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First Name: Austin

Last Name: Doyle

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Kelvin

Date of Birth: 07 November 1898

Date of Death: 12 July 1970

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1920 - 1958
Austin Kelvin Doyle

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1920

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Austin Kelvin Doyle
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Austin Kelvin Doyle entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, on 6 September 1916 with the Class of 1920. As a Midshipman in the summer of 1918 during WWI, he served in the USS Connecticut.

After graduation from the Academy in 1920, he served in the USS Orizaba, USS Utah, and in the USS McFarland. In July 1922 he reported to NAS Pensacola and received his wings as a Naval Aviator in December. He was assigned to Scouting Squadron One, attached to the USS Wright, in January 1923. Following that he returned to NAS Pensacola as an instructor for three years.

In July 1928 he joined Fighting Squadron Two, based in the USS Langley. The following June he reported as an Instructor in the Department of Engineering and Aeronautics at the Naval Academy for three years. During that tour he coached the 1933 Navy baseball team.

Doyle returned to sea for the next two years, serving in the USS Lexington and the USS Idaho. In June 1935, he was assigned as Tactical Officer on the staff of Commander Aircraft, Battle Force, and was attached to the flagship USS Saratoga for one year. From June 1936 to June 1938 he had duty in the Plans Division, Bureau of Aeronautics, in Washington, DC.

He assumed command of Fighting Squadron Three of the USS Saratoga in June 1938. The following year he became Carrier Air Group Commander, remaining in the Saratoga. From July 1940 to August 1942, he again served in the Bureau of Aeronautics; first in the Personnel and later in the Training Division.

Captain Doyle fitted out and was then Commanding Officer of the USS Nassau (CVE-16), an escort carrier, from her date of commissioning, 20 August 1942, until 16 September 1943. The escort carrier, also called a 'jeep carrier' or 'baby flattop' by the U.S. Navy, was a small and slow type of aircraft carrier used in World War II. They were typically half the length and one-third the displacement of the larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, had less armament and armor, and carried fewer planes, they were also less expensive and could be built more quickly. This was their principal advantage, as escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable and several were sunk with great loss of life.

On 10 October 1942, Nassau arrived at the Naval Air Station, Alameda, CA, and loaded aircraft. Four days later she steamed for Pearl Harbor, HI, then to Palmyra Island, arriving 30 October. For the next four months, she operated between Palmyra; Nouméa, New Caledonia; and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.

Nassau returned to Pearl Harbor on 14 February 1943, embarked personnel and aircraft, and sailed on a ferry mission to Espiritu Santo on 21 February. She returned to Pearl Harbor in mid-March and then continued on to NAS Alameda. In April, she moved to San Diego and conducted flight training operations, after which she rendezvoused with Task Group 51.1 and steamed for Cold Bay, AK, with Composite Squadron 21 (VC-21) embarked.

On 4 May, Nassau got underway on a search mission and conducted flight operations with Task Force 51, providing air cover for the occupation of Attu Island from 11-20 May. She returned to San Diego in late May, arrived at Alameda on 8 June, and on-loaded 45 aircraft destined for Brisbane, Australia. She delivered the aircraft on 2 July and returned to San Diego via Nouméa, New Caledonia. In August, she trained off San Diego before ferrying planes to Samoa. Captain Doyle relinquished command of Nassau while she was in port in Samoa. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service in that command in May 1943.

In September 1943, Doyle returned to the Navy Department and served on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, until July 1944. Captain Doyle's next assignment was as Commanding Officer of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CVE-12) from 9 August 1944 to 1 August 1945. When construction started in August 1942; she was originally named USS Kearsarge, but was renamed in honor of the USS Hornet (CV-8) (lost in October 1942), thereby becoming the eighth ship to bear the name. The Hornet was commissioned in November 1943 and, after three months of training, joined the U.S. forces in the Pacific War.

Under Captain Doyle's command, Hornet, basing from Eniwetok in the Marshalls, raided enemy installations ranging from Guam to the Bonins, then turned her attention to the Palaus, throughout the Philippine Sea, and to enemy bases on Okinawa and Formosa. Her aircraft gave direct support to the troops invading Leyte on 20 October. During the Battle for Leyte Gulf she launched raids for damaging hits to the Japanese center force in the Battle off Samar, and hastened the retreat of the enemy fleet through the Sibuyan Sea towards Borneo.

In the following months, Hornet attacked enemy shipping and airfields throughout the Philippines. This included participation in a raid that destroyed an entire Japanese convoy in Ormoc Bay. On 30 December she departed Ulithi in the Carolines for raids against Formosa, Indo-China, and the Pescadores Islands. Enroute back to Ulithi, Hornet's planes made a photo reconnaissance of Okinawa on 22 January 1945 to aid the planned invasion of that "last stepping-stone to Japan."

Hornet again departed Ulithi on 10 February for full-scale aerial assaults on Tokyo, then supported the amphibious landing assault on Iwo Jima on 19-20 February.

Repeated raids were made against the Tokyo plains industrial complex, and Okinawa was hard hit. On 1 April, Hornet planes gave direct support to the amphibious assault landings on Okinawa. On 6 April, her aircraft joined in attacks which sank the mighty Japanese battleship Yamato and her task force as it closed on Okinawa. The following two months found Hornet alternating between close support to ground troops on Okinawa and hard-hitting raids to destroy the industrial capacity of Japan. She was caught in a howling typhoon on 4-5 June that collapsed some 25 feet of her forward flight deck.

For 16 continuous months, she was in action in the forward areas of the Pacific combat zone, sometimes within 40 miles of the Japanese home islands. Under air attack 59 times, she was never hit. Her aircraft destroyed 1,410 Japanese aircraft; only Essex exceeded this record. Ten of her pilots attained "Ace in a Day" status; 30 of her 42 VF-2 F6F Hellcat pilots were aces. In one day, her aircraft shot down 72 enemy aircraft, and in one month, they shot down 255 aircraft. Hornet supported nearly every Pacific amphibious landing after March 1944. Her air groups destroyed or damaged 1,269,710 tons of enemy shipping, and scored the critical first hits in sinking Yamato.

The Hornet earned nine battle stars for her service in World War II. Seven battle stars were earned as the sole receiver in 1944. Two were earned together as Hornet and her Air Groups when the Navy changed their nomenclature in 1945. She was one of nine carriers to be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Rear Admiral Doyle became Commander Carrier Division 25 in August 1945. The following September he was named Inspector General, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas. In May 1946, he reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for duty as Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air). In April 1947 he was designated Deputy Naval Inspector General and in August he assumed duty as Commandant, Naval Operating Base, Bermuda. He served as Chief of Naval Reserve Training, NAS, Glenview, IL, from July 1949 until August 1951.

For the next year he was Commander Carrier Division Four. In October 1952, he became Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier with additional duty as Commandant, Tenth Naval District, with headquarters at San Juan, PR. On 7 May 1954, Doyle received his third star as a Vice Admiral. His next assignment, in June 1954, was as Chief of Naval Air Training, NAS, Pensacola. He was ordered to duty as Commander of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command in March 1957.

Vice Admiral Doyle retired from the Navy on 1 August 1958 and was awarded the four stars of Admiral.

[The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. Combat citation promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. The Act of Congress of 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades. Tombstone promotions were subsequently restricted to citations issued before 1 January 1947, and finally eliminated altogether effective 1 November 1959.]

Medals, Awards & Badges

Navy Cross with Gold Star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Gold Star
American Defense Medal
American Theater Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Naval Aviator Badge
Surface Warfare Officer Badge

Captain Doyle's one-year tour in command of the USS Hornet, earned him two awards of the Navy Cross:

First Citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral [then Captain] Austin Kelvin Doyle, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. HORNET (CV-12), during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area, from 29 August to 30 October 1944. Under heavy enemy aerial attack while operating close to Japanese shores on 13 and 14 October, Rear Admiral Doyle maintained his ship at full fighting strength which resulted in a number of enemy aircraft being shot down by anti-aircraft fire with no damage to the HORNET. During operations against the Japanese Fleet during the Battle for Leyte Gulf on 25 and 26 October, he again handled his ship in such an outstanding manner that the full strength of his Air Group was brought to bear against the enemy resulting in heavy damage to and the sinking of capital ships of the Japanese Fleet. By his courage and leadership he contributed directly to the success of our forces in this area and his devotion to duty throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Second Citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral [then Captain] Austin Kelvin Doyle, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. HORNET (CV-12), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Western Pacific War Area, from 10 February to 19 May 1945. A bold and inspiring leader, Rear Admiral Doyle directed his ship and attached air group in a series of aggressive operations against the enemy in which 297 hostile planes were shot down and destroyed, important units of the Japanese Fleet damaged, and shore installations and enemy shipping damaged or destroyed. Although the HORNET was subjected to numerous air attacks during this period, he skillfully maneuvered to bring all guns to bear and repulse the enemy planes, of which several were shot down by his ship's anti-aircraft batteries. By his outstanding professional skill, Rear Admiral Doyle maintained the fighting strength of his ship at a peak of efficiency, and his gallant fighting spirit was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Doyle was a recipient of the John Towers Memorial Award from the Aviation Commandery of the Naval Order.

He received an honorary Ph.D. in Engineering from Michigan Tech.

Admiral Doyle Drive in New Iberia, LA, was named for him in the 1960s. It has been a busy commercial street since the 1970s.

In 1992, twenty-two years after his death, Admiral Austin Kelvin Doyle was enshrined in The Naval Aviation Hall of Honor. A bronze plaque of Admiral Doyle and his contributions was cast and placed in Naval Aviation Hall of Honor located in the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, FL. The Hall was established in 1980 to recognize those individuals who by their actions or achievements made outstanding contributions to Naval Aviation. Final approval is made by the Chief of Naval Operations.

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, Doyle and his wife, Jamie Reese Doyle, made their home in Pensacola, FL.

As a civilian, Doyle served as director of a bank, country club, and a sports association. He later taught History in the Florida public school system.

A Sailor's Officer

During the time that Rear Admiral Doyle was serving as Commandant of the Tenth Naval District, the manager of Bermuda's Belmont Manor Hotel stiffly requested the U.S. Navy to make the hotel 'off bounds' for enlisted men. Doyle replied - even more stiffly - that he would put the hotel off bounds for officers too. Said Doyle: "The customs of my country do not permit discrimination between officers and men in public places."

Death and Burial

Admiral Austin Kelvin Doyle died on 12 July 1970 at the Pensacola Naval Air Station Hospital after a short illness. He was 72 years old. Admiral Doyle is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Escambia County, FL, in Plot 13, 2013.

He was survived by his wife, Jamie, and five children. Jamie died on 22 February 2001 and is buried with her husband.


Honoree ID: 44   Created by: MHOH




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