Admiral J. Whittle, Jr., USN(Ret), who helped develop the nuclear submarine service and ended his career as Chief of Naval Materiel, died of cancer May 18 at his home in Arlington, VA.
In 1982, Admiral Whittle was instrumental in the formation and organization of the Naval Submarine League and was its founding Chairman of the Board. His keen insight and vision was the major factor in establishing the structure and mission of the League. Today, this organization provides, worldwide, a recognized and credible dialogue concerning the issues surround-ing submarine warfare through its quarterly publication and symposia.
Admiral Whittle was captain of the nuclear submarines SEAWOLF and ANDREW JACKSON in the 1960s, and in 1970 he assumed command of Submarine Squadron Six in Norfolk. In 1972, he took command of Submarine Flotilla Six in Charleston,sc.
From 1976 to 1978, he was chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander for the Atlantic with headquarters in Norfolk. His many Washington assignments included several periods in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
In April 1978, he was named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Logistics, and in August of that year he was promoted to four star rank and named Chief of Naval Materiel.
His military decorations included three awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.
After leaving the Navy, Admiral Whittle was a director of Sippican Inc. of Marion, MA, makers of oceanographic sensors, underwater vehicles and similar equipment. He also was chairman of the Bird Johnson Co., manufacturers of marine propulsion systems. From 1983 to 1985 he was a vice president of Lockheed Advanced Marine Systems in San Diego.
Admiral Whittle, who had maintained a residence in Arlington since the 1960s, was born in Mount Vernon, NY. He attended New York University before being appointed as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He graduated in 1945.
He served on destroyers in the Pacific at the end of World War II and then shifted to submarines. In 1957, after duty on several other boats, he took command of the submarine STERLET.
In the early 1960s, he studied technical aspects of nuclear propulsion in Washington and at the National Reactor Test Site in Arco, ID. This led to his appointment as prospective commanding officer of SEAWOLF, which at that time was receiving a new nuclear power plant. From 1962 to 1966 he commanded one of the alternating crews of ANDREW JACKSON.
Admiral Whittle’s next assignment was at the Institute of Defense Analysis in Arlington. After three years of study there, he served for brief periods in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and as chief of staff to the Commander of Submarine Flotilla Six.
A yachtsman, Admiral Whittle cruised the East Coast from Maine to Florida. He also sailed on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Bahamas and the West Indies. He was instrumental in setting up the U.S . Naval Sailing Association at the Naval Academy, and he was a past commodore and trustee of the organization. He also was a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron. He had a winter residence in Naples, FL.
Survivors include his wife, the former Phyllis King Schneible, who lives in Arlington; two sons, retired Navy Commander Alfred 1. Whittle, Ill of Millersville, MD, and Jeffrey King Whittle of Wayland, MA; and three grandchildren.
FTCS(SS) Francis J. Coffey, USN(Ret.)
Developer of the “Coffey Plot”
CAPT George F. Morin, USN(Ret.)