naval aviator in December 1940. He then was assigned to USS Milwaukee as the senior aviator until December 1942. For the next eight months, he served as the Commanding Officer of Cruiser Scouting Squadron Two.
From September to November 1943 he had training at Naval Air Station Melbourne, Florida. In December, he formed the first Observation Fighting Squadron (VOF-1). He commanded this squadron for the rest of the war in both Southern France and the Pacific Theater of Operations. For his service, he earned the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star in lieu of five additional awards, the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of sixteen additional awards, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with star, and the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.
From October 1945 to October 1946, Bringle commanded Air Group Seventeen. From October 1946 to June 1948 he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy as a Battalion Officer. He then commanded Carrier Air Group One, aboard USS Tarawa and USS Philippine Sea. He was reassigned to the Naval Academy from June 1950 to July 1952 as a member of the Superintendent’s Staff. He spent the next year as a student at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. From July 1953 to December 1954, he was executive officer of USS Hornet.
In January 1955, Bringle was assigned to be the Head of the Operational Intelligence Branch in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He was reassigned in August 1955 to be the Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy. He commanded Heavy Attack Wing Two from August 1957 to June 1958, after which he was the Commandant of Midshipman at the Naval Academy until August 1960.
Captain Bringle was then assigned to USS Kitty Hawk as the prospective commanding officer. When Kitty Hawk was commissioned, Captain Bringle became her commanding officer, serving in that capacity until June 1962, when he was assigned to be the Assistant Director of the Aviation Plans Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In January 1963, he was designated Director of the Division, a post he held until April 1964. In January 1964, Bringle was promoted to Rear Admiral. In April 1964, he assumed command of Carrier Division Seven, the carrier striking force of the Seventh Fleet. He commanded Task Group 77.6 and Task Force 77, as well. This tour coincided with the escalation of the Vietnam War. As a commander and a participant, Bringle was awarded the Legion of Merit, with Combat “V.”
In July 1965, Rear Admiral Bringle became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In November 1967, Bringle was promoted to Vice Admiral, and assigned to command the Seventh Fleet, based out of Yokosuka, Japan. The Seventh Fleet’s area of operations included the Vietnam conflict. Bringle was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and Gold Star in lieu of a second award for his duties in this important post. In March 1970, he became Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
In July 1971, Vice Admiral Bringle was promoted to full Admiral, and reported as the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe and the Naval Component Commander of the U.S. European Command, with additional duty as the U.S. Commander Eastern Atlantic.
In September 1973, Bringle returned to Headquarters Naval District, Washington, D.C., for temporary duty. He retired on 1 January 1974.
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of Admiral William F. Bringle consist entirely of message traffic collected by the Admiral during his command of the Seventh Fleet from 1967 to 1970. While the folders are arranged almost completely by date, the message traffic within has been left in the order in which it was compiled, usually inverse chronological order.
The collection is arranged in two series. Series I consists of messages that were personally addressed to and from Admiral Bringle in his capacity as COMSEVENTHFLT. Series I contains two sub-groups, Incoming and Outgoing, and is arranged by date. As noted, the contents of each folder are inversely chronological. This message traffic deals mostly with official matters concerning the Seventh Fleet and Admiral Bringle, primarily issues concerning naval involvement in the Vietnam War.
Series II contains official traffic during the 1968 fiscal year, mostly detailing schedule changes for units of the Seventh Fleet. This series is split into two sub-series. The first sub-series, Incoming, is arranged by the fleet component sending the message. These components are arranged from Task Force to Task Group. A number of messages were not kept in any semblance of order, and are placed in a “Miscellaneous” folder. Once arranged by the unit they originated from, the folders are sorted by date, usually within the fiscal year quarters. As previously noted, message traffic within is in inverse chronological order.
The second sub-series of Series II is Outgoing traffic, also detailing schedule changes for units of the Seventh Fleet during the 1968 fiscal year. These messages are entirely arranged by date. One major chunk of the outgoing traffic has not yet been reviewed for declassification, and it is in a folder by itself. Once declassified, the traffic within should be added to appropriate folder for each date.
This collection should be cited as Papers of Admiral William F. Bringle, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
Subject Headings (LCSH)
United States. NavyHistorySources.
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975.
2.5 cubic feet
15 July 2002