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First Name: Bernard

Last Name: Clarey

Birthplace: Oskaloosa, IA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Ambrose

Date of Birth: 04 May 1912

Date of Death: 15 June 1996

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1934 - 1973
Bernard Ambrose Clarey

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1934

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Bernard Ambrose Clarey
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Bernard Ambrose Clarey was born on 4 May 1912 in Oskaloosa, IA, son of Mrs. S. B. (Jennie A. O'Hearn) Clarey and the late Mr. Clarey. He graduated from Oskaloosa High School and attended William Penn College for one year. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from Iowa in 1930. As a midshipman he was on the Staff of the Lucky Bag, the Academy yearbook. He was graduated and commissioned as an Ensign on 31 May 1934.

His first post-graduation assignment was to the cruiser USS Milwaukee (CL-5) from June 1934 until December 1936. He entered instruction at the Submarine School at Submarine Base New London, CT, in January 1937. After designation as a submariner, he reported to the submarine USS Nautilus (SS-168) in June 1937. He served as Engineer, First Lieutenant and Communications Officer in the Nautilus when she was the flagship of Submarine Division Twelve, based at Pearl Harbor, HI. In June 1941 he reported to USS Dolphin (SS-169).

World War II

Clarey was Executive Officer on board Dolphin at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked the Naval Base on 7 December 1941, and subsequently made one war patrol in Dolphin to the Marshall Islands.

After commissioning the submarine USS Amberjack (SS-219) at New London, on 19 June 1942, he completed two war patrols in Amberjack off Bougainville and Guadalcanal Islands as Executive Officer. During the first war patrol, which lasted fifty-seven days, the Amberjack sank the 19,000-ton Japanese ship Tonan Maru, a 5,000-ton transport and a 7,000-ton cargo ship. She also delivered 9,000 gallons of aviation fuel, two hundred 100-pound bombs and a number of U.S. Army Air Forces pilots to Tulagi. On her second war patrol, lasting fifty-one days, she scored one direct hit on a 4,000-ton freighter while patrolling south of Shortland, near Treasury Island.

Clarey made one additional patrol to the South Pacific as a Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO) in the USS Peto (SS-265). On 1 January 1944, he became the Commanding Officer of the new submarine USS Pintado (SS-387) at Portsmouth, NH.

Under his command, Pintado reached the Pacific in May 1944, and on her first war patrol in the area west of the Marianas and south of Formosa on a dark night in June, surfaced and fired six bow torpedoes at a Japanese convoy, making direct hits on two targets with all six torpedoes. Later, between the Marianas and Luzon, she sank three freighters and damaged a large freighter. Clarey was awarded the Navy Cross. He was later awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for her second war patrol. A Gold Star in lieu of a third Navy Cross was awarded for Pintado's third war patrol, in enemy-controlled waters of the South China Sea between 9 October 1944 to 1 January 1945.

Clarey also wore the ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to Pintado.

Detached from Pintado in April 1945, he was assigned to the staff of Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) and was serving in that assignment at the cessation of hostilities in August 1945.

Post-WWII Through Late 1950s

In December 1945, he reported to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he served until February 1946 in the Office of Public Information, as a member of the Secretary of the Navy Committee on Reorganization. In April, he was transferred to the Office of the Naval Inspector General. From April 1947 until June 1949, he served on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet as Aide and Flag Secretary, Legal Officer, and Public Information Officer.

In June 1949, he returned to the Navy Department to serve in the Officer Personnel Division for Submarine Officer Assignments, in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, BUPERS.

In June 1951, he reported as Executive Officer of the heavy cruiser USS Helena (CA-75), which operated with the U.S. Seventh Fleet in Korean waters, participating in operations against North Korean and Chinese Communist Forces. He served as "XO" for eleven months and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Valor Device for his service aboard Helena.

After a tour as Commander Submarine Division Fifty-Two from May 1952 to July 1953 in San Diego, he was ordered to the Politico-Military Policy Division as Director Far East Branch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

He was a student at the National War College from August 1955 to June 1956. In August 1956, he was assigned at Pearl Harbor as Chief of Staff to COMSUBPAC.

In August 1958, he became Commanding Officer of fleet oiler USS Hassayampa. On 5 January 1959, he became the Director for Military Personnel in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower).

Flag Officer Assignments

He was selected for promotion to Rear Admiral in July 1958, and in August was assigned as Director for Military Personnel Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In July 1962, Rear Admiral Clarey again reported to Pearl Harbor as Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. For exceptionally meritorious service in this position, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

On 3 June 1964, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and became Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) at Pearl Harbor. In August 1966, in Oslo, Norway, he became Commander U.S. Second Fleet (COMSECONDFLT) and Commander Striking Force, Atlantic (NATO).

Returning to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in June 1967, he assumed the duties of Director, Navy Program Planning and Budgeting. On 17 January 1968, he was promoted to the rank of Admiral and appointed Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

In December 1970, he returned to Pearl Harbor as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was relieved as CINCPACFLT on 30 September 1973 and retired from the Navy on 1 October 1973.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Navy Cross with 2 Gold Stars
Navy Distinguished Service Medal with 4 Gold Stars
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with Combat Valor Device
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 Silver Star and 4 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with Bronze Star
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Philippine Liberation Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Submarine Officer Badge
Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia with Stars


In 1998, the floating bridge connecting Ford Island to the mainland (HI) was named the Admiral Clarey Bridge in his honor.


He was married to Jean Scott Clarey, who died on 22 May 2009 and is buried beside him.

In Retirement

Admiral Clarey served as a vice president of the Bank of Hawaii from 1973 to 1977.

Death and Burial

Admiral Bernard Ambrose Clarey died on 15 June 1996 at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI, in Plot S, 0, 452.


Honoree ID: 100   Created by: MHOH




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