DeMars, Bruce (1935- )
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on four interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell in May 2012. The volume contains 268 pages of interview transcript plus an appendix and a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2012 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.
Admiral DeMars was one of the early successors of the legendary Admiral Hyman Rickover in running the Navy’s nuclear power program. He grew up in Chicago and received his bachelor’s degree and commission at the Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1957. In the following year he served in two attack transports, the Telfair (APA-210) and Okanogan (APA-220), before attending Submarine School in 1958-59. His first submarine, 1959-60, was the diesel-powered Capitaine (SS-336). After a trying interview with Admiral Rickover, DeMars attended Nuclear Power School at Mare Island in 1960 and then underwent training on a prototype nuclear reactor in West Milton New York, in 1960-61. He was among the members of the handpicked crew of the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine George Washington (SSBN-598) in 1961-62. He taught at the Nuclear Power School at Mare Island, 1962-64, and from 1964 to 1966 served in the nuclear attack submarine Snook (SSN-592) during special intelligence operations against the Soviet Navy. DeMars attended the Armed Forces Staff College in 1966-67, later served 1967-69 as executive officer of the nuclear attack submarine Sturgeon (SSN-637). After teaching at Submarine School, 1969-71, he was a student at prospective commanding officers’ school. He commanded the nuclear attack submarine Cavalla (SSN-684) from 1973 to 1975. For a few months in 1975 was Deputy Commander Submarine Squadron Ten until April of that year, when he suffered broken ribs while being lifted from a submarine by helicopter. From 1975 to 1978, he was on the Atlantic Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board, eventually becoming senior member. He commanded Submarine Squadron 12 in 1978-79, then served 1979-81 as OP-22B, Deputy Director of the Attack Submarine Division, on the OpNav staff. From 1981 to 1983 held three simultaneous billets while serving in Guam. He was Deputy OP-02, 1983-85, and from 1985 to 1988 was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Undersea Warfare (OP-02). His final tour of active duty, as a four-star admiral, was from 1988 to 1996 as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, serving both the Navy and the Department of Energy.