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Adapted from "Rear Admiral Robert John Archer, United States Navy, Deceased" [biography, dated 12 March 1964] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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Robert John Archer

24 December 1906-2 January 1991

Photo of Rear Admiral Robert J. Archer copied from page 74 of the 1928 edition of the U.S. Naval Academy yearbook 'Lucky Bag'.

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After graduation with the Naval Academy’s Class of 1928, Rear Admiral Archer had seven years at sea, serving in the battleship West Virginia, the ammunition ship Nitro, and the destroyer Dallas.  In 1935-1937, he had postgraduate instruction in Applied Communications, then served afloat as Communications Officer of the cruiser Memphis, and as Executive Officer and Navigator of the yacht Isabel and the destroyer Peary of the Asiatic Fleet.

In October 1941, he reported to Georgia School of Technology as an Instructor in the NROTC Unit, remaining there after the outbreak of World War II until November 1942.  He was Communications Officer of the aircraft carrier Essex the next year and, still attached to the Essex, served on the Staff of Commander Carrier Division ONE and Commander Task Groups 38.3 and 58.3 from January to November 1944.  The Essex won the Presidential Unit Citation, and he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” for Staff duty from January 14 to November 5, 1944.

From March to August 1945, he commanded the destroyer Evans, a radar picket ship which was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for service off Okinawa on May 11, 1945.  He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism as her Commanding Officer on that date when his ship “was subjected to attacks of an overwhelming force of enemy aircraft for one and one-half hours and (he) directed gunfire of his batteries in shooting down fifteen enemy planes and assisting in the destruction of four others…”  Four additional Kamikazes landed abroad.

He served as Head of the Board of Awards on the Staff of Commander Destroyers, Pacific, late in 1945, after which he briefly commanded Destroyer Division 122.  From March 1946 to May 1949, he was Head of the Operations Command Department of the General Line Schools at Newport and Monterey, successively.  He then commanded USS Comstock (LSD-19) for a year, during which she rescued personnel from USS Elder in the Pacific.

From July 1950 to August 1953, he was on the Faculty of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, and in September assumed command of Escort Destroyer Squadron SIX, his pennant in USS Berry.  In 1955, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations to Commander Military Sea Transportation Service, Pacific Area, and on February 27, 1956, was ordered to duty in the Ninth Naval District, Headquarters at Great Lakes, Illinois, as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations.  He remained in that assignment until his transfer to the Retired List on July 1, 1958.

He died January 2, 1991.


Born:  Spokane, Washington, 12/24/1906

Education:  North Central High School, Spokane, Wash.; US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (BS, 1928); Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis (1935-1937)


Commissioned Ensign, 6/7/28

Lieutenant (jg), 6/7/31

Lieutenant Commander, 4/1/42

Commander, 9/15/42

Captain, 3/25/45

Retired 7/1/58 and advanced to R. Adm. on basis of citations awarded for combat


Navy Cross

Legion of Merit with Combat “V”

Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon (USS Essex)

Star for PUC Ribbon (USS Evans)

China Service Medal

American Defense Service Medal with star

American Campaign Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver, four bronze stars (9 engagements)

World War II Victory Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two operation stars

Philippine presidential Unit Citation


Navy Cross:  “For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS Evans, in action against enemy Japanese forces while assigned to Radar Pickett Duty Okinawa on May 11, 1945.  When his ship was subjected to attacks by an overwhelming force of enemy aircraft for one and one-half hours, Captain (then Commander) Archer directed the gunfire of his batteries in shooting down fifteen enemy planes and assisting in the destruction of four others.  Although the Evans was severely damaged by hits from four suicide planes and in a sinking condition, he led his crew in determined efforts to save the ship and bring her safe to port…”

Legion of Merit (Combat V):  “For exceptionally meritorious conduct…as Staff Watch Officer and Flag Communications Officer on the Staff of Commander Carrier Division One, during Fast Carrier Task Force offensive operations against enemy Japanese forces in the south, central and western Pacific, from January 14 to November 15, 1944…(He) contributed in large measure to the capture or neutralization of numerous enemy strongholds including Truk, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, the Visayas and Manilla, and to the destruction of a major part of the enemy’s air and sea forces in this strategic area…”


Jun 1928 – Jun 1932 USS W. Virginia (Aircraft Spotter)

Jun 1932 – Jun 1933 USS Nitro (Communication Off.)

Jun 1933 – Jul 1935 USS Dallas (DD199) (Torp. Off.)

Aug 1935 – Jun 1937 P.G. School, USNA (Student)

Jun 1937 – Jul 1938 USS Memphis (Communication Off.)

Jul 1938 – Dec 1939 USS Isabel (Exec. & Nav.)

Jan. 1940 – Jul 1941 USS Peary (DD226) (Exec. & Nav.)

Oct 1941 – Nov 1942 NROTC, Ga. Tech (Instructor)

Dec 1942 – Dec 1943 USS Essex (CV9) (Communications Off.)

Jan 1944 – Nov 1944 Staff ComCarDiv 1 (Staff Comm. Off.)

Mar 1945 – Aug 1945 USS Evans (DD552) (CO)

Sep 1945 – Dec 1945 Staff ComDesPac (Hd. Bd of Awards)

Jan 1946 – Jan 1946 ComDesDiv 122 (Div. Comdr.)

Mar 1946 – Sep 1947 GLS, Newport (Hd. Op. Comd Dept.)

Oct 1947 – May 1949 GLS, Monterey (Hd. Op. Comd Dept.)

Jun 1949 – Jun 1950 USS Comstock (LS19) (CO)

Jul 1950 – Aug 1953 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, (Faculty)

Sep 1953 – Mar 1955 USS Fred T. Berry (Commander Escort Destroyer Squadron 6)

Apr 1955 – Feb 1956 COMSTSPACAREA, San Francisco (Asst Chief of Staff for operations)

Mar 1956 – Jun 1958 Staff, Commandant 9th ND., Great Lakes (Asst. Chief of Staff for Operations)


Published: Tue Aug 25 08:30:44 EDT 2020