Commander Etter was born on January 29, 1910, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of James H. Etter and Mrs. Nora Overhultz Etter. He attended Chattanooga High School, and was graduated from the Georgia School of Technology at Atlanta with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1932.
As a civilian, Commander Etter was employed as a Clerk and Inspector of Construction with the Chattanooga Post Office Department; was in charge of design and Superintendent of Construction in the Architectural Division of the State Highway Department; and for five and one half years was with the firm of Shreve, Anderson and Walker, Engineers and Architects of Detroit, Michigan, as Assistant to the Head of the Architectural Department in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to being called to active duty, he was District Manager of the W.F. Jackson Company, Inc., of Atlantic, Georgia,
Appointed an Ensign in the Civil Engineer Crops of the US Naval Reserve in June 1932, for training duty only, Commander Etter attained his present rank of Commander to date from November 5, 1945. On October 2, 1946, he was transferred to the Regular Navy.
Called to active duty in June 1941, Commander Etter served for six months at the section base, San Francisco, California. In January 1942 he was assigned duty in the Bureau of yards and Docks, navy Department, Washington, DC, and in May 1945 reported for duty with the Officer in charge of the Naval Ordnance Plant, Shumaker, Arkansas. He remained in that assignment until January 1946, when he returned to the Bureau of yards and Docks. While attached to that Bureau he had temporary additional duty in Cairo, Egypt, in connection with the construction of the Naval Medical Research Unit #3. In March 1948, he reported as Assistant Public Works Officer in the Tenth Naval District, San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he is presently serving.
Commander Etter has received a Letter of Commendation from the Assistant Secretary of Naval for service as Senior Officer of the Secretary’s Committee on Public Works Projects.
In addition to the Letter of Commendation, Commander Etter has the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign medal and the World War II Victory Medal.