Kleber Sandlin Masterson – Vice Admiral, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report:

Kleber S. Masterson, 89, a retired Vice Admiral who served as a gunnery officer on battleships in World War II and later helped lead the Navy into the age of missiles and nuclear weapons, died at Inova Alexandria Hospital in Virginia on May 3, 1998 of complications after surgery for a broken hip.

Admiral Masterson, then a lieutenant, was a crew member of the USS Arizona when it was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was at his quarters on shore when the attack began but arrived at dockside to see the ship engulfed in flames.

He later was the gunnery officer of the USS Pennsylvania and was credited with reorganizing its antiaircraft defenses. In 1944, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance, where he became head of engineering planning. His subsequent career was divided between sea duty and weapons research and development jobs.

In 1950, after commanding a destroyer division and serving as a gunnery training officer at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Admiral Masterson headed the ammunition branch in the Bureau of Ordnance. In 1953, he commanded a transport in the Korean War and then was assigned to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Albuquerque.

In 1956, he was named captain of the Boston, the Navy's first guided missile cruiser. A year later, he was promoted to rear admiral and assigned to the guided missile division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1958, he became director of the division and a member of the Navy Ballistic Missiles Committee, which played an important role in developing the Polaris missiles used on nuclear submarines.

In 1961, after commanding a cruiser division in the Atlantic, Admiral Masterson was named assistant chief of naval operations for development. In 1962, he was promoted to be chief of the Bureau of Ordnance.

In 1964, he took command of the 2nd Fleet based in Norfolk and of NATO's Strike Fleet Atlantic. He commanded U.S. naval forces during the intervention in the Dominican Republic in that period. His last job was director of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group in Washington.

After his retirement from the Navy in 1969, Admiral Masterson served four years as president of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Admiral Masterson was born in San Jon, New Mexico. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1930 and later from the Naval War College. He had assignments on an aircraft carrier and destroyers before joining the Arizona in 1939.

His military decorations included two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Navy Commendation Medal and France's order of merit award.

Admiral Masterson established his residence in the Washington area in the 1940s. He lived in Arlington before moving to Goodwin House West in Falls Church about 10 years ago. He was a member of the Army Navy Country Club, the Order of the Carabao, the U.S. Naval Institute, the Navy History Foundation and Columbia Country Club.

His wife, the former Charlotte Elizabeth Parker, whom he married in 1931, died in 1986. A son, Clarence Marshall Masterson, died in 1959.

Survivors include a son, retired Navy Rear Admiral Kleber S. Masterson Jr. of Alexandria; two sisters, Ruth Bliss of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Pattie Boyd of Las Vegas; two grandsons; and three great-grandchildren.


Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)

On May 3, 1998, at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, beloved husband of the late Charlotte Elizabeth Parker Masterson. He is survived by a son, RADM, Kleber Sanlin Masterson, Jr.; grandsons, Thomas Marshall Masterson, M.D. and John Cooper Masterson, Esq.; great-grandchildren, Marshall Toufic Masterson, Samer Thomas Masterson and Rena Leila Masterson, all of Northern Virginia; and his sisters, Ruth Bliss of Flagstaff, AZ and Pattie Boyd of Las Vegas, NV. Services will be held in the Chapel at Ft. Myer at 11 a.m., May 15, 1998 followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to Goodwin House West, 3440 South Jefferson Street, Falls Church, VA 22041.

DATE OF BIRTH: 01/20/1937
DATE OF DEATH: 01/05/1959



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