Robert Bostwick Carney (26 March 1895 - 25
June 1990) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served as Chief of
Naval Operations during the Eisenhower administration.
Robert B. Carney was born on March 26, 1895 in the quiet town of Vallejo,
California. Carney's start to his prestigious naval career begins when he
went to Annapolis, where he graduated in 1916. Carney's first assignment was
aboard destroyer USS Fanning as Gunnery and Torpedo Officer, where he
contributed to the sinking of German submarine U-58. After a successful first
tour, Carney served aboard destroyer USS Laub before becoming the Executive
Officer of the destroyer USS Reno. His first command at sea occurred when he
became the commanding officer of the destroyer USS Rathurne. Looking for a
change of pace, Carney decided to teach navigation at the Naval Academy in
the mid-1920's. After his tour at the Naval Academy, Carney served as
commanding Officer to both the USS Buchanan, and the USS Reid.
World War II
In February 1941, Admiral (then Commander) Carney was recalled from duty in
the Pacific Fleet to assist in organizing, equipping, and training of a
special Surface-Air Force, having as its mission the protection of shipping
against submarine and air attack. This force became fully involved in convoy
escort prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. From September 1941,
until April 1942, this Force, under its Commander, the late Vice Admiral
Arthur L. Bristol, Jr., established the remarkable record of escorting over 2,600
ships on the ocean lanes with a loss of only six ships.
From October 15, 1942, until July, 1943, he commanded the cruiser USS Denver
in the Pacific Theater, and was twice decorated for engagements in the
Solomon Islands campaign. He earned the Bronze Star Medal with Combat
"V" for meritorious service as Commanding Officer of Denver,
attached to a task Group of Admiral William Halsey's 3rd Fleet, during
operations against the enemy Japanese-held Islands of Kolombangara,
Shortland, and Bougainville, in the Solomon area, the night of July 26, 1943.
Proceeding through unfamiliar waters, he took advantage of adverse weather to
lay a large quantity of explosive mines along sea lanes extensively used by
the enemy and, in addition, delivered a smashing naval bombardment against
Japanese shore installations on these islands.
On July 29, 1943, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and became Chief of Staff
to Admiral Halsey, commander, South Pacific Force, which included all ground,
sea, and air forces in the South Pacific area. Carney later wrote that
"Admiral Halsey unfailingly gave credit to his subordinates for
successes achieved, and took all blame for failures on his own
While in this assignment, Rear Admiral Carney was awarded his second
Distinguished Service Medal for contributions which he made in the field of
over-all strategy and the organizing of the logistic support of the Allied
Forces in the South Pacific, the citation stating, in part:
"Displaying sound judgment and distinctive tactical ability, he
conceived and correlated the many offensive operations carried out in the
Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago areas. Through his comprehensive
knowledge of logistics and his expert planning, he enabled our Forces to
exert their greatest strength against the enemy and administer a series of
crushing defeats on the Japanese."
When Admiral Halsey assumed command of the 3rd Fleet in the Central Pacific
in June, 1944, Rear Admiral Carney accompanied him as Chief of Staff. He took
part in the Palau, Leyte, Lingayen, and Okinawa campaigns and in the attack
on Formosa, in the China Sea; against the Japanese homeland and the Second
Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Rear Admiral Carney arranged with Japanese emissaries for the entry of the
3rd Fleet into Tokyo Bay, accepted the surrender of Yokosuka Naval Base and
surrounding area from Vice Admiral Totsuka, of the Imperial Japanese Navy,
and attended the surrender ceremony held on board Admiral Halsey's Flagship
the Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63).
After the war, he was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1946, and until February
1950, served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. Next he assumed command of
the Second Fleet operating on the East Coast of the United States. On October
2, 1950, he was advanced in rank to Admiral and on May 13, 1953, President
Eisenhower announced his selection of Admiral Carney as the next Chief of
On completion of his appointment as Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Carney
retired from active service. Over the next several years, Admiral Carney’s
various assignments, coupled with his personal interest in industrial
participation in the defense effort, resulted in close contact with industry
including the position of Chairman of the Board, Bath Iron Works,
In addition to the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with three
Gold Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", and the Bronze
Star Medal with Combat "V", Admiral Carney held the World War I
Victory Medal, Destroyer Clasp (USS Fanning), the American Defense Service
Medal, Fleet Clasp (USS California), the American Area Campaign Medal; the
European African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area
Campaign Medal, the latter with nine Battle Stars, the World War II Victory
Medal, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and two Bronze Stars.
Admiral Carney also held decorations from twelve foreign countries, many
including highest military recognition.