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Admiral Donald Bradley Duncan 1896 - 1975

by John A. Duncan of Sketraw, FSA Scot.


Admiral Donald Bradley Duncan was a distinguished naval aviator and served in the United States Navy from 1917 – 1956. Admiral Duncan graduated from the Naval Academy in 1917 and was assigned to the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) which operated with the British Grand Fleet. He later attended graduate school at the Naval Academy and at Harvard University, receiving a Master of Science degree in Radio Engineering in 1925.

In 1941, he was the first commander of the USS Long Island (Cve-1), the Navy's first Merchant ship to be converted escort aircraft carrier. Duncan’s success on USS Long Island resulted in President Roosevelt’s order to proceed with more such conversions. These CVE’s became the first base of Composite Squadron One, which pioneered flying from a carrier. 

During World War II, while Duncan was the air operations officer to Admiral Ernest J. King he made another major contribution to the allied War efforts. Duncan assisted with the planning for the Doolittle Raid and was the one who proposed the use of both the B-25 Mitchell bombers and the Hornet (CV-8) for the raid over Tokyo.


Admiral Donald B Duncan

 He was then appointed to be the first commanding officer of the carrier USS Essex (CV-9). The ship saw emeritus service in action against the Japanese on both Marcus and Wake Islands and for his action Admiral Duncan received a letter of commendation from the Commander Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Ship Received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Admiral Duncan’s subsequent appointments included Carrier Division Commander; Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air); Commander Second Task Fleet and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.

Admiral Duncan retired in 1957 and then served as Governor of the Naval Home until 1962. He Died on the 8th September 1975, one week after his 79th birthday.

The USS Duncan (FFG-10) was subsequently named after Admiral Donald B. Duncan.



Navsource Naval History, Photographic History of the US Navy; An oral history recorded in 1964 is in the Butler Library at Columbia University.


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