Edward Gingrich was born in Dodge City, Kansas, on 23 February
1897, son of Edward G. and Bertha (Allen) Gingrich. He attended
the University of Kansas in Lawrence, before his appointment
to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from his native
state in 1916. He was graduated and commissioned Ensign
on 7 June 1919, with the Class of 1920, and through subsequent
promotions attained the rank of Vice Admiral, to date from
30 July 1953. On 1 October 1954, he was transferred to the
Retired List of the US Navy, and was advanced to the rank
of Admiral on the basis of combat awards.
graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1919, he was
assigned to the USS Pennsylvania, and from January 1920
until July 1921 served as Assistant Communications Officer
on the Staff of Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, still
attached to the Pennsylvania, flagship. In August 1921
he was transferred to duty in the USS Maryland, in which
he served until June 1925. He then returned to the Naval
Academy where he was an instructor in the Department of
Navigation for two years.
May of 1927, he joined the USS Rochester, and served as
Gunnery Officer of that cruiser until July 1930. For two
years thereafter he had duty in connection with the Naval
Reserve Officers' Training Corps Unit, Northwestern University,
Evanston, Illinois. He commanded the USS Algorma from
June 1932 until April 1934 when he was transfered to the
USS Indianapolis to serve until June 1935. After a tour
of duty in the Hydrographic Office, Navy Department, Washington,
DC, he returned to sea to serve as Aide and Flag Secretary
on the Staff of Commander Battleship Division 3, Battle
Force, USS Idaho flagship; and a third year as Navigator
of the USS New Mexico.
in August 1940 to the Navy Department, Washington, DC,
he served as Aide to the Undersecretary of the Navy until
May 1944, and as Aide to the Secretary of the Navy, from
May until July 1944. He received a Letter of Commendation,
with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon, from
the Secretary of the Navy as follows: "For outstanding
services as Aide to the Undersecretary of the Navy...
(and later as) Aide to the Secretary... (He) rendered
invaluable assistance in the improvement of the Navy's
material, logistics and disciplinary organizations. His
prompt recognition, judicial appraisal and intelligent
solution of numerous vital problems arising during this
critical period of rapid expansion contributed materially
to the successful prosecution of the war..."
fitting out the USS Pittsburgh, he commanded that cruiser
from her commissioning, 10 October 1944 until 3 September
1945. He was in command when the Pittsburgh, during operations
against the Japanese in March 1945, protected and towed
a seriously damaged aircraft carrier to safety, and when
on 5 June 1945 she lost her bow in a Pacific Typhoon.
The bow, floating stem up on the ocean, was later caught
and towed to Guam, arriving a week after the Pittsburgh,
which had received temporary repairs at a Pacific base
before proceeding to the Navy Yard, Puget Sound, Washington
for permanent repairs.
outstanding services as Commanding Officer of the Pittsburgh,
he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit,
and a Gold Star in lieu of the second Legion of Merit.
The citations follow in part:
Silver Star Medal: "For conspicuous gallantry
and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the USS Pittsburgh,
in action against enemy Japanese forces off the Southern
Coast of Honshu, Japan, on March 19, 1945. When a seriously
damaged aircraft carrier lay dead in the water due to
enemy action and was still being subjected to hostile
air attacks, (he) skillfully passed a howser to the stricken
vessel and towed her until she regained power to maintain
cruising speed, at the same time directing his ship's
batteries in providing protective cover..."
Legion of Merit: "For exceptionally meritorious
conduct...as Commanding Officer of USS Pittsburgh during
action against enemy Japanese forces in the Kyushu-Okinawa
Area, from March 17, 1945, to the close of Fast Carrier
Task Force Operations in this area...His alert and cool
command of every situation which confronted him, and his
precise execution of important assignments contributed
immeasurably to the frustration of the enemy's desperate
attempts to disrupt our Fleet operations supporting the
assault on Okinawa..."
Gold Star in lieu of Second Legion of Merit: "For...outstanding
service as Commanding Officer of USS Pittsburgh during
sustained operations against the enemy from 23 March to
25 May 1945. During this period his inspiring leadership
and professional skill materially contributed to the success
of our forces in the occupation of Okinawa and islands
of the Nansei Shoto Group, the raids on Tokyo, Southern
Japan, and enemy fleet units in the Inland Sea..."
of command of the Pittsburgh in September 1945, he served
briefly as Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander, Second
Carrier Task Force, Pacific Fleet, and on 24 October,
reported to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department,
Washington, DC. There, he was in charge of setting up
the post-war program for US Naval Personnel. On 7 December
1945, he was designated Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel
(Reserves), and in August 1946, was transferred to duty
as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Reserves) and
Director of Reserve, Naval Operations.
18 August 1947, he was ordered to duty in the Office of
the Secretary of the Navy for service with the Atomic
Energy Commission, Washington, DC. In July 1949, he joined
the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet,
as Chief of Staff and Aide, and in October 1951, was designated
Commander Training Command, US Pacific Fleet. On 31 May
1952, he became Commander United Nations Blockading and
Escort Force, Pacific, a force of nine United Nations
Naval forces which maintained an air tight blockade of
Korea for more than two years. "For exceptionally
meritorious service...(in that capacity) during operations
against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 31 May 1952
to 12 February 1953...", he was awarded the Distinguished
Service Medal. The citation continues:
Admiral Gingrich skillfully organized and coordinated
the naval units from eleven different nations into a highly
effective fighting team which completely denied the enemy
the use of his sea lanes, virtually eliminated the threat
of mines for gunfire ships involved in inshore operations
and inflicted extensive destruction upon hostile supply
and transportation facilities. Under his competent direction,
the recently established Republic of Korea Navy developed
into a strong and efficient fighting organization. Ships
of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands,
Thailand, and Colombia also operated successfully under
his direction. In order to be fully informed in his activities,
he frequently visited the islands occupied by friendly
forces, cruised in various vessels of his command and
was under heavy enemy fire on numerous occasions. By his
marked professional skill, sound judgment, and unswerving
devotion to the fulfillment of vital operations, (he)
contributed materially to the success of the naval mission
February 1953, he reported as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations
(Administration), Navy Department, and on 1 August 1953,
assumed the duties of Chief of Naval Material, Navy Department.
He was serving as such when transferred to the Retired
List of the US Navy on 1 October 1954.
addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star
Medal, the Legion of Merit with Gold Star and Combat 'V,'
and the Commendation Ribbon, Admiral Gingrich has the
Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp (World War One); the
Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; American Defense Service
Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two engagement
stars; The American Campaign Medal; the World War Two
Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the
Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal.
Gingrich died at home in New York 26 May 1960 and is buried
in Arlington National cemetery.
Admiral John D. Wainwright, USN, (COMBATDIV THREE) with
members of his staff on USS Idaho (BB-42), c. 1938.
(L-R): Lt. Monroe B. Duffill, USN; LCDR. John E. Gingrich,
USN; Rear Admiral Wainwright, USN; LtCol. William A. Worton,
USMC; Lt. K.M. Gentry, USN. Photographic Section, Naval
History and Heritage Command.