David Frederick Emerson – Vice Admiral, United States Navy

David Frederick Emerson

Born 22 September, 1926 in Indiana
Died 8 October 2003

Commissioned Ensign from U.S. Naval Academy 1950
Advanced through Grades to Vice Admiral 1978

Commanding Officer, USS. Redpoll 1955-57
Served with Bureau of Naval Personnel 1957-59
Executive Officer, USS. Barry 1959-61
Student, Naval War College 1963-64

Staff of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 12, 1964-65 Commanding Officer, USS. Semmes 1965-67 Served with Office of the Defense Secretary 1967-69 Served with US. Naval Forces Viet-Nam 1969-70 Commander, Destroyer Division 62, 1970-71 Commander, Destroyer Squadron 6, 1971-72 Served with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations 1972-74 Commander, South Atlantic Force, Atlantic Fleet 1974-75 Deputy Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic Fleet 1975-77 Commander, Operational Test & Evaluation Force 1978-80 Ret. 1980


David F. Emerson

With the death of Vice Admiral David F. Emerson, the Charleston community lost a very special citizen and an unsung hero.

After a distinguished Navy career, Admiral Emerson retired to Charleston. I had the great privilege of working with him in the In Defense of Charleston effort to respond to the 1993 base closing challenge. Admiral Emerson's help was invaluable in our community, withstanding the 1993 BRAC closing as well as we did.

In 1995, Admiral Emerson had followed very closely the matter of the Navy's nuclear power training school, which was then in Orlando, Florida, and was slated to move to New London, Connecticut. Admiral Emerson was a great help as we sought to have the nuclear power training school come to Charleston at the Naval Weapons Station.

The skid seemed to be greased in favor of the school moving to New London, and it was therefore a great coup for the Charleston community to have the school move here. The nuclear power training school has proven to be a wonderful asset for our community, as we knew it would be, located at the Naval Weapons Station, the most perfect place for the United States Navy. All of the Navy's personnel who serve on nuclear powered ships now come to Charleston for this school, which is in essence a college campus.

I do not believe we would have been able to secure the nuclear power training school had it not been for Admiral Emerson's work. I walked with him through the halls of the Pentagon and saw the great esteem and admiration in which he was held. He understood how we would best make the case for Charleston.

Admiral Emerson's contributions to this community extend far beyond this excellent school. He was a fine and devoted citizen, a person of great intellect and good humor. He enriched the lives of everyone who knew him and made Charleston a better place.



Died October 8, 2003. He was born on Monday, September 22, 1926, in Angola, Indiana, a son of Kenton C. and Lucille Godfrey Emerson. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with Star distinction in 1950 and retired after 36 years of faithful service to his country.

He then worked in Washington, D.C. for Ketron and with Kapros Associates as a consultant to the Defense Department.

Vice Admiral Emerson is survived by his wife of 49 years, Constance C. Emerson of Charleston, South Carolina; three daughters, Anne Hall, artist of Atlanta, Betsy Sass, registered nurse of Charleston and Commander Ellen Emerson, USN of Virginia; four beloved grandchildren, a son-in-law, and a brother, Andrew C. Emerson of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Funeral services will Full Military Honors will be held 1 p.m., Monday, December 22, 2003 at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Arlington National Cemetery.


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment