Edward Sanger Fleming was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 1, 1912, son of Lester E. and Xenia Ann (Flanders) Fleming. He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1934. For two years thereafter he worked in the Technical Design Department of Newport News (Virginia) Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. From 1936 to March 1941 he was employed in the Hull Technical Department of the Shipbuilding Division of Bethlehem Steel Company at Quincy, Masschusetts.
Prior to his Naval Service he gave lectures in a course in “Strength of Ships” sponsored by the American Society of Shipbuilders and Designers, entitled “Design of Rigging,” and “Bulkhead Design,” and in a course on “Naval Architecture,” lectured on “Special Types of Vessels.” On November 28, 1940, he received a commendatory letter from the Chief of the Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, as follows”
“1. The Bureau acknowledge receipt of the interesting description for a rotating type of deck edge airplane elevator proposed by Lieutenant (jg) Edward S. Fleming. The initiative and ingenuity exhibited in this proposal are most commendable.
Commissioned Assistant Naval Constructor, Lieutenant (jg), in the U.S Naval Reserve on February 7, 1940, he was called to active duty on March 10, 1941, after a period of inactive status. Through subsequent advancement and his transfer from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy in 1946, he attained the rank of Captain, US Navy, to date from May 1, 1956.
Reporting for active duty in March 1941, he was assigned to the Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was on duty at the outbreak of World War II in December of that year. He then served throughout most of the war period as Officer in Charge of the George Lawley Lead Yard for LCI (L) and LCS (L) Programs there, and received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon, from the Secretary of the Navy, as follows:
“For outstanding performance of duty as Officer in Charge of Shipbuilding at the George Lawley and Sons Corporation, under the Office of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Bureau of Ships, from the beginning of World War II to August 1945. Discharging his responsibilities with outstanding administrative ability and resourceful initiative, Commander Fleming effectively directed the greatly expand shipbuilding programs assigned to this yard. Competently supervising the planning, material procurement, production, outfitting and inspection of all patrol, service, and landing craft under construction, he insured the expeditious and timely delivery of these vessels vital to the Fleet during this critical period.
From July until May 1950 he served in the Boston Naval Shipyard, serving as Shipbuilding Superintendent, Progress Officer, Shop Superintendent and Planning-Estimating Superintendent. After attending the Salvage School at Bayonne, New Jersey, he had sea duty as Assistant Material Officer, and later Material Officer on the Staff of Commander Service Force, U.S Atlantic Fleet, and during that period also served as Force Salvage Officer. He next reported to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, to serve as Head of the Auxiliary Branch, Bureau of Ships (Code 517), and in June 1957 was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, for duty as Senior Hull Member of the Board of Inspection and Survey.
On March 4, 1958, he was again ordered to sea, this time as Senior Assistant Fleet Material Officer on the Staff of Commander Service Force, US Pacific Fleet.
In addition to the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Fleming has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.
His is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the American Society of Naval Engineers.