Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on three interviews conducted by Peter Spectre from January 1970 through April 1970 and one interview conducted by Paul Stillwell in January 1984. The volume contains 234 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.
Pride's early interest in aviation was followed by enlistment in Naval Reserve for World War I in 1917, aviation training, and brief overseas duty in France. Pride augmented to regular Navy in 1921, later became one of the first flag officers who was not a Naval Academy graduate. He served in the scout plane detachment of battleship Arizona (BB-39) in 1920 and then joined the commissioning crew of the first carrier Langley (CV-1) as one of her aviators. Pride describes in some detail his work in developing flight deck arresting gear. In 1927 he was in commissioning crew of USS Lexington (CV-2) and made first landing aboard. As a test pilot, he flew a number of experimental planes and made first autogiro landing on carrier deck. Suffered a serious injury in plane crash, nearly ending his career. Served in Bureau of Aeronautics and in patrol plane operations with Marc Mitscher. Pride was exec of the Saratoga (CV-3) at the outbreak of World War II and then put light carrier Belleau Wood (CVL-24) in commission as the first skipper and took her to combat in Pacific. Served with Kelly Turner in amphibious air support at the end of the Pacific War. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Pride commanded carrier divisions in the Sixth Fleet, sandwiched between a tour as Chief of Bureau of Aeronautics. The BuAer period is covered in some detail as Pride talks about the aircraft acquisition process and various manufacturers he dealt with. His career wound up with tours as Commander Naval Air Test Center, Commander Seventh Fleet, and Commander Air Force Pacific. As fleet commander he had dealings with Japanese and Nationalist Chinese.