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Libby, Ruthven E. (1900-1986)

Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)


Based on four interviews conducted by Etta-Belle Kitchen from February 1970 through June 1970. The volume contains 245 pages of interview transcript plus an index. The transcript is copyright 1984 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee has placed no restrictions on its use.


Admiral Libby finished third in the Naval Academy's class of 1922, even though he attaches no great importance to the achievement in his oral history. Indeed, he is often overly modest during the course of this memoir. He hits only the highlights of his years as a junior officer. He served in destroyers and got postgraduate education in ordnance. The bulk of the transcript deals with Admiral Libby's service during World War II and the years immediately thereafter. He began the war on the immediate staff of Admiral Ernest J. King and provides insights into the admiral's personality. He then commanded Destroyer Squadron One and Destroyer Squadron 56 in the Aleutians and Central Pacific campaigns before returning to Washington to serve on the Joint War Plans Committee. After the war he commanded the heavy cruiser Bremerton and served on the staffs of Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations. During the Korean War he commanded a division of heavy cruisers and then was on the team of U.S. negotiators which encountered a great deal of frustration in trying to deal with the North Koreans. During the mid-1950s he again served in OpNav and commanded the Atlantic Fleet Battleship-Cruiser Force. Prior to his retirement in 1960, he rounded out his career by serving as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans and Policy) and as Commander First Fleet.


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