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Charles R. Larson
Adm Charles R Larson - official portrait, Superintendent of US Naval Academy.jpg
Admiral Charles Larson as superintendent of the US Naval Academy
Born (1936-11-20)November 20, 1936
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.
Died July 26, 2014(2014-07-26) (aged 77)
Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1958–1998
Rank Admiral
Unit USS Sculpin (SSN-590) (XO)
USS Halibut (SSN-587) (CO)
Commander, Submarine Development Group One
Commands held Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy
U.S. Pacific Command
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (7)
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star
Presidential Service Badge
Other work Board of Directors, Northrop Grumman
Political candidate

Charles Robert Larson (November 20, 1936 – July 26, 2014) was an Admiral of the United States Navy.

Military career

A 1958 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Larson twice served as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He also served as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command (CINCPAC).

After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958, Larson reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, to enter flight training. Upon his completion, as a Naval Aviator, he reported to Attack Squadron 176 (VA-176) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CVA-38), where he served until April 1963 in flying the A-1H Skyraider.

Opting to leave Naval Aviation and to transfer to the Submarine Service, he commenced nuclear power training in 1963 and then reported to the USS Nathan Hale (SSBN-623), where he qualified in submarines. His next tours of duty were on USS Nathanael Greene (SSBN-636) and USS Bergall (SSN-667).

He was the first naval officer selected as a White House Fellow and served his fellowship in 1968 as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. From 1969 to 1971, he served as Naval Aide to the President of the United States. He reported back to sea duty as executive officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Sculpin (SSN-590). Then from 1973 to 1976, he served as commanding officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Halibut (SSN-587). In 1976, Larson assumed duties as Commander, Submarine Development Group ONE in San Diego, California, in which he headed the Navy's worldwide deep submergence program.

He was promoted to four-star rank in February 1990 upon being assigned as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Navy component commander in the Pacific Theater. After one year in the position, he was nominated by the President, and assumed duties, as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command.

Awards and decorations

Submarine Officer badge.jpg
Silver Deterrent Patrol badge.jpg1 golden star.svg1 golden star.svg
1 golden star.svgAward-star-silver-3d.png 1 golden star.svg1 golden star.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.svg VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg
JPN Kyokujitsu-sho blank BAR.svg Order of the Crown of Thailand - 1st Class (Thailand) ribbon.svg Ordre national du Merite Chevalier ribbon.svg
Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
US - Presidential Service Badge.png
Submarine Warfare insignia
Silver SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia with two gold stars
Defense Distinguished Service Medal Navy Distinguished Service Medal with one gold and one silver award stars Legion of Merit with two award stars
Bronze Star Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Navy Unit Commendation with one bronze service star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Navy Expeditionary Medal
National Defense Service Medal with two service stars Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation
Order of the Rising Sun, Japan (class unknown) Order of the Crown of Thailand, Knight Grand Cross National Order of Merit (France), Knight
Naval Aviator insignia
Presidential Service Badge
  • Larson has also been decorated by the governments of Japan, Thailand, France and Korea.

Civilian career

Larson was a founder, director and chairman of the board of ViaGlobal Group. As of 2002, he also served on the Board of Directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Board of Esterline Corporation. He also served on three corporate boards in the fields of electrical power generation and distribution, oil exploration and production and international service and construction.

In 2002, after switching parties to become a Democrat, Larson ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, on the ticket with Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Larson became an Eagle Scout in 1950 and as an adult was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

His public service boards include the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, The White House Fellows Foundation, The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, The Board of Trustees of the Anne Arundel Health System, Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the US Naval Academy Foundation.

Larson McCain graves
Adjacent graves of Larson and McCain at the Naval Academy Cemetery

Larson and his wife, Sally, lived in Annapolis, where he died on July 26, 2014, as a result of pneumonia, after being afflicted with leukemia for two years. He was interred at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. Larson had reserved four plots at the Academy cemetery for himself, his classmate and close friend Senator John McCain, and their wives. McCain died on August 25, 2018 (at the age of 81), and was buried on September 2 in the plot next to Larson; the admiral's widow Sally remarked that "Chuck has his wingman back now".


Larson's civilian awards include:

  • Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary International’s highest award for public service).
  • VFW National Armed Forces Award (1998)
  • Navy League’s Annual Leadership Award (1998)
  • “All American Citizen” by the city of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Omaha North High School Vikings of Distinction
  • The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association’s Distinguished Graduate Award

See also

  • List of Superintendents of the United States Naval Academy
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