RADM Carl J. Seiberlich
Carl J. Seiberlich
(RADM, USN, RET.)
4 Jul 1921 - 24 Mar 2006
Born in Jenkintown, PA, RADM Seiberlich graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. He served on two merchant vessels prior to being commissioned in the U.S. Navy, where he served as navigator on the USS Mayo (DD422) during WWII. The Mayo saw action in both the Atlantic and, in 1945, the Pacific theater and was present in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
After the war, he completed flight training at Lakehurst, NJ and received his aviator wings in lighter-than-air (blimp) craft, landing them occasionally on aircraft carriers. In 1952, he received the Harmon International Trophy for achievement in aeronautics from President Harry Truman. This award recognized RADM Seiberlich’s work in the development and fleet introduction of the first operational, variable depth, towed sonar. Current fleet ASW doctrine is still based on techniques created during this initial period.
In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis blockade, he had primary responsibility for surveillance, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (due to exigent circumstances, he also qualified to land helicopters on aircraft carriers at this time). During the mid-1960s, he qualified to land a multi-engine airplane on aircraft carriers. RADM Seiberlich remains the only aviator in the Navy’s history qualified to land blimps, airplanes, and helicopters aboard an aircraft carrier (he was also seaplane qualified). He later commanded the fleet oiler USS Salamonie (A026) and decommissioned her in December 1968.
In May, 1969, he became the Commanding Officer of the USS Hornet (CVS-12). Almost immediately, the Hornet was selected as the Prime Recovery Ship for the initial NASA moon landing missions. RADM Seiberlich became the Commander, Primary Landing Area Recovery Group for all DoD forces supporting NASA in the Pacific Ocean.
In July, he directed the safe recovery of astronauts, command module, and lunar samples for Apollo 11, the first moon landing mission. Hornet repeated this flawless performance in November when the “all Navy team” of Apollo 12 was recovered. In June 1970, he decommissioned the USS Hornet in Bremerton, WA.
After becoming the first Merchant Marine Academy graduate to achieve flag rank, Admiral Seiberlich was Commander of ASW Group 3 in order to complete a critical fleet research project called UPTIDE. He then became Director of Aviation Programs; then Deputy Chief of Naval personnel; and finally Commander, Naval Military Personnel Command before retiring in 1980.
As a civilian, he continued to serve his country and its maritime needs. In 1983, he joined American President Lines (APL) as Director of Military Programs and in 1994, was awarded the Vincent T. Hirsch Award for Outstanding Leadership by the Navy League for his contribution in meeting the rapid, large scale sealift needs of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He continued to actively participate in maritime affairs until 2005, serving as the U.S. representative to the International Standards Organization committee working to improve worldwide security for inter-modal freight transportation to prevent acts of terrorism.
For a deeper insight into RADM Seiberlich's life and career, you can read this illustrated PDF document.
For a relatively recent interview with RADM Seiberlich, please visit the USS Salamonie website.
To make a donation to his memoral fund, please click on this link:
RADM Carl J Seiberlich Fund for Youth Education
The USS Hornet Museum is deeply saddened by the passing of this inspirational leader.