Carl Joseph Seiberlich – Rear Admiral, United States Navy

Carl J. Seiberlich, 84, a retired Navy Rear Admiral who, as skipper of an aircraft carrier in 1969, picked up astronauts from two Apollo lunar-landing missions after they splashed down as planned in the South Pacific, died March 24, 2006, at Reston Hospital Center, Virginia. He had coronary artery disease.

After Navy service during World War II, Admiral Seiberlich became expert in lighter-than-air craft, receiving in 1952 a coveted Harmon international aviation trophy for “conceiving, developing and testing a pilot technique for use of lighter-than-air machines in towing.” His method was used to track submarines by sonar from the air.

Later, he reportedly was the only naval aviator qualified to land blimps, airplanes and helicopters aboard an aircraft carrier.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he had a prominent role in surveillance, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.

Admiral Seiberlich took command of the aircraft carrier Hornet in 1969 and oversaw the retrieval of Apollo 11 that July and Apollo 12 that November.

His final active-duty assignment, in 1980, was that of Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel and Commander of the Naval Military Personnel Command. His military decorations included six awards of the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal.

Carl Joseph Seiberlich was a native of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He received a master's degree in business administration from Penn's Wharton School.

In 1943, he graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.

After his military retirement, Admiral Seiberlich, a Haymarket resident, worked for defense contractors and was named director of military programs for American President Lines, the global container transportation company.

He also worked with the International Standards Organization to improve security in freight transportation to prevent acts of terrorism.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Trudy G. Seiberlich of Haymarket; a daughter, Heidi Seiberlich of Luray; a sister; and two grandchildren. The Admiral is also survived by two sons. His oldest child and son, Eric Paul Seiberlich, lives in Pioneer, California, and Carl's youngest son, Curt August Seiberlich, lives in Herndon, Virginia. In addition, Carl has two other grandchildren (and namesakes). Curt and I have two sons who are wonderful young men who deserve to be included, Cole (17) and Blair Seiberlich (14).


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/04/1921
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/24/2006

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