Duncan Angus Campbell was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on March 5, 1914, son of Archie A. and Pearl (Hiland) Campbell. He was graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1932, and St. John’s University, he was a member of the State Champion Intercollegiate Football and Hockey Teams. After a year as District Director of Recreation in Central Minnesota, he enlisted in October 1937 in the Naval Reserve. Appointed Aviation Cadet on November 3, 1937, he was designated Naval Aviator year later, and on August 24, 1939, was commissioned Ensign, USNR, to date from June 1, 1939. Transferring to the US Navy in February 1941, he attained the rank of Captain, USN, to date from July 1, 1957.
Upon completion of flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, in November 1938, he was assigned to Patrol Squadron One, later redesignated patrol Squadron One Hundred One, and served as Assistant Engineering Officer of that squadron until August 1939. During that period he participated in the first Trans-Pacific Mats flight of PBY-type aircraft to the Philippines in August 1938. For almost three years he served as Assistant Gunnery Officer of Patrol Squadron One Hundred One and after the outbreak of World War II in December 1941 was a Patrol Plane Commander while his squadron was a unit of Patrol Wing Ten. As such he rescued one Navy and two Army Air Force plane crews downed at sea, and participated in the defense of the Philippines, the Battle of the Java Sea, and the Battle of Makassar Strait.
He received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon, from the Commander in Chief, US Asiatic Fleet, for rescuing a patrol plane crew near the Island of Jolo, Philippine Islands, December 28, 1941, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with citation to follow:
“For extraordinary flying achievement in an aerial flight, for courage and devotion to duty as Commanding Officer of a PBY type airplane in successfully rescuing the members of the crew of another PBY type plane which had been crippled by enemy fighters during a raid on Jolo Harbor, Sulu, Philippine Islands, on December 27, 1941, and for continuous hazardous flying in the Makassar Straits and night reconnaissance flight during the Battle in the Java Sea”.
From May 1942 until July 1943 he served as Operations Officer Transitional Training Squadron, Atlantic, and for three months thereafter was Executive Officer of that Squadron. In November 1943 he reported as Training Center of Headquarters Squadron Five, and organized the replacement crew training program for PB4Y Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadrons operating in England, then from December 1944 throughout the remaining war period was Commanding Officer of Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Ten. He received the Order of the British Empire for his conduct of Anti-submarine warfare under the Coastal Command of the Royal Air Force, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal, with citation following:
Bronze Star Medal: “For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Ten during operations against enemy forces in the English Channel and the Western Approaches to the British Isles from January 12 to May 30, 1945. Maintaining his air crews in a high state of readiness and skillfully directing numerous anti-submarine attacks during this period, Lieutenant Commander Campbell contributed materially to the protection of Allied shipping necessary to the defeat of Germany…”
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Patrol Bomber during operations against enemy forces in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, from January 7 to May 5, 1945. Participating in the antisubmarine patrols, Lieutenant Commander Campbell fulfilled his assigned missions despite adverse weather conditions, thereby contributing materially to the curtailment of enemy U-Boat activities during the Battle of the Atlantic…”
Detached from Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Ten in October 1945, he served until January 1946 as Personnel Officer of the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, Seattle, and remained on that staff until June 1946 as Operations Officer. In July of that year he reported for instruction at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, and was graduated in June 1947. During the next year he served as Executive Officer of USS Floyds Bay (AVP-40), which made a World Cruise and spent ten months in China-Japan waters. From July 1948 until June 1949 he was a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and for two years was a member of the Staff, assigned to the Strategy and Tactics Department.
Duty as Executive Officer of Air Transport Squadron Two, based at Alameda, California, preceded his assignment to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC, in July 1953. There he was Head of the Aviation Programs Branch until August 1955. In September he joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet, as Aviation Logistics Officer, serving in that capacity until August 1957, when he returned to the Naval Operations, as Head, Transportation Plans Section of the Strategic Plans Division.
He reported in July for instruction at the National War College, Washington, DC, and in June 1960 completed the course. He next served as Chief of the Naval Section Military Assistance Advisory Group, France, with headquarters in Paris, where he negotiated the first international Navy spare parts agreements with other Navies. In August 1963, he returned to the National War College, for duty on the Staff and for distinguished service in that assignment from August 1963 to May 1965 was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He also received the National Air Station, Alameda, California, in June 1965 and in April 1967 was ordered detached for duty in the Twelfth Naval District, headquartered in San Francisco, California.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, with Combat “V,” Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Commendation Ribbon, Captain Campbell has the Ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation (with Star) to Patrol Squadron 101 for heroic action from December 9, 1941 to March 3, 1942, in the Netherlands East Indies an the Philippine Areas; and the British decoration, “Order of the British Empire.” He also has the American Defense Service Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three operations stars; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal (extended); National Defense Service Medal, with bronze star; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon.