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Original U.S. Cold War Navy Vice Admiral William R. Smedberg III’s Rear Admiral Command Flag

Regular price $695.00

Item Description

Original Item. One-of-a-Kind. This is a very rare Cold War era Rear Admiral’s flag attributed to Vice Admiral William Renwick Smedberg III, who served in the U.S. Navy and in other similar positions from 1926-1964. During World War II, Smedberg served as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Lansdowne and U.S.S. Hudson; Chief of Staff to Commander Task Force 39 and Cruiser Division 12; and as U.S. Fleet Combat Intelligence Officer. His outstanding wartime service earned him several medals.

The flag measures roughly 65 x 43” or about 3.5 x 5 feet. It has been folded and retains its creases as shown, and is marked REAR ADMIRAL on the white header. There is some small tearing in some spots as shown but the flag is in overall fair condition. This flag came out of a private collection and retains a tag from the collection reading REAR ADMIRAL’S FLAG BELONGED TO VICE ADMIRAL WILLIAM R. SMEDBERG III U.S.N.

A man of considerable enthusiasm and energy, Smedberg was in the class of 1926 at the Naval Academy and reported afterward for a year of duty in the USS New Mexico (BB-40). He then spent three years in the destroyer USS Mullany (DD-325) before reporting to the commissioning crew of the heavy cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26). After postgraduate education in communications, he served on the staff of Commander Cruiser Division Three and Commander Cruisers Battle Force, Rear Admiral Harold Stark. Stark took Smedberg as aide when he became CNO in 1939, so this memoir contains a close-up view of Stark in the period just before World War II.

During the war, Smedberg was commissioning CO of the destroyers USS Landsdowne (DD-486) and USS Hudson (DD-475), both of which operated in the Solomons. He then served as chief of staff to Rear Admiral A. S. "Tip" Merrill in the Solomons campaign before reporting as intelligence officer to Admiral Ernest J. King's Commander in Chief, U.S. Navy staff. After the war Smedberg was aide to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, a destroyer division commander, and a Naval Academy department head. He put the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) back into commission as skipper during the Korean War and then was chief of staff to Commander Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet.

The second volume begins with a discussion of Smedberg's service in the Politico-Military Division of the OpNav staff. While there, he was selected for rear admiral and moved up to become division director. From 1956 to 1958, he was Superintendent of the Naval Academy, involved in raising funds for a new football stadium and in upgrading both the faculty and methods of instruction.

He then spent a few months as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific Fleet and one year as Commander Second Fleet. During the course of the latter command, the fleet was involved in war games against the U.S. Air Force and a NATO exercise. Admiral Smedberg's final tour, as Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, was from 1960 to 1964.

His discussion concerns such facets as the introduction of computers to the order-writing process, detailing of flag officers to various billets, interaction between the Navy and political figures, the budgetary process as it concerns naval personnel, and Smedberg's dealings with Admiral Hyman Rickover. Admiral Smedberg's memoir is a particularly interesting one because of his degree of candor.

This is a phenomenal flag attributed to a seasoned Navy veteran who served for almost 40 years. Don’t miss out on this fantastic piece.

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