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Adapted from "Rear Admiral Charles Frederic Fielding, United States Navy" [biography, dated 17 November 1947] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Communications--Visual –Signals, Radio and Voice
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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  • NHHC-Library

Charles Frederick Fielding

29 August 1889-24 July 1962

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Rear Admiral Fielding was born in Newport, Rhode Island, August 29, 1889. He attended public school in Newport, first enlisted in the US Navy in March 1906, was progressed through various enlisted rating until he was warranted gunner (radio) on January 4, 1917. Commissioned Ensign on August 15, 1917, he subsequently progressed in grade until his promotion to Captain, June 16, 1942, and Rear Admiral November 1, 1946.

In January 1917, Rear Admiral Fielding was assigned duty as assistant to the fleet radio officer aboard USS Pennsylvania, flagship of the Commander of Chief, Atlantic Fleet, and in May was transferred to duty as division radio gunner in USS Alabama, flagship of Division 1, Battleship Force. From November of that year until April 1919 he was an instructor in the Naval Radio School, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In April 1919 he rejoined the Pennsylvania for radio duty and in October 1920 again was assigned duty as assistant to the fleet radio officer and aide on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, serving in that assignment until May 1921 when he was transferred to duty as Communication Officer, Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island.

From December 1921 until August 1923, Rear Admiral Fielding was Officer in Charge, Naval Radio Station, Otter Cliffs, Maine, and following duty as anti- aircraft battery officer and 16” turret officer of the battleship Colorado until June 1926, was under instruction in radio engineering at the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, for two years. He was radio officer of USS Wyoming from October 1928 until July 1930 when he was transferred to duty as Squadron radio officer of Destroyer Squadron 7, Scouting Fleet, later redesignated Destroyer Squadron 1, Scouting Force. Detached from that assignment in July 1931 he served as District Radio Material Officer, Third Naval District, New York, New York, until April 1933 when he returned to sea, commanding the USS Brooks for three years.

Rear Admiral Fielding was on duty in the Communication Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, from June 1936 until July 1938. In October of that year he assumed command of USS Pecos, with additional duty as Commander, Train, Asiatic Fleet, serving in that assignment until August 1940. Returning to the United States, he again had duty in the Communication Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, from October 1940 until June 1943. On July 1, 1943, he assumed command of USS Milwaukee which was operating in the South Atlantic. Early in December of that year she crossed the Atlantic to Sierra Leona, West Africa, in the course of her patrols in search of enemy blockade runners which might try to slip through the South Atlantic narrows, and several months later was ordered to duty with the Atlantic Fleet in northern waters.

For his services in command of the Milwaukee, which extended to March 7, 1944, Rear Admiral Fielding received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon, from the Commander in Chief, US Fleet, with the following citation:

Letter of Commendation:

“In a position of major responsibility as Commanding Officer, USS Milwaukee, you demonstrated initiative, foresight, and tact in executing a difficult mission in a highly commendatory manner. The successful accomplishment of this task won for you the full confidence and respect of the foreign officials with whom you were associated, and reflected high credit upon you and the officers and crew of Milwaukee. By the successful completion of this duty, you contributed to the cordial relations between the United States and certain foreign nations with whom you were required to make contact, and which had a material effort on the coordinated efforts of the United Nations in the prosecution of the war.”

In June 1944, Rear Admiral Fielding reported for duty as communication officer on the staff of the Commander, Eighth Fleet, and for his services in that assignment during the amphibious invasion of Southern France was awarded the Legion of Merit with following citation:

Legion of Merit:

“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as Communication Officer on the staff of a major Naval Task Force Commander prior to and during the amphibious invasion of Southern France in August 1944. Captain Fielding, exercising professional skill to a high degree and untiring energy, coordinated the complex overall communications plans for the assault and subsequent operations involving the seaborne movement, landing and maintence of the Allied Armies by large scale naval forces. During the course of these operations, he was directly responsible for the handling of a tremendous volume of urgent operational traffic and the orderly and rapid manner in which this task was accomplished, thereby providing for the effective control of these forces. His generally alert and expert supervision of the functioning of the communication system throughout the critical assault period contributed materially to the success of the landing and the proper maintenance of the rapidly advancing invasion forces in Southern France. The exceptional skill, resourcefulness, and outstanding devotion to duty displayed by Captain Fielding reflected credit upon himself and the Naval Service.”

In April 1945, Rear Admiral Fielding was ordered to return to the United States and report to the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC, for temporary duty with the Selection Board. In July 1945 he was ordered to duty as Commander, Net Depot, Newport, Rhode Island. On November 1, 1946 he was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy in the rank of Rear Admiral.

In addition to the Legion of Merit, and the Commendation Ribbon, Rear Admiral Fielding has the Cuban Pacification Medal (Enlisted Service), the Victory Medal, the China Service Medal (USS Pecos), and is entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, (USS Pecos), and the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal. He also has the Good Conduct Medal for enlisted service, and is also entitled to the World War II Victory Medal.


Published: Tue May 11 12:45:21 EDT 2021