J. Stephen Ungar was born in New York, NY, on 22 September 1902, son of Julius and Ethel Husth Ungar. He attended Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was graduated from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He subsequently was employed as Performance Engineer for Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., responsible for performance observations and reports on all equipment of the steam, gas, and electrical production plants of the company. There he was also in charge of the bureau responsible for design recommendations and performance of equipment.
He was commissioned Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve on 13 July 1942, and began active service on 20 August 1942, during the early period of World War II. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in October 1944, and Commander (spot promotion) in December 1945, and was made permanent Commander, USNR, to date from 1 July 1950.
After a period of indoctrination at Fort Schuyler, New York, from August to October 1942, he was assigned to the US Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he served as Ship’s Superintendent (New Construction) for a year. There he assisted in the completion of USS New Jersey (BB-62) and in the training of her engineering crew in operations of machinery. From October 1943 until February 1945 he was Electrical and Machinery Officer (New Construction) there, in charge of all electrical and machinery installations and operations on the battleship Wisconsin, the aircraft carriers Princeton, Antietam, and Valley Forge, and the cruisers Chicago and Los Angeles, and on turbo and diesel electric driven destroyer escort vessels.
During the latter months of the war period, and until August 1946, he remained at the Philadelphia Yard with duty as New Construction Officer (Electric and Machinery), with additional duties as Officer in Charge of piping and electrical contractors working in the Yard on combatant ships; and in the Sun Shipyard (private yard) on emergency repairs and conversion of two cargo attack ships. Released to inactive duty status in August 1946, he was Commanding Officer of URNR Organized Surface Battalion 3-30, at Yonkers, New York, from August 1948 until July 1951. Since that time he had been Inspector of Naval Material, Bridgeport, Connecticut, responsible for the organization of US Naval Reserve Material 3-5, as collateral duty.
For his service in the war period he received a Letter of Commendation from the Chief of the Bureau of Ships. At the Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, he had charge of the construction of an Experimental Steam Driven PC-Boat which was run by high temperature and high pressure steam (950F. and 1000 pounds per square inch pressure). A moving picture, “You’re in the Navy Now”, was made around the operating experiences of this vessel.
Commander Ungar had the Naval Reserve Medal, for more than ten years’ service in the US Naval Reserve; the American Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.
A Licensed Professional Engineer in New York, Commander Ungar was a member of the Holy Name Society of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, New York; the City Club of Yonkers; and the New York Gas Association.