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Adapted from "Commander Claude M. Fligg, United States Navy" [biography, dated 22 July 1948] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

Topic
  • Awards and Medals
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Library

Claude M. Fligg

27 September 1904-6 May 1957

Commander Fligg was born on September 27, 1904, at Hood River, Oregon. He attended the Dallas (Oregon) High School and received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington in June 1930. He was graduated from the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at the University of Washington, in June 1931, and was commissioned as Ensign in the Naval Reserve on June 18, 1931. Called to active duty on August 9, 1941, he served in the Naval Reserve until September 27, 1946, at which time he accepted an appointment as permanent Lieutenant and temporary Commander in the Regular.

From 1935 until called to active duty in 1941, Commander Fligg was a member of the Organized Reserve serving with Organized Reserve Division in Seattle, Washington (Second Division) 1935; Norfolk, Virginia (Fifth Division) 1935-1937; Newport New, Virginia (Sixth Division) 1937-1938; and Santa Barbara, California (Sixth Division) 1938-1940.

Upon reporting for active duty in August 1941, Commander Fligg command the USS Limpkin and USS YMS 13 until 1943, when he transferred to duty on the staff of Commander Mine Division Seventeen, as Chief Staff Officer. Between April 1943 and October 1944, he served as Operations Officer and Chief Staff Officer on the staff of Commander Escort Sweeper Group, Eighth Fleet, and for service in this assignment was awarded the Legion of Merit and cited as follows:

Legion of Merit: (With Combat “V”)

“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as assistant to the Mine Division Commander and subsequently as Chief Staff Officer of the Escort Sweeper Group, Eighth Fleet  during a period of almost continual offensive operations against the enemy in the Central Mediterranean from April 1943 to October 1944.

“Lieutenant Commander Fligg, with great professional skill and resourcefulness, ably planned and directed the training and outfitting of minesweeper groups prior to the invasions of Sicily and Salerno. Subsequently, as Chief Staff Officer of the Escort Sweeper Group, he successfully developed such an efficient system of progressive maintenance and repair for ships of the Group that despite the exacting and constant operational demands of the follow-up phase of the Anzio landings, a high state of personnel and material readiness was maintained at all times. By his initiative and unremitting efforts, he was largely responsible for the ability of the Escort Sweeper Group to fulfill completely an extensive and strenuous operating schedule, and to carry out successfully its assigned missions during the invasion of Southern France.

“The extraordinary ability, sound judgment and outstanding devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Commander Fligg reflected great credit upon and the Naval Service.”

During the early part of 1945, Commander Fligg commanded Mine Squadron One Hundred and Four, operating in the Western Carolines, and during the remaining art of that year and until 1946 served as Assistant Operations Officer on the staff of Commander, Minecraft, Pacific Feet, receiving the Bronze Star Medal and a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Bronze Star Medal for services in the above assignment with the following citations:

Bronze Star Medal: With Combat “V”)

“For meritorious achievement in connection with operations against the enemy, while serving as Assistant Operations Officer and Staff Navigator of the Commander, Minecraft, United States Pacific Fleet, from 10 June 1945 through August 1945. His wide experience in Minesweeping and Minecraft coupled with his keen ability and analytical approach to minesweeping problems, have made him an invaluable Assistant to the Operations Officer during three large scale minesweeping operations in the East China Sea.  His ability to check all of the many small details so necessary to staging and conducting these minesweeping operations in the open sea has been outstanding. He has contributed greatly to the success of the operations by his initiative and diligence in maintaining the efficiency of the Operations Department of this Command. The care and perseverance with which the various plans were executed, in spite of interruptions by bad weather, material failures, and imminence of enemy aerial attack, were a real achievement.”

Gold Star in lieu of a Second Bronze Star Medal:

“For meritorious  service in connection with minesweeping operations in the Western Pacific while serving as Assistant Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Minecraft, US Pacific Fleet, from 1 September 1945 to 7 March 1946. During this period a large number of sweep groups were organized and opened in the mined areas and waters of the Japanese Empire. His experience, ability, and devotion to duty in the complex work of organizing and safely routing these groups contributed greatly to the success of these operations, which were conducted to clear the ports of the Japanese Empire for safe entry of the United States Occupation Forces and Allied shipping. His outstanding performance of duty in a responsible position was at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Services. “

In September 1946, Commander Fligg reported as Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the USS Philadelphia and upon detachment from Phil in February 1947 had six months instruction at the Navy Damage Control School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of his instruction he transferred to the USS Helena in April 1947 and on April 9, 1938, was ordered to duty in command of the USS Chevalier.

In addition to the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal with Gold Star, Commander Fliggs has the Naval Reserve Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, and is entitled to American Area Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with one bronze star and the World War II Victory Medal.

END

Published: Fri May 28 10:04:44 EDT 2021