May 7

Presidential Escort to Alaska

Thursday, May 7, 2020 12:00 AM

By

VADM Bernhard H. Bieri Sr., USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Bernhard H. Bieri Sr., USN (Ret.) U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive

 

VADM Bieri graduated from the Naval Academy in 1911. Between 1911 and 1919, he served in the USS Delaware (BB-28), Nashville (PG-7), Montana (ACR-13), Virginia (BB-13), and Texas (BB-35). Among his further assignments were duty as aide to Rear Admiral Augustus Fechteler; command of the USS Bailey (DD-269) and Destroyer Division 29; sonic survey of the West Coast in the USS Hull (DD-330); survey of the Alaskan cable from Seattle to Seward; various staff duties; and command of the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CL-29). He was on the staff of Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. After World War II, as a vice admiral, Bieri commanded the Tenth Fleet in the Atlantic and then became Commander U.S. Naval Forces Mediterranean, a forerunner of the Sixth Fleet. He had a tour as Commandant of the 11th Naval District and then was senior naval member on a committee serving the UN Security Council. Vice Admiral Bieri retired in 1951. The final interview in his memoir is devoted to his service with Admiral King.

In this audio excerpt from his oral history, Vice Admiral Bieri describes the naval escort of a trip to Alaska by President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding and other dignitaries in 1923. While Harding was normally pleasant, the vice admiral observed, on this trip, “The President appeared very grumpy.”

 

USS Corry (DD -334)

USS Corry (DD -334)
U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive

 

 

To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/press/oral-histories.