Alan Goodrich Kirk
Admiral, United States Navy
at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 30, 1888, Alan Goodrich Kirk, graduated
from the United States Naval Academy in 1909.
He saw service as a Naval Attaché in London in 1939-41. In March 1941, he became director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and in October was given command of Division of ships and soon became a Rear Admiral. After Pearl Harbor, critics tried, on the whole unsuccessfully, to blame the Office of Naval Intelligence for the Navy’s lack of preparedness. He returned to London as a Naval Attaché in March 1941, but in 1943 was given command of Atlantic Fleet's Amphibious Force. His amphibious task force unloaded men and supplies during the invasion of Sicily with only 90 casualties, and he received the Legion of Merit for his conduct in that operation. Later that year took command of another task force, training for invasion of Normandy. At Normandy, his ships came so close to shore that they sometimes fired by visual aim, and captains in his command almost grounded their vessels. In October 1944, he took command of US Naval forces in France. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in September 1944, and retired with the rank of Admiral, February 1946.
He was appointed United States Ambassador to Belgium and Minister to Luxembourg in March 1946; US representative on the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, 1947-48; appointed United States Ambassador to the USSR, 1949-52, and to Republic of China, Taiwan, 1962.
He later served as Chairman of the American Committee For the Liberation of Russian Peoples, 1952; Chairman of the Board, Mereast Corporation, 1954-58; Director of the New York World's Fair, 1964-65.
He died on October 15, 1963 and was buried with full military honors in Section 30, Grave 1077, of Arlington National Cemetery.
His wife, Lydia Chapin
Kirk, 1896-1983, is buried with him.
A career Naval Officer, Alan Goodrich Kirk graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1909, served in the First World War, was Naval Attache in London from 1939-1941, and commanded naval amphibious groups during the invasions of Sicily and Normandy. He retired from the Navy as a full admiral in 1946. President Truman named him Ambassador to Belgium, and then sent him to Moscow when Ambassador Walter Smith fell ill. A decade later in 1962, he was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of China, Taiwan. Ambassador Kirk served in Moscow during the second term of President Truman, when North Korea invaded South Korea, the Soviet Government blockaded Berlin, and the two nations settled into the icy confrontation of the Cold War.
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, July 2007
KIRK, ALAN G
Posted: 14 December 2000 Updated: 15 February 2003 Updated: 14 September 2005 Updated: 27 November 2005 Updated: 8 July 2007 Updated: 13 May 2008
Photos By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008