Irwin Forest Beyerly was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on June 24, 1905, the son of W. J. Beyerly and Mrs. (Artie A. Sigle) Beyerly. He attended the Chillicothe High School before his appointment to the US Naval Academy from the Eleventh District of his native state in 1924. While a midshipman he played Class, Company, and B-Squad football. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 7, 1928, he subsequently attained the rank of Captain to date from March 25, 1945.
After graduation in 1928, he served successively in USS Pennsylvania and USS Oklahoma until January 1930 when he reported to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for instruction. From July 1930 until April 1935 he had consecutive duty in USS Henry County, USS Yarnall, USS Alden, USS Avocet, USS Oglala and USS Quail.
Between June 1935 and June 1938 he was under instruction in Aerological engineering at the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, receiving the degree of Master of Science from the latter in June 1938. He then served until July 1939 as Aerological Officer on the staff of Commander Patrol Wing Four, Aircraft, Scouting Force, and from August 1939 until December 1940 as Aerological Officer aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger. Following duty at the Naval Air Station, Anacostia, DC, he reported in March 1941 as Aerological Officer on the Staff of the Commander, Patrol Wing Six, with additional duty as Aerological Officer at the Naval Air Station, Alameda, California.
In July 1941, he was assigned duty as Aerological Officer on the staff of the Commander Patrol Wing 1, (later redesignated Commander Patrol Wings, Pacific Fleet). Detached from that assignment in May 1942, he reported in July for duty as Aerological Officer on the staff of Commander Aircraft, South Pacific. In February 1943 he was ordered to duty as Officer in Charge, Navy Weather Central, San Francisco, California, and in May 1943 was assigned duty as Aerological Officer with the US Naval Forces in China. In April 1944 he became Chief of Staff to the Commander, US Naval Group, China, and later became Commander of that group.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service while on duty with the US Naval Group in China. The citations follow, in part:
Bronze Star Medal: “For meritorious achievements as Aerological Officer to the United States Naval Observer in China from June 30, 1943 to April 20, 1944. Displaying resourcefulness, initiative and administrative ability in the fulfillment of a difficult assignment, (he) personally training and equipped over 1,000 Chinese radio operators and secret agents as weather observers prior to the establishment of a large and diversified network of weather reporting stations throughout enemy-occupied and unoccupied areas of China…..”
Distinguished Service Medal; “For exceptionally meritorious service…..as Chief of Staff, United States Naval Group, China, and as Commander United States Naval Group Eastern China, from April 20, 1944 to September 2, 1945. Expertly coordinating the function of his two groups (he) was instrumental in maintaining joint United States Naval and Chinese Guerrilla combat operations, and offensive sabotage action within enemy-held territory, developing and directing activities which resulted in neutralizing numerous Japanese strong points in eastern and central China with great loss to the enemy…..”
He was also awarded the Army Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service during the period from September 4, 1945 to November 24, 1945.”
In October 1946 he joined the staff of Commander Naval Air Transport Service, Moffett Field, California. In September 1948 was transferred to the staff of Commander, Naval Forces, Western Pacific, with additional duty on the staff of Commander Seventh Task Fleet. In November 1949 he assumed command of the USS Oberon (AKA 14), his present assignment.
In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal; the Legion of Merit (Army) and the Bronze Star Medal, Captain Beyerly has the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the China Service Medal. He has also been awarded the Order of Yun Hui (Cloud and Banner) from the Government of China.
He died December 19, 1979.