Richard H. Tibbets
Commander, United States Navy
Commander Tibbets was born in the District and moved to Chevy Chase when he was 12. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and from the Merchant Marine Academy in New York in 1940. A daughter suggested that his lifelong love affair with the sea, ships and boats began during the summers he spent as a youngster at Wells Beach, Maine, or perhaps was inherited from some distant Yankee forefather.
Commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve in 1941, he reported for active duty a few months later aboard the USS American Legion. He served as a landing boat-wave officer during the invasion of Guadalcanal and later served on the island temporarily in the port director's office. He rejoined his ship in time for the invasion of Bougainville. In 1944, he was transferred to the USS Prentiss for duty as executive officer. After the Japanese surrender, the Prentiss remained in the Pacific for mopping-up operations in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea.
He transferred to the regular Navy in 1946, serving as executive officer aboard the USS Mona Island and the USS Zellars. In 1951, he completed the Naval officers program at George Washington University and was promoted to commander. Other sea assignments included command of the USS Jeffers and the USS Ingersoll, which fought in the Korean War. During the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, he served as commanding officer of a tanker.
From 1957 to 1960, Commander Tibbets served as the Executive Officer of the U.S. Navy Sub-Board of Inspection and Survey, based in Newport, Rhode Island. He retired in 1964.
After a four-month sabbatical in Europe, he joined Tracor Inc.'s Applied Sciences Division in Rockville and held managerial positions involving the installation and testing of new sonar systems in destroyers and submarines. He retired again in 1988.
Commander Tibbets was a member emeritus of the American Society of Naval Engineers, a longtime member of the U.S. Naval Institute and a contributor to two magazines, the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and Naval History. He published a novel, "The Ghosts of Genteng," last year. He enjoyed sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and hiking along the C&O Canal and served as a volunteer at the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
His wife, Gladys Lane Tibbets, died in 1996.
Survivors include a daughter, Andrea T. Bartkowski
of Chevy Chase.
TIBBETS, GLADYS L