Richard Gustaf Altmann – Rear Admiral, United States Navy

Retired Navy Rear Admiral Richard G. Altmann, 85, of Flat Rock, North Carolina, died Sunday, January 4, 2009, at the Elizabeth House.


Admiral Altmann was born in Brooklyn, New York, but was a native of Long Island, New York. In June 1943, at the age of 19, he was commissioned an Ensign Naval Aviator. In 1944, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy’s highest combat award, as a torpedo bomber pilot, for gallantry in action against the Japanese fleet at the battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands.

Admiral Altmann attended the Naval War College and held a master of science degree in international relations from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

Admiral Altmann retired after 33 years on active duty. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four gold stars and the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1976.

After retiring from the Navy, the Admiral had three other major careers. He directed a presidential study on compensation for President Ford and President Carter for two years. He then became President of the American Institute of Steel Construction for five years. This institute served the steel fabricators of the United States. Lastly, he became CEO of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago for four years.

In 1988, he retired to Flat Rock, where he organized and became the first president of the Kenmure Homeowners Association, was a board member for United Way; chairman of 1994 United Way Campaign; chaired the United Way Ocklawaha Society Campaign; chairman of the Community Foundation Community Relations Committee; he was a board member for Crime Stoppers; president of the Henderson County Blue Ridge Humane Society for three years; board member and past president of the Hendersonville Country Club for three years; a member of the Kedron Lodge No. 387 AF & AM, 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason; and the Oasis Shrine Temple.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Carol; three daughters, Barbara A. Dotterer, Denise C. Tiedeman and Ellen Strout; a son, Richard Altmann Jr.; a sister, Catherine A. Murrin of Chicago, Illinois; his grandchildren, Erin Carvalho, William Tiedeman, William Strout and Wylie Strout; great-grandchildren are Will Tiedeman and Will, Scott and Kaitlyn Strout.

Interment will take place in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Henderson County Humane Society, 88 Centipede Lane, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28792 or Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, 1750 Radford Blvd., Suite B, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida 32508-3104.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 343 (October 1945)


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Richard Gustaf Altmann, Ensign, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Combat Plane in Composite Squadron THREE (VC-3), embarked from the U.S.S. KALININ BAY (CVE-68), and deployed over Samar in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle for Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands on 25 October 1944.

When his task force was in imminent danger of being destroyed by heavy gunfire from an overwhelming force of hostile warships, Ensign Altmann piloted one of the first planes launched, immediately maneuvering to attack the leading heavy cruiser.

In bold defiance of the enemy's devastating antiaircraft fire, he obtained a direct hit amidships causing an explosion.

After firing he remaining ammunition, inflicting further damage to the enemy, he landed at an airfield, rearmed and returned to the battle, obtaining direct hits on a ship. He then continued to make repeated attacks, inflicting further damage and diverting antiaircraft fire from other planes that were attacking. Ensign Altmann's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 343 (October 1945)
Born: August 28, 1923 at Brooklyn, New York
Home Town: Brooklyn, New York


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/28/1923
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/04/2009


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