Ralph Herbert Carnahan – Rear Admiral, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report:

Ralph Herbert Carnahan, 76, a Navy rear admiral who retired in 1978 and spent the last two years of his career as commandant of the Naval District of Washington, died of cardiac arrest February 19, 2001 at Bethesda Naval Medical Command, Maryland.

Admiral Carnahan, a McLean, Virginia, resident, had previously been deputy director of the Defense Mapping Agency, commanding officer of the Navy's Nuclear Power School, then in Bainbridge, Maryland., and director of operations for the Polaris and Poseidon weapons systems for the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk.

A former submarine commander, he became director of submarine programs at Cortana Corp., a consulting firm in Falls Church, in the late 1970s. He then spent about five years as vice president of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

He was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit and two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal.

A Pittsburgh native, Admiral Carnahan was a 1946 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and received a master's degree in political science from Auburn University in Alabama. He was a graduate of the Air War College in Alabama and the Navy nuclear power and Polaris weapons programs.

His memberships included Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington. A lifelong Boy Scout, he was on numerous scouting advisory boards and held such positions as chairman for exploring in the national-capital area council. He was member of the Order of the Arrow, and a recipient of the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards, among the highest honors for service the Scouts bestow.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Betty J. Shakespeare “Bets” Carnahan of McLean; and two granddaughters. A son, Steven, died in 1982.


ON Monday, February 19, 2001 RALPH H. CARNAHAN, of McLean, VA. Beloved husband of Betty J. Carnahan. Predeceased by son, Steven in 1982. He is also survived by daughter-in-law, Christine Carnahan and granddaughters, Erin and Kalin, all of Raleigh, NC and other devoted family members and friends. Funeral services will be held at Ft. Myer Chapel on Wednesday March 7, 2001 at 1 p.m.Interment Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society and/or the Boy Scouts of America.


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