Fred Charles Fluegel was born in New York, New York, on March 27, 1900, son of Richard and Christine (Bertheau) Fluegel. He attended the High School of Commerce in New York City, and during World War I served as a Quartermaster Third Class in the US Navy. After the cessation of hostilities, he entered the US Merchant Marine and for seventeen years had duty as a ship’s officer aboard freighters, tankers, and passenger vessels. This service culminated with three years as Senior Watch Officer of SS Leviathan and two years as Chief Officer of the SS California (later the SS Uraguay) of the Moore-McCormack Lines. He was a licensed Master Mariner (unlimited certificate) and was a licensed pilot for the harbors of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu, and Hilo.
On April 25, 1929 he entered the US Naval Reserve, and on October 7, 1940 was called to active duty as a Lieutenant (jg). He subsequently advanced in rank until his promotion to Captain to date from August 1, 1943, transferring on September 11, 1946 to the U. S. Navy.
Reporting for active duty in 1940, he joined USS Arcturus as Navigator and was so serving when the United States entered World War II, December 8, 1941. Detached from that attack cargo ship in May 1942, he became Administrative Officer of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York. He remained there until March 1943, when he assumed command of the newly-commissioned auxiliary transport LaSalle.
“For exceptionally meritorious conduct. . .as Commanding Officer of USS LaSalle during the planning, staging and execution of the amphibious assault on Saipan, Palau, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf and Luzon, from June 14, 1944 to January 9, 1945. . .” he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”. The citation further states: “Serving with distinction throughout this period, Captain Fluegel maintained his ship at peak operating efficiency at all times and, during the actual assaults, skillfully carried out his assigned tasks. . (he) enabled the troops and cargo to be expeditiously unloaded, thereby contributing immeasurably to the success of these extended amphibious operations. . .”
Relieved of command of the LaSalle in July 1945, he became Port Director, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California. He continued to serve in that duty until April 1947, and following a short assignment at the Naval Training Station, Washington, DC, reported in July of the same year, for instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Completing the course there in June 1948, he hoined the staff of Commander Service Squadron ONE, Service Force, US Pacific Fleet, as Chief Staff Officer.
From September 1949 to August 1950 he served as Chief of Staff and Chief of the Logistics Section, Naval Group, American Mission for Aid to Greece, after which he reported as Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel on the staff of the Commandant, Sixth Naval District, Charleston, South Carolina.
In March 1952 he reported as Chief Staff Officer to the Commander Military Sea Transportation Service, North Pacific Sub Area, with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, and in August of that same year became Commanding Officer of the US Naval Reserve Training Center, Chicago, Illinois. He continued to serve as such until March 1954, when he was ordered to command of USS General W. A. Mann (TAP 112).
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, Captain Fluegel has the World War I Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp; American Defense Service Medal with bronze “A”; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and three bronze stars (eight engagements); the World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars; and the Philippine Independence Ribbon. He has also been awarded the Order of the Phoenix (rank of Commander) from the Government of Greece for his assistance to the Greek Navy, 1949-1950, while attached to the Navy Group of the American Mission for Aid to Greece.