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First Name: Kleber

Last Name: Masterson

Birthplace: San Jon, NM, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Sandlin

Date of Birth: 12 July 1908

Date of Death: 03 May 1998

Rank or Rate: Vice Admiral

Years Served:
Kleber Sandlin Masterson

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1930

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


Kleber Sandlin Masterson
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy

Kleber Sandlin Masterson was born on 12 July 1908 in San Jon, NM.

Masterson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930 and later from the Naval War College. He had assignments on an aircraft carrier and destroyers before joining the USS Arizona in 1939.

Then a Lieutenant, Massey was a crew member of the USS Arizona when it was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. He was at his quarters on shore when the attack began, but arrived at dockside to see the ship engulfed in flames.

He later was the Gunnery Officer of the USS Pennsylvania and was credited with reorganizing its antiaircraft defenses. In 1944, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance, where he became Head of Engineering Planning. His subsequent career was divided between sea duty and weapons research and development jobs.

In 1950, after commanding a destroyer division and serving as a gunnery training officer at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Masterson headed the Ammunition Branch in the Bureau of Ordnance. In 1953, he commanded a transport in the Korean War and then was assigned to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Albuquerque.

In 1956, he was named Captain of USS Boston, the Navy's first guided missile cruiser. A year later, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned to the guided missile division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1958, he became Director of the Division and a member of the Navy Ballistic Missiles Committee, which played an important role in developing the Polaris missiles used on nuclear submarines.

In 1961, after commanding a cruiser division in the Atlantic, Masterson was named Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Development. In 1962, he was promoted to be Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance.

In 1964, he took command of the 2nd Fleet based in Norfolk and of NATO's Strike Fleet Atlantic. He commanded U.S. Naval Forces during the intervention in the Dominican Republic in that period. His last job was director of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group in Washington.

Vice Admiral Massey retired from the Navy in 1969.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Navy Commendation Medal
Order of Merit (France)

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, Masterson served four years as president of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Vice Admiral Masterson established his residence in the Washington area in the 1940s. He lived in Arlington before moving to Goodwin House West in Falls Church. He was a member of the Army Navy Country Club, the Order of the Carabao, the U.S. Naval Institute, the Navy History Foundation and Columbia Country Club.

Death and Burial

Vice Admiral Kleber Sandlin Masterson died on 3 May 1998 at Inova Alexandria Hospital in Virginia of complications after surgery for a broken hip. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

His wife, the former Charlotte Elizabeth Parker, whom he married in 1931, died in 1986. A son, Clarence Marshall Masterson, died in 1959. Survivors include a son, retired Navy Rear Admiral Kleber S. Masterson Jr. of Alexandria; two sisters, Ruth Bliss of Flagstaff, AZ, and Pattie Boyd of Las Vegas, NV; two grandsons; and three great-grandchildren. 

Honoree ID: 2816   Created by: MHOH




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