Marshall Ulrich Beebe was born in Anaheim, California, on August 6, 1913, son of Marshall E. and Anna M. (Ulrich) Beebe. He attended Occidental College (Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering) at Los Angeles, California, where he played football and basketball, was Class President, and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1935, and was subsequently employed by Southern California Gas Company. He served for two years with Company K. 185th Infantry, National Guard, in California, and from September 1936 until December 26, 1937, when he was designated Naval Aviator, had flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Commissioned Ensign on January 1, 1938, he advanced in rank to Commander, his date of rank July 20, 1945.
From January 1938 until June 1940 he was assigned to Patrol Squadron ONE and 21, as an HTA pilot, and during July and August 1940 had similar duty with Patrol Squadron 23 at Ford Island, Hawaii. He served for three months as a flight instructor at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Long Beach, California, and in January 1941 reported for duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He remained there (VJ-VR Design Desk) until March 1943, and from May until July of that year was a pilot of Composite Squadron 64 attached to the Naval Air Station, Seattle Washington.
He commanded Composite Squadron 39, based on USS Liscome Bay in the Pacific, from August 1943 until that carrier was sunk by the Japanese later that year. He then reported to Commander Fleet Air, West Coast, and in April 1944 was assigned duty as Commanding Officer of Flight Squadron 17, a squadron of F6F Hellcats, which was later based on USS Hornet, operating in the Pacific. He remained in that command until June 1945, during which period he participated in the first navy raids on Tokyo in February 1945 and was personally credited with 10-1/2 Japanese planes. He was awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism as a Pilot and Flight Leader in Fighting Squadron SEVENTEEN…in the vicinity of Southern Kyushu, Japan, on March 18, 1945..” He also was awarded for World War II Service, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars, the Air Medal with eight Gold Stars, and the Purple Heart Medal (for wounds received in action), and is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of, the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the Hornet for heroic service.
From July 1945 until June 1946 he again served in the Navy Department, Washington, DC, this time in Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air) (Military Regulations, Armament Desk), and for a year thereafter was a student at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island. In July 1947 he reported to USS Badoeng Strait in which he served as Air Officer until March 1948. He then became Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the staff of Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and later Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet.
In July 1950 he reported to Commander Air Force, Pacific, as Prospective Commanding Officer of Carrier Air Group FIVE, and from December 1950 until May 1952 commanded that Group, based on USS Essex, operating in Korean waters. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in operations in Korea from August 1951 until January 1952. For further meritorious service in the Korean area, he was awarded Gold Stars in lieu of the fourth Distinguished Flying Cross and the tenth and eleventh Air Medals. Detached in June 1952, he reported to the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, for duty as Chief Project Officer. He later served as Assistant Director and as Acting Director of the Flight Test Division. Under orders of November 4, 1954, he was detached for duty in the Administrative Office, Executive Office of the Secretary of the Navy, Navy Department. Since February 1956 he has been US Naval Attache and US Naval Attache for Air, Caracas, Venezuela.
In addition to the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” Distinguished Flying Cross with three Gold Stars, Air Medal with ten Gold Stars, Purple Heart Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Commander Beebe has the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; and the Untied Nations Service Medal.
James Michener, author of best-seller “Bridges at Toko-ri,” dedicated that book to Commander Beebe.
He died March 19, 1991.