Skip to main content

The Navy Department Library

Related Content

Adapted from "Rear Admiral Lawrence George Bernard, United States Navy, Deceased" [biography, dated 18 October 1971] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Communications--Visual –Signals, Radio and Voice
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
  • Vietnam Conflict 1962-1975
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Library

Lawrence George Bernard

9 February 1914-29 March 1997

Photo of Rear Admiral Lawrence G. Bernard copied from page 248 of the 1937 edition of the U.S. Naval Academy yearbook 'Lucky Bag'.

PDF Version [2.5MB]

Born in Arpan, South Dakota, Lawrence George Bernard attended schools in Deadwood, South Dakota and Annapolis, Maryland, prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy in 1933. Graduating in June 1937, his first assignment was on board the battleship California (BB-44), in which he served for two years. Following submarine training, he joined the submarine S-29 early in 1939, and was attached to her, operating in the Philippines area, when the United States entered World War II, December 8, 1941. He subsequently made five war patrols in that vessel before he was detached, and was awarded the Silver Star Medal for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” in connection with certain of these operations.

Transferred to USS Puffer, then building at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, he participated in one war patrol on board that submarine and for service at that time was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V.” In the spring of 1944 he assumed command of the submarine R-2, and in July 1945 reported on board USS Archerfish as Prospective Commanding Officer. While he was attached to the Archerfish he made one war patrol prior to the cessation of hostilities in 1945 and was present on board that submarine in Tokyo Bay during the surrender ceremonies.

Between 1945 and 1948 he had consecutive command of the submarines Stickleback and Brill after which he served for two years as Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Ames, Iowa. Following a short assignment as Inspector-Instructor at the Naval Reserve Training Center, Baltimore, Maryland, he reported in May 1951 as Gunnery Officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, US Atlantic Fleet. In January 1953 he became Commander Submarine Division TWENTY-TWO and in April of the next year was detached for duty in Washington, DC, with the Weapons System Evaluation Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he served until June 1957.

From July 1957 until July 1958 he served as Commanding Officer of the submarine tender Howard W. Gilmore. This assignment was followed by a two and a half year tour of duty as a member of the Naval Advisory Group at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where he served as Navy Advisor to the Commandant of the Air College and as a faculty member. In March 1961 he became Commander Submarine Squadron SEVEN with additional duty later as Commander Submarine Flotilla FIVE, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He remained in this capacity until March 1962, when he was detached to become Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Submarine Force, US Atlantic Fleet, with headquarters located in Norfolk, Virginia. Following detachment from this duty in December 1963, he reported to San Diego, California, where he assumed command of Submarine Flotilla ONE in January 1964. In February 1965 he was transferred to Washington, DC, for duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he served from May 1965 as Director of the Ships Material Readiness Division.

From November 1967 to February 1969 he commanded Submarine Flotilla SIX and “for exceptionally meritorious service…” in that capacity was awarded the Legion of Merit. He reported in February 1969 as Deputy Naval Inspector General, Navy Department and in May 1969 became Director of the Shore Installations Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. He was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious service…(in) the development and management of the Navy’s shore installations…” On June 1, 1971 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy.

Date and Place of Birth: 9 February 1914, Arpan, South Dakota

Education: Deadwood High School, Deadwood, South Dakota; Cochran-Bryan Preparatory School, Annapolis, Maryland; US Naval Academy (BS, 1937), Submarine School, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut


Midshipman, 26 June 1933

Ensign, 3 June 1937

Lieutenant (jg), 3 June 1940

Lieutenant, 2 January 1942

Lieutenant Commander, 1 July 1943

Commander, 20 July 1945

Captain, 1 July 1955

Rear Admiral, 1 February 1966

Decorations and Medals:

Silver Star Medal

Legion of Merit

Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit

Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”

Army Distinguished Unit Badge

American Defense Service Medal with star

American Campaign Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three engagement stars

World War II Victory Medal

National Defense Service Medal with bronze star

Philippine Defense Ribbon with one Star

Philippine Liberation Ribbon

Philippine Independence Ribbon


Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Diving Officer and Executive Officer of the USS S-39 during the three aggressive and successful war patrols in enemy-held waters. When his ship, despite vigorous anti-submarine measures on the part of the enemy, sank an armed auxiliary vessel in Philippine waters and a hostile tanker in the Java Sea, Lieutenant Commander Bernard rendered invaluable service to his Commanding Officer by maintaining expert depth control throughout and following each attack. His courageous skill and conscientious devotion to duty contributed materially to the safety of his ship…”

Legion of Merit: “For exceptionally meritorious service from October 1967 to January 1969 as Commander Submarine Flotilla SIX…Rear Admiral Bernard was responsible for the successful operations of the flotilla, thereby contributing directly to the readiness of the Submarine Force. He initiated and implemented advanced training and management programs which resulted in the increased proficiency of personnel and the economical operation of the flotilla. Through his astute guidance and exceptional dedication, he was instrumental in enhancing the level of morale in personnel and increasing the retention rate of junior officers. As representative of commander Submarine Force, US Atlantic Fleet in the Charleston, South Carolina area, (he) was highly effective in coordinating the efforts of the tenders and support ships with the Charleston Naval Shipyard to achieve and maintain a high state of readiness of Flotilla SIX submarines. In addition, he has been Senior Officer Present Afloat during his entire tour and, as such has offered firm direction and cooperation to the Fleet units in Charleston. He has shown keen interest and enthusiasm for civic relations and community projects, establishing a rapport with the civilian community that will have lasting effect on Charleston’s Navy/civilian relationship…”

Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit: “For exceptionally meritorious service from May 1969 to May 1971 as Director, Shore Installations Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Rear Admiral Bernard’s guidance in planning, program and budgeting the Navy’s Military Construction Program has resulted in effective and responsive worldwide support of US Naval Forces. In addition to directly supervising Vietnamese Navy welfare programs in furtherance of the President’s Vietnamization Plan, he coordinated the planning and budgeting for a new Naval Communications Station in the Indian Ocean which is of importance to national strategic objectives. (His) personal attention and leadership in developing Navy initiatives for the Defense Family Housing Program have led the way toward substantial improvements in living conditions for all military personnel. In support of the National Program for Environmental Quality Control, he insured that all deficiencies in air and water pollution control at all naval shore installations were identified and that an aggressive program for correcting these deficiencies was pursued. As cognizant officer for physical security at all naval shore installations, he made substantial contributions to the improvement of physical security and the safeguarding of weapons, ammunition and explosives. In all the diverse areas of his responsibility, he exemplified singular dedication and skillful managerial ability…”

Bronze Star Medal; “For heroic service as Diving Officer on board the USS Puffer during the First War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters. When his ship was endangered by temporary loss of depth control caused by damage from the enemy anti-submarine measures, Lieutenant Commander Bernard skillfully effected restoration of control and maintained it for a period of thirty-one hours until the vessel was brought to the surface and into port…”

Chronological Transcript of Service:

Jul 1937 Jun 1939 USS California (BB-44) (Engineering and Gunnery)

Jul 1939 Dec 1939 Submarine School, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut (submarine training)

Feb 1939 Jul 1942 USS S-39 (Engineering, Gunnery, Communications and Executive Officer)

Sep 1942 Apr 1943 Fitting out duty in USS Puffer at Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Apr 1943 Dec 1943 USS Puffer (Engineer Officer)

Dec 1943 Feb 1944 Submarine Squadron SIXTEEN (Relief Crew Commanding Officer)

May 1944 May 1945 USS R-2 (CO)

Jul 1945 Sep 1945 USS Archerfish (SS-311) (Prospective CO)

Sep 1945 Apr 1946 USS Stickleback (SS-415) (CO)

Apr 1946 Jun 1948 USS Brill (SS-330) (CO)

Jul 1948 Jun 1950 Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Ames, Iowa (XO, NROTC Unit)

Jul 1950 May 1951 Naval Reserve Training Center, Baltimore, Maryland, (Inspector-Instructor)

May 1951 Jan 1953 Staff, Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet (Gunnery Officer)

Jan 1953 Apr 1954 Submarine Division TWENTY-TWO (Commander)

May 1954 Jun 1957 Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC (Military Liaison and Study Group)

Jul 1957 Jul 1958 USS Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) (CO)

Aug 1958 Jan 1961 Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama (Instructor at Air War College)

Mar1961 Mar 1962 Submarine Squadron SEVEN (Commander) (additional duty as Flotilla Commander)

Mar 1962 Dec 1963 Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet (Chief of Staff & Aide)

Jan 1964 Jan 1965 Submarine Flotilla ONE (Commander)

Feb 1965 Nov 1967 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department (Director, Ships Material Readiness Division)

Nov 1967 Feb 1969 Commander Submarine Flotilla SIX

Feb 1969 May 1969 Deputy Naval Inspector General, Navy Department

May 1969 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department (Director, Shore Installations Division)

1 June 1971 Transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy

He died March 29, 1997. 

Published: Mon Mar 30 12:12:06 EDT 2020