Edward William Behm was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 23, 1922, son of William C. and Sarah George Behm. He attended Manual Arts High School in that city, had a year at the University of California at Los Angeles, and on June 27, 1941, entered the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, with the Class of 1945. Graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science and commissioned Ensign on June 7, 1944 (accelerated course due to war emergency), he subsequently advanced to the rank of Captain to date from August 1, 1965.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1944, he remained there on duty in the Executive Department until September, and from October 1944, during the latter months of World War II hostilities, and until December 1947, was assigned to USS Tucson (CLA-98). He first had pre-commissioning duty, then served thirty-four months on board that cruiser as Second Division Officer, F-Division Officer and Communications Officer, participating in action when his ship was a unit of the THIRD Fleet in operations against the Japanese homeland in July and August 1945.
He attended the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, for a brief period, and in February 1948 was assigned to USS Catamount (LSD-17) as Gunnery Officer. In June of that year he was transferred to the Pocono (AGC-16) and served as her Boat Officer during a Special Middle East Cruise which ended in September. From October 1948 to June 1949 he served again in the Catamount, this time as Gunnery Officer and Navigator, and during the year to follow he was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, completing the course in Applied Communications. While there he had special additional duty as Navigator of the USNA Yacht Vamarie in the Newport-Bermuda Race in 1950.
Duty from July until December 1950 in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, preceded his assignment, which extended to September 1952, as Communications Officer on the Staff of the Commander Cruiser Division FOUR. He served in Korean waters as Operations Officer of USS L. F. Mason (DD-852) until June 1954, and for the following two years was Assistant Professor of Naval Science and Ordnance Instructor in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit of the University of Southern California. In July 1956 he joined USS Walker (DDE-517), and served as her Executive Officer until February 1958, when he assumed command of USS McGinty (DE-365).
In August 1959 he was assigned as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet and from October 1960 until March 1963 was Assistant Director of the Communication Operations and Readiness Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He assumed command of USS Agerholm (DD-826), in April 1963 and “for meritorious service during the period August 28, 1964 to January 23, 1965 as Commanding Officer of USS Agerholm (DD-826), a unit of the USS SEVENTH Fleet in the Western Pacific Ocean Area…” he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal. The citation continues: “During this period of international tensions and crises, (he) steamed his twenty-year-old ship more than 31,000 miles and fulfilled and assigned commitments in a most creditable manner, including patrol duty in the Taiwan Straits, antisubmarine warfare operations, search and rescue efforts, and support of shore bombardment exercises…”
In April 1965 he reported as Commanding Officer of the Navy Radio Frequency Spectrum Activity, Washington, DC, and in November 1967 assumed command of USS Union (AKA-106).
In addition to the Navy Commendation Medal, Captain Behm has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one operation star; the World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia and Europe Clasps; China Service Medal (extended); National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal with star; United Nations Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with star; and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.
He is a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and USNA Class of 1945 Association, and is a Master Mason. His chief recreation is sailing.