Patrick Nieson Lynch Bellinger
Vice Admiral, United States Navy
on October 8, 1885 at Cheraw, South Carolina, he graduated from the United
States Naval Academy in 1907.
He took an early interest in aviation and in 1912 was among the first group of seven US Navy pilots to be certified. In April 1914 he flew during occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico, conducting reconnaissance missions off the USS Mississippi, and became first Navy pilot to come home with enemy bullet holes in his aircraft.
He set an altitude record of 10,000 feet in 1915 and experimented constantly with bombing techniques, catapult takeoffs at sea, and flight instruments. During World War I, he commanded the Naval Air Station at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and there began preparing for a trans-Atlantic flight.
The attempt was delayed until 1919, but on May 8, three Glenn Curtiss-built planes took off from Rockaway, Long Island. Then a Lieutenant, he piloted the NC-1, accompanied by Lieutenant Marc A. Mitscher. Forced down in fog 100 miles west of the Azores, they were picked up by a Greek steamer shortly before the plane sank in heavy sea. The NC-3 also went down and the NC-4, piloted by Lieutenant Albert C. Read, completed the flight.
By 1940 he had advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral in command of Patrol Wing 2 based in Honolulu. He was the senior air officer present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and himself sent out the first radio alert: "Air raid. Pearl Harbor - this is no drill."
In May 1942 he took command of all patrol wings in the Pacific, and in August became Chief of Staff to the Commander In Chief of the US Fleet, Admiral Ernest J. King. In March 1943, he was given command of the Atlantic Fleet Air Force, with primary responsibility for anti-submarine patrols throughout the Atlantic. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in October 1943.
He retired from active duty in 1949 and died
on May 30, 1962 at Clifton Forge, Virginia. He was buried with full
military honors in Section 2 of ArlingtonNational Cemetery.
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, 1999
BELLINGER, PATRICK NELSON LYNCH
BELLINGER, MIRIAM B
Posted: 9 May 1999 Updated: 19 December 2001 Updated: 2 April 2006 Updated: 30 July 2009