Edward Lee Foster was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on January 19, 1910, son of James Henry and Mary Cochrane Foster, both now deceased. He was graduated from Tuscaloosa High School and entered the US Naval Academy from Alabama in 1927. Graduated and commissioned Ensign to date from June 4, 1931, he subsequently attained the rank of Commander to date from November 1, 1942.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1931, he was assigned to the USS Bernadou, a unit of Destroyers, Scouting Force. In September of the year following he became Signal Officer, and later also served as Commissary Officer, of the USS Barney, another destroyer of Scouting Force Detached from the Barney in May 1933, he served for three years thereafter as Fifth Division Officer in the USS Arizona operating with Battle Force.
Brief duty as Assistant First Lieutenant of the USS Relief, hospital ship of the Service Force, preceded from July 1937 until May 1938 as Second Division Officer of the USS Whitney, tender for Scouting Force. A tour of duty at the Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, T.H., as Ships Service First Lieutenant, was followed by further sea duty from May 1940 throughout the greater part of World War II, first as Engineer Officer of the USS Craven, until November 1941; as Executive Officer and later in command of the USS McCall, operating with the Pacific Fleet until May 1944; and temporary duty as Prospective Commanding Officer, and later in command of the USS Shannon, also operating in the Pacific, until June 1945.
As Commanding Officer of the USS McCall, he participated in the first Marshall Islands raid; the capture of Kwajalein and Eniwetok; Palau, Yap, Woleai, Second Truk, Satawan, Ponape, raids; and the capture of Hollandia. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” for “meritorious achievement” in that command from February 1943 until May 1944. The citation states, in part: “Operating with Task Force Eleven…. (he) rendered invaluable service in support of the Central Solomons Campaign, and when his ships subsequently became a unit of Task Force Fifty- Eight, contributed materially to our success in Fast Carrier strikes….” On other islands.
He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for service as Commanding Officer of the USS Shannon, destroyer-minelayer, “during the Okinawa operations from March 23, 1945 until June 23, 1945…” during which period his ship served thirty-two days on Transport Screen and Rxdar Picket; and a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal as “Commanding Officer of the USS Shannon, during the Okinawa campaign when his ship went to the assistance of a stricken vessel on May 3, 1945…”
He also received a Letter of Commendation, with authority to wear the Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V,” for distinguished service for the period February 19 to March 8, 1945, during the Iwo Jima operations, when he “directed his ship so as to furnish accurate fire support against the enemy, thereby contributing materially to the success of the campaign by the destruction of enemy personnel, artillery and shore installations…”
Upon his return to the United States in July 1945, he became Training Officer, and later served as Executive Officer, of the Fleet Sonar School, San Diego, California. Detached in July 1947, he was ordered to duty as Commander, Transport Division 111, of the Pacific Fleet. He attended the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, Senior Course, during the period June 1948-May 1949, and for the next three months served in the Planning Division of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Transportation), Navy Department. In October 1949 he was ordered to the newly-established Military Sea Transportation Service, Washington, DC, as Head of the Mobilization and Code Branch, Planning Division.
In addition to the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Gold Star and Combat “V,” and the Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V,” Commander Foster has the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific campaign Medal with six engagement stars; and the World War II Victory Medal.