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Adapted from "Rear Admiral Archibald E. Uehlinger, United States Navy, Retired" [biography, dated 27 May 1959] in Biographies, 20th century collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Uehlinger, Archibald Emil

16 July 1898 - 10 July 1981

Archibald Emil Uehlinger was born in Kalispell, Montana, on 16 July 1898, son of John Emil and Elizabeth Kirk Uehlinger. He attended Flaghead County High School, and entered the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on appointment from Montana, on 2 July 1918. He was graduated and commissioned Ensign on 2 June 1922, and subsequently attained the rank of Captain, to date from 21 June 1942. On 30 June 1952, he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy, and advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of Combat Citation.

After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1922, he joined USS Chaumont for passage to the Pacific Fleet Headquarters, where he was assigned to the Pacific Coast. There he reported for duty on board USS Farragut, in which he served as a junior officer until April 1924. During the next four years he was assigned to USS Zellin, a destroyer of Division ONE, Battle Fleet, after which he had instruction in Ordnance Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, and the Navy Yard, Washington, DC.

He had brief duty under instruction in USS Nevada in the summer of 1931, and on 31 August, that year, joined USS Oklahoma for duty. Detached from that battleship, which operated with Battleship Division One, Battle Fleet, he reported in June 1934 to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, for a tour of duty in the Bureau of Ordnance. In July and August 1936 he assisted in fitting out USS Cushing at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, and served as her Executive Officer from her commissioning, 28 August, of that year, until October 1937, while she operated under the Chief of Naval Operations.

From November 1937 until May 1939 he was assigned to USS Medusa, a repair ship of the Train, Base Force, after which he had a second tour of duty in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, remaining there after the outbreak of World War II in December 1941. In January 1942 he was ordered to duty in connection with fitting out of USS South Dakota, and from her commissioning on 20 March, that year, until May 1943 served on board that battleship, known during her service with the THIRD and FIFTH Fleets in the Pacific, as Battleship X, first as Gunnery Officer, later Executive Officer.

Rear Admiral (then Captain) Uehlinger was awarded the Silver Star Medal "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Executive Officer of the USS SOUTH DAKOTA, during action against enemy Japanese naval forces off Savo Island Solomon Islands, on the night of November 14-15, 1942..." The citation further states:

“When his battle station was severely struck by five enemy shells which killed or wounded most of the men in that area, Commander Uehlinger steadfastly remained at his post and continued to fight despite the danger of scalding from ruptured steam lines or burning in the fires which had cut off all chance of escape. His skillful seamanship throughout and his loyal devotion to duty under extremely adverse conditions contributed immeasurably to his men and inspired them in keeping the battle station efficiently manned throughout an important engagement."

Fitting out USS General G. O. Squier (AP-130) at Puget Sound he commanded that transport from her commissioning, October 1943 to April 1944. During the latter period of the war he served as Ordnance Planning Officer at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, and received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon, from the Secretary of the Navy, which follows in part:

“For exceptionally meritorious Ordnance Planning Officer, Industrial Department, Puget Sound Navy Yard, during the last sixteen months of World War II, he was responsible for the planning of all work in connection with repairs, alterations and design of ordnance and ordnance repair equipment. Responsible for designs of a small alteration to battleship turret controls which markedly increased reliability and firing rate, his thorough planning and extensive experience, both in combat and in design and manufacture, and tireless diligence in discharging the responsibilities of his position assured the great success of the Puget Sound Navy Yard in rapidly returning ships to the battle line..."

After the war he remained at the Puget Sound Navy Yard as Ordnance Officer, under orders of 23 January 1946, and in March reported for temporary duty in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He received a second Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy, authorizing a star for his Commendation Ribbon, as follows:

"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as Officer in Charge of the Bureau of Ordnance Instrumentation Group from April 10 to August 26, 1946. His profound knowledge of ordnance and discriminating appreciation of the objectives and meaning of the CROSSROADS Operation were brought to him with full force during the planning phases of the operation. In the field his high qualifications of leadership and devotion to duty were an inspiration to his subordinates. His restless and inquiring mind fathered novel types of experiments which led to knowledge of the structure of Bikini Atoll and better methods of installing instruments. As Senior Representative of the Commander, Joint Task Force ONE, he conducted the business of the Technical Division of the Task Force with efficiency and precision..."

In August 1946 he was ordered to sea as Commanding Officer of USS Amsterdam (CL-101), and in April 1947 had orders to return to the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy department, for duty. Two years later he became Officer in Charge of the Naval Unit at White Sands Proving Ground (Army) at Las Cruces, New Mexico, where Viking rockets were built and launched under a long range development project of the Naval Research Laboratory. Under orders of 8 October 1951, he was named Commanding Officer, Naval Ordnance Missile Test Facility, White Sands Proving Grounds, Las Cruces, and served as such until 30 June 1952, the effective date of his transfer to the Retired List of the US Navy.

In addition to the Silver Star Medal and the Commendation Ribbon with Star, Rear Admiral Uehlinger had the American Defense Service Medal; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with operation stars; American Campaign Medal; and World War II Victory Medal.

Rear Admiral Uehlinger was married on 5 February 1927, to Miss Maran H. Clark of Portland, Oregon, at Coronado, California. He passed away 10 July 1981 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

Published: Thu Feb 28 09:38:35 EST 2019