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Edward Rodison Durgin

Edward R. Durgin
Edward R. Durgin

Admiral Edward R. Durgin, seen here as a young Lieutenant and captain of the USS S-32, was born in Palmyra, NJ, on January 14th, 1900.

He joined the Navy at age 18 and soon was accepted as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy from which he was graduated as an ensign in 1922. He later earned a Master of Science degree at Columbia, and in 1945 he received an honorary doctorate from Franklin and Marshall College.

As a young officer, Admiral Durgin spent most of his time on submarine duty in the Atlantic and Pacific, and from 1934 until 1937 he was skipper of the submarine USS S-32 in the Pacific. From 1937 until 1940, while Hitler built his Third Reich, Admiral Durgin served at the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the sensitive post of Assistant U.S. Naval Attaché in the American Embassy in Berlin.

In 1940 he got his first destroyer command as commanding officer of the USS Niblack. He rapidly progressed to higher commands, first as Commander of Destroyer Division 26, and then as Commander of Destroyer Squadron 13.

In 1943 and 1944 he served on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, but then returned to sea duty as Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15.

In his sea commands he saw extensive action in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, both on convoy duty and as part of the Navy Assault Force at the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Salerno.

For his battle commands he received the Legion of Merit, the Gold Star to the Legion of Merit, the Letter of Commendation, the Bronze Star, the British Distinguished Service Cross and numerous other decorations.

After the war, Admiral Durgin served as the skipper of the cruiser Dayton from 1947 until 1948.

In 1958 he arrived at Brown University as a naval Captain, assigned as commander of Brown's Naval ROTC Unit. He remained in that capacity until his retirement from the Navy at the rank of Admiral.

That same year, as a civilian, he was appointed Dean of Students, a position involving student discipline and counseling. He remained as Dean of Students until his first retirement from Brown in 1962. His retirement was fleeting, for he was quickly called back to serve as Brown's Acting Director of Athletics. He retired from that position in Sept. of 1962, but remained briefly on the university's administrative staff as a consultant to the Director of Athletics.

His wife was the former Katherine B. Shaw of Maple Shade, NJ.

Admiral Edward Rodison Durgin died November 9, 1970 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery Plot: Sec: 6, Site: 9693-A

His older brother, Calvin Thornton Durgin was also a US Navy Admiral who was active in the Pacific during WW II commanding escort carrier groups.

Biography and Original Photo In The Family Collection Of Jim Durgin, great nephew of Adm Edward Durgin.

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