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William Wohlsen Behrens 
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Pennsylvania State Flag
Born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 6, 1898, the son of Henry Conrad and Anna Dorothy Wohlsen Behrens, he was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Franklin & Marshall College. He married Nellie Vasey, October 22, 1921. Thier children were William W. Jr., Patricia Annie (Mrs. Duryea Cameron). he was commissioned Ensign, United States Navy Reserve, in 1918 and advanced throught the grades to Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, 1945.

He was Commander, Submarine Chaser 26, 1919-20; served in ships USS Quincey, USS Ramapo and USS Conner, 1920-22; had duty at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, 1922l; in USS Bruce, 1923-24; USS Whitney, 1924-26; in charge of the U.S. Navy Exhibit Afloat, Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926; served in USS Wyoming, 1927; duty at Receiving Station, Philadelphia, 1927-28; Executive Officer in USS Mahan and USS Lansdale, 1928-31; USS Wyoming, 1931; USS Claxton, 1931-32; Commander, USS Iuka, 1932; Aide to the Commandant, 4th Naval District, Philadelphia, 1932-34; Assistant First Lieutenant, USS Minneapolis, 1934-35; service on USS Henderson, 1935-36; Commander, USS Southard, 1936-37; Aide to the Commander, Phildelphia Navy Yard, 1937-39; Commander, USS Cimarron, 1939-40; Execuitve Officer, USS Concord during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 and subsequent service in the Pacific, 1940-42. Served with the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, 1942-43; Commander, USS Houston, 1943-45; Commander, Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, 1945-48. In charge of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Pennsylvania, then Secretary of Commerce, Pennsylavaia.

During his career he received the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, World War I Victory Meal with Submarine Clasp, American National Defense Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Area Victory Medal (all World War II). 

He retired to his home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he died on June 27, 1965. He was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery among other family members.

WW Behrens Gravesite PHOTO
 Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006


Updated: 3 May 1999 Updated: 23 November 2001 Updated: 6 January 2002 Updated: 31 May 2003 Updated: 25 November 2005
Updated: 19 August 2006