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Adapted from "Captain Donald C. Beard, United States Navy" [biography, dated 29 June 1948] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Communications--Visual –Signals, Radio and Voice
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Donald Charles Beard

15 July 1904 - 

PDF Version [12.9MB]

Captain Beard was born on July 15, 1904, at Port Huron, Michigan, the son of Mrs. Eloda Ferguson Beard and the late Charles David Beard.  He was appointed to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from the Seventh District of Michigan on June 23, 1921.  Graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 4, 1923, he advanced porgressively through the various grades to the rank of Captain, to date from July 20, 1943.

Following graduation from the Academy in 1925, Captain Beard had consecutive duty in USS West Virginia and Eagle #35.  Detached from the latter in July 1929, he proceeded tothe New York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, New Hesey, in connection with fitting out USS Salt Lake City and assumed duty board upon her commissioning on December 11, 1929.  In June 1931, he reported to the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland for instruction in Communication Engineering and upon completion of the course there, he had additional instruction, under the supervision of the Postgraduate School, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts until June 1933.

Prior to reporting for duty on the staff of Commander Destroyers Battle Force in March 1934, Captain Beard had three months' instruction in the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, Washington, DC.  Between March and September 1934, he served as Radio Commuications Officer on the staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron TWO, after which he reported for duty with Destroyers, Battle Force.  In June and the Naval Research Laboratory, Bellevue, DC., and while serving in this dual assignment, he additional duty as a Naval Aide to the White House from April to September 1937.

 Captain Beard had service at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia, in connection with fitting out USS Boise, and joined her as Communication Officer upon her commissioning on August 12, 1938.   He  served as Damage Control Officer and First Lieutenant in USS Cincinnati from July 1940 until January 1941, after which he had duty as Radio Officer on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet.  Between February 1943 and January 1947, he was attached to Headquarters, Commander-in-Chief, US Fleet, Navy Department, Washington DC.  For Services in this duty he was awarded a Legion of Merit and citated as follows:


"For exceptionally meritorious conduct inthe performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while serving in the Readiness Division of the Headquarters of Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, from March 1943, to August 1945.  Displaying exceptional foresight, judgment and professional ability, Captain Beard rendered invaluable assistance in the formulation of policies, means and methods for procurement and training of electronics personnel and was in large measure responsible for initating plans and policies for maintaing Fleet radar equipment in a high state of readiness for battle.  His initiative, tireless efforts and conscientious devotion to duty throughout were essential factors in the successful prosecution of the war and reflect the highest credit upon Captain Beard and the United States Naval Service."  

On January 31, 1947, he assumed command of USS Cambria.  He is now under orders to report to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, for instruction in logistics.

In addition to the Legion of Merit, Captain Beard is entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiastic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal; the American Area Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.


Published: Mon Dec 30 06:56:09 EST 2019