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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Adrian

Birthplace: San Francisco, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Nelson

Date of Birth: 05 July 1919

Date of Death: 01 March 2011

Rank or Rate: Captain

Years Served: 1943 - 1966
Robert Nelson Adrian

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert Nelson Adrian
Captain, U.S. Navy

Robert Nelson Adrian was the son of Jesse Bernard and Marguerite (Hoffman) Adrian, and was raised in the eastern Oregon community of Ontario on the banks of the Snake River near Boise, ID.

Upon graduation from high school, he attended the University of Oregon and from there was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall of 1939 and scheduled to graduate with the class of 1943. As a Midshipman, Adrian played varsity football and baseball and graduated with his class one year early, in 1942, due to World War II.

Adrian reached his first destroyer assignment in the South Pacific just prior to the invasion of Guadalcanal in August 1942. His destroyer, the USS Gregory, was sunk a few weeks later in a night engagement with a Japanese naval force, and he was one of the few survivors. After spending eight hours in shark infested waters, he was rescued and evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA, for treatment of his wounds. During this period he was married to Joan Smith, of his home town, on 3 November 1942.

Following his return to duty, Adrian went back to sea as an officer on the USS Douglas A. Monro, a destroyer escort. His other naval assignments included service aboard the USS Jonas Ingram and USS Everglades. Adrian ultimately served six sea duties on destroyer-class ships as Gunnery Officer, Executive Officer and three Commands.

His shore assignments included Aide to Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, both in Washington, DC; and, Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, MD.

Medals and Awards

In addition to being awarded the Purple Heart, Captain Adrian received the American Defense Service Medal; the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star (indicating 11 engagements); the American Campaign Medal; the WWII Victory Medal; the China Service Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal; Asian Clasp; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon with two Stars.

He selected early retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1966, with the rank of Captain, to enter the field of banking.

In Retirement

He served for six years with Maryland National Bank in Baltimore, MD. and 18 years with Annapolis Banking and Trust in Annapolis. Retiring in 1990, after positions as Vice President, President, and Member of the Board of Directors of AB&T, Captain Adrian continued to serve the community as a life care consultant for senior naval officer couples and widows.

Captain Adrian served as President of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1943 for over 30 years; President of the Annapolis chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Annapolis chapter of the American Cancer Society; trustee of the Annapolis Public Library and YMCA; Commissioner on the board of the Anne Arundel County Commission of Fine Arts; Treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees of Severn School; member of the Annapolis Board of Police and Firefighters; and Chairman of the 1995 Annapolis Area United Fund Drive. He was also a member of the Annapolis Rotary, Yacht and Annapolitan Clubs.

Death and Burial

Captain Robert Nelson Adrian died of complications from pneumonia on 1 March 2011 at the Arleigh Burke Pavilion, a nursing facility in McLean, VA. He was 91. He is inurned at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

He is survived by his wife, Joan (Smith) Adrian, of Annapolis; two daughters, Judith A. Decker and Joan B. Adrian Morgan of McLean, VA; two sons, Robert N. Adrian Jr. of Memphis, TN, and James L. Adrian of Nashville, TN; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 3332   Created by: MHOH




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