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First Name: Alan

Last Name: Kirk

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Goodrich

Date of Birth: 30 October 1888

Date of Death: 15 October 1963

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1909-1946
Alan Goodrich Kirk

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1909

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


Alan Goodrich Kirk

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Alan Goodrich Kirk was born 30 October 1888 in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1909 and served in the Navy during World Wars I and II. During his wartime naval service, Alan Kirk became the U.S. naval attaché in London (1939-41). He was Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence from March 1941 but, obstructed and opposed by Rear Admiral Richmond Turner, he was unable to develop the office into an effective center along the lines of the British Royal Naval Operational Intelligence Centre (which he had seen while in London). Eventually, he requested a transfer to an Atlantic destroyer squadron.

Kirk served as an Amphibious Commander in the Mediterranean in 1942-43 (the Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy). In addition, he was the senior U.S. Naval Commander during the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944 embarked on the heavy cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31), and as Commander U.S. Naval Forces, France during 1944-45.

Upon his retirement in March 1946, he was advanced in rank to four-star Admiral. *

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed Navy officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. These 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. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades.

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, Kirk embarked on a diplomatic career, and subsequently served in several U.S. embassies abroad, beginning with the combined posting of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium and U.S. Envoy to Luxembourg (resident in Brussels, Belgium), 1946-49; as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 4 July 1949 to 6 October 1951; and finally, as U.S. Ambassador to Taiwan, 7 June 1962 to 16 January 1963.

Admiral Alan G. Kirk took his post as the second president of Amcomlib, in February 1952. As a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, he oversaw the recruitment of emigres in New York and Munich, a group that would later form the core of Radio Liberty's staff. Less than a year after taking office, Kirk was forced to resign due to poor health. In 1952, he served briefly as Director of the Psychological Strategy Board, which planned for and coordinated government psychological operations.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit

Death and Burial

Admiral Alan Goodrich Kirk died on 15 October 1963 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 581   Created by: MHOH




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