Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Charles

Last Name: Duncan

Birthplace: Nicholasville, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Kenney

Date of Birth: 07 December 1911

Date of Death: 27 June 1994

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1933-1972
Charles Kenney Duncan

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1933

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Charles Kenney Duncan

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Charles Kenney Duncan was born on 7 December 1911 in Nicholasville, KY. At the age of nine his mother became a Professor at the University of Kentucky, and the family moved to Lexington, where he attended University High School, Kavanaugh Preparatory School, and the University of Kentucky before entering the U.S. Naval Academy. Graduating from the Academy in 1933, he was commissioned as an Ensign and was assigned to the USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), where he remained for five years. Transferring to the Atlantic in 1938, he served aboard the USS Schenck (DD-159), and in June 1940 was assigned to the staff of Commander Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet, at the time of that command's creation. During his tenure he met Sheila Taylor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, whom he married in the summer of 1941 in Bermuda.

In 1942 he was the first Executive Officer of the destroyer USS Hutchins (DD-476), which proceeded from the Atlantic to the Pacific, taking part in combat in the Aleutians and the South Pacific. He was given command of the USS Wilson (DD-408), seeing combat in the South and Central Pacific areas. During this time he was awarded two Navy Commendation Medals with Combat "V." Towards the end of the war he was assigned as Director of Naval Officer Procurement, Bureau of Naval Personnel, a position he held from 1944-46.

Following World War II, he served in various capacities such as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel 1953 to 1955, a battleship Executive Officer, commanding an amphibious ship and a destroyer division, and as Operations Officer of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He also served on the Holloway Board whose mission was to "study the form, system, and method of education of Naval officers." The outcome of the board was the establishment of modern Naval ROTC and direct commissions for college graduates from Officer Candidate School.

Duncan was promoted to Rear Admiral in the summer of 1958, and concurrently assigned Commander, Amphibious Group One from 1958-59, followed by Commander, Amphibious Training Command, Pacific Fleet from 1959-61. He took command of U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in January 1961. During his tenure he served as president of a Philippine charity and vice president of the Philippines Tubercular Association.

After a stint as Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Plans and Programs from 1962-64, he turned to command, as Commander, Atlantic Fleet Cruiser-Destroyer Force from 1964-65, then commanded the U.S. Second Fleet and NATO's Striking Fleet Atlantic and the Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Force. During this time he was promoted to Vice Admiral. He was awarded the Legion of Merit while serving as Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, from June 1965 to May 1967.

Duncan became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower and Naval Reserve) and the Chief of Naval Personnel, serving in that capacity from April 1968 to August 1970. On 1 September 1970, Duncan was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and assigned as Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) and Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT). As Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, he conducted the largest NATO naval exercises held until that time.

Admiral Duncan retired from the U.S. Navy on 1 November 1972.

Medals and Awards

Legion of Merit
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "Valor" Device (2 Awards)
Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
Grand Cross of the Order of Aviz (Portugal)

In Retirement

After retiring, he lived near Leesburg, VA, until January 1977. He continued serving as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Board on Education and Training, and as a member of the Board of Advisors to the President, U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He eventually moved to Coronado, CA.

He became a member of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Museum of Art in 1981, and in 1984, he was elected as a member of France's Académie de Marine and also was named a Kentucky Colonel.


Admiral Charles Kenney Duncan died of cancer on 27 June 1994 at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA.

Honoree ID: 501   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image