Joined: 23 Jan 2006
|Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:39 pm Post subject: WENDT, CAPT W.F.A.
|Friends can contact this shipmate's family through The USS Rankin Association.
Waldemar Frederick August Wendt
Born 3/15/12. Died 10/18/97 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Wally Wendt was Commanding Officer of the USS Rankin from 1956-1957.
The Virginian-Pilot, Tuesday, October 21, 1997
Adm. W.F.A. Wendt, 85, of the 3100 block of Shore Drive, died Oct. 18, 1997, in Virginia Beach.
Adm. Wendt was born in Millstadt, Ill., on March 15, 1912, son of the late Rev. and Mrs. Paul Wendt. He received his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., from the state of Wisconsin in 1929. He graduated and was commissioned an ensign, U.S. Navy, on June 1, 1933. He subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of admiral, USN, to date from July 12, 1968. He was married to the former Folsom Ferris of Los Angeles, Calif., on June 13, 1935.
Following graduation from the academy in 1933, he joined the battleship Oklahoma, and in March 1935 transferred to the destroyer minelayer Ramsay. Detached from that ship in December 1935, he next served as assistant coach of the crew at the academy. He remained there until June 1936, when he reported on board the destroyer leader Moffett for duty until June 1939. Between June and September 1939, he attended the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Md., for instruction in applied communications, which course was terminated because of the institution of the President of Neutrality Patrol Operations. He was on board the Bainbridge engaged in neutrality patrol operations until June 1940. He was transferred in December 1940 to the Staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron 30, for duty (conducting escort of convoy operations and participating in the North African invasion) until September 1943.
In December 1943, he assumed command of the destroyer Monaghan in the Pacific Fleet. "For meritorious achievement . . . (in that command) in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific Area from January 1 to August 15, 1944 . . . '' he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V''.
Detached from command of the Monaghan in December 1944, he was assigned to Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, in Washington, D.C., and late in 1945 became head of the Pacific Section, Fleet Operations Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In March 1947, he joined the Helena as executive officer, and from June to September of that year served also as commanding officer of that heavy cruiser. He remained on board the Helena until July 1948, and the next month returned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to serve as administrative assistant to the assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Strategic Plans).
He was a student (Strategy and Tactics) at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., from September 1949 until June 1950, after which he served for a year as head of the Atlantic, Europe and Middle East Section, Strategic Plans Division, of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In August 1951, he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as General Plans Officer. In August 1953, he assumed command of Escort Destroyer Division 22. He continued as commander of that division until June 1954. He served on the faculty of the National War College, Washington, D.C., from July 1954 until August 1956, he was chairman of the committee on the curriculum. He next commanded the amphibious attack transport Rankin, and in December 1957 became Commander Destroyer Squadron 36. On Feb. 1, 1959, he reported as Head, Command and Policies Branch, Strategic Plans Division. He remained there throughout 1959, and on Jan. 17, 1960, having been appointed a rear admiral, assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, with additional duty as CINCPAC representative, Marianas-Bonins. He simultaneously served as Deputy High Commissioner of the Marianas District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and Deputy Military Governor of the Bonin-Volcano Islands. His headquarters for these duties were in Guam.
In October 1961, he reported as commander Destroyer Flotilla 7 (redesignated April 1, 1962, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 7) with additional duty until November 1961 as commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. In August 1962, he was ordered to duty as director of the Strategic Plans Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, for which service he was awarded the Legion of Merit. In August 1965, the president of the United States appointed Rear Adm. Wendt to vice admiral and Aug. 9, 1965, Vice Adm. Wendt became deputy commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and chief of staff and aide to the Commander in Chief Atlantic in Norfolk. For service in this capacity he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the president.
On April 17, 1967, then Vice Adm. Wendt assumed the duties as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans and Policy) in Washington, D.C. For this service he was awarded his second Distinguished Service Medal. On May 27, 1968, the president of the United States designated then Vice Adm. Wendt for duties as Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, with the grade of admiral, and the Senate confirmed his nomination on June 6, 1968. On July 12, 1968, Adm. Wendt assumed the duties as commander in chief with headquarters in London, England. In this capacity he was responsible, among other duties, for all U.S. naval operations in Europe, the eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Adm. Wendt held this post until June 30, 1971, on which date he was relieved as commander in chief and placed on the retired list with the grade of admiral on July 1, 1971. For this last duty, the president awarded him his third Distinguished Service Medal.
On retirement he served (1972-1983) on the Board of Overseers of the Center for Naval Analysis, an affiliate corporation of the University of Rochester. He was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach and has served as deacon and elder in that Church.
He is survived by his wife, Folsom Ferris Wendt; a son, Peter F. Wendt of San Felipe, Mexico; two daughters, Sally Folsom Wendt of Columbus, Ohio, and Deborah Wendt Crabtree of Virginia Beach; a brother, Dr. William P. Wendt of Milwaukee, Wis.; a half-brother, Otto Friz of Monomonee Falls, Wis.; and six grandchildren, including local grandchildren Thomas August Crabtree and Katherine Leigh Crabtree; and eight great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, 1997, at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach by Dr. J. Scottie Griffin. Burial services will be private.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Westminster-Canterbury Fellowship Fund, 3100 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, Va. 23451, or to First Presbyterian Church or to the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Laskin Road Chapel, is handling arrangements.