Vice Admiral Harry Bean Jarrett (1898–1974)

Following graduation from the Naval Academy, Jarrett made a six month’s cruise aboard the USS Rochester CA124, Flagship of Destroyer Squadrons, Atlantic Fleet. USS Rochester Operated with Special Service Squadron, including duty in Honduras during the revolution.

After six months schooling in submarines at the Submarine School, New London, CT., and for the following two years was attached to the USS R-19, based at Honolulu, TH.

In June 1927, he returned to Annapolis, Maryland, for instructions in Diesel Engineering and Received a Master of Science degree. In October 1929, he then had further duty until June 1932 in Submarines S-23 and V-5 as Engineering Officer and for the subsequent years served as Engineer and Repair Officer of the Submarine Base at Coco Solo, Canal Zone. He assumed command of the USS S-14 in the Canal Zone in October 1934 and from June 1935 until June 1937, had duty as Assistant Engineer of the USS Northampton (CA 26) on the West Coast. He then returned to the Naval Academy, where he served until December 1940 as Discipline Officer and in that tour of duty spent four months in the summer of 1938 aboard the USS New York (BB 34), on the Midshipmen’s training cruise on the East Coast and Europe.

For a year before the outbreak of World War II and until June 1942, he commanded the USS Morris (DD 417), participating in the Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway during the early combat period.

“For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS Morris DD417, during the Rescue of survivors from the USS Lexington in the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942”, he was awarded The Navy Cross. The citation continues: “At a time when the USS Lexington was being shaken By violent explosions and gutted by raging fires, Commander Jarrett, in courageous disregard for his own Personal safety, placed his ship alongside the stricken aircraft carrier and took aboard a considerable Portion of it’s crew. His gallant initiative and inspiring leadership in a perilous emergency contributed materially to the reduction of personal casualties and to the rescue of many survivors who might otherwise have perished.”

Relieved of command of the USS Morris in June 1942, he again returned to the Naval Academy For a second tour of duty as a Discipline Officer, August 1942 to November 1943. The next month he assumed command of Destroyer Squadron 53 in the Pacific. Commodore H.B. Jarrett, USN, Hoisted his pennant aboard the USS Colahan (DD 658) on 4 December, 1943, at San Francisco, California. Two days later the USS Colahan sailed for Pearl Harbor, TH., arriving on 11 December 1943, to join the rapidly growing Pacific Fleet.

Returning to the West Coast in June 1945, Captain Jarrett was in command for eighteen months of the Underway Training Unit at San Diego, CA. From November 1946 until September 1947, he commanded the USS Astoria in the Pacific and transferring to the Atlantic, served from October 1947 to July 1949 as Chief of Staff and Aide on the staff of Commander Training Command, Atlantic Fleet. He then reported for duty as Plans and Policy Officer, Naval Reserve, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In July 1950, he was assigned duty as U S Senior Military Attaché, China, where he remained until November 1951. Vice Admiral Jarrett was a personal friend of President Chiang Kai Shek of the Republic of China in Taipei and was decorated with “The Order of Cloud and Banner.”

Returning to the United States, he reported for duty in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, where he remained for a month before he assumed command on 15 December 1951 of Destroyer Flotilla FOUR. In April 1952, he transferred to Command of Cruiser Division FOUR.

In February 1953, he reported as Deputy Naval Inspector General, Navy Department, Washington, DC and continued serving in that capacity until transferred to the Retired List of the U S Navy effective 1 November 1954 with the rank of Vice Admiral.

The military branches refer to an officer as being an “Officer and a Gentleman,” however, Harry Bean Jarrett was first a “Gentleman” and then an “Officer” second.

After retirement, Vice Admiral Jarrett and his wife Mary spent some time in Spain traveling in their Volkswagen bug. For part of many years they were in Coronado, CA and finally bought a condominium across the street from the Hotel Coronado.

Admiral Jarrett died at the San Diego Naval Hospital on 9 April 1974. On 2 July, 1983, the USS Jarrett (FFG 33), a guided missile frigate, was commissioned to honor him for his distinguished naval service.

Those of us who were honored by the chance to serve with him on three Fletcher-class destroyers will attest that he was the best and you could never forget “Uncle Beany.”

In addition to the Navy Cross, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star and Combat V and Bronze star with Combat V, Vice Admiral Jarrett has the Victory Medal, (World War I ) American Defense Service Medal with bronze A, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Silver and four Bronze stars (nine engagements), World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two Bronze stars. He was also awarded the Order of Cloud and Banner from Nationalist China.

Vice Admiral Jarrett died 9 April 1974 and is buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery.

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Captain William G. Beecher relieved Captain Harry B. Jarrett on 23 May 1945 as Commander Destroyer Squadron 53. Captain Beecher began his naval career in 1925 as Junior Officer consecutively in the battleships USS Texas and USS Arizona. He service aboard the cruiser USS Raleigh and the destroyers USS Kidder (DD319) and USS Roper, and was Chief Engineering Officer in the oiler USS Neches. From July 1932 until May 1935, he served in the Executive Department of the Naval Academy and following that duty was in turn Executive Officer of the USS Montgomery and USS Sicard, both light minelayers with the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor.

In February 1938, he reported to the Navy Department for duty as Assistant to the Director of Public Relations, in which duty he served until March 1940. He later assumed command of the USS Pruitt, flagship of Mine Division ONE, Pacific Fleet. On 2 December 1941 he was transferred to command the destroyer USS Flusser. From 6 July 1942 until 14 October 1943, he was assistant to the Director of the Navy Department’s Office of Public Relations, and from 14 October 1943 until August 1944, was Deputy Director.

He assumed command of Mine Division SEVEN in September 1944. For his services with the command, which operated off Iwo Jima, Okinawa, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat V. The citation read in part: “For exceptionally meritorious conduct … as Commander Mine Division SEVEN in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa from 19 March to 12 May 1945. During a period of intensive hostile air action, (he) maintained the ships of his division and others temporarily under his command at a high peak of efficiency in operations . . . during this vital campaign, operating successfully for extended periods of time in dangerous and incompletely charted waters . . .”

From May 1945, until early in 1946 he was Commander Destroyer Squadron 53. The command consisted of the flagship USS Cushing DD797 and eight other destroyers operating with Admiral Halsey’s THIRD FLEET. His squadron participated in strikes on Japanese home Islands during the closing days of the war. In July 1945, the destroyers in the squadron skirted along the southern coast of Honshu and bombarded radio stations and airports ashore. Before the occupation of Japan, Destroyer Squadron 53 sailed into Sagami Wan ahead of the battleship USS Iowa and served as picket and harbor control ships in Tokyo Bay.

Returning to the West Coast in November 1945, he later reported to the Navy Department for temporary duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. On 19 March 1946, he became District Public Information Officer, Third Naval District and Eastern Sea Frontier, in New York City. The following June he was ordered as Special Assistant for Public Relations to James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy. He was relieved of that duty in July 1947 and was a student at the National War College, Washington DC for a year. The next year, he was a member of the Joint Staff of Admiral D. C. Ramsey, USN, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific.

In the summer of 1949, he was ordered to duty in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC. Later that year he was assigned to the Standing Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On 18 August 1951, he assumed command of Transport Division TWENTY ONE, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. Upon completion of that duty in July 1952, he assumed command of the Naval Amphibious Training Unit, an element of the Amphibious Training Command, U,S. Atlantic Fleet. He also had additional duty as Chief of Staff and Aide to Rear Admiral Rufus E. Rose, USN, Commander Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. In January 1954 he became Commander Middle East Force.

He became Chief of Information, Navy Department on 1 July 1954, serving in that capacity until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective 1 August 1955.

In addition to the Legion of Merit, Vice Admiral Beecher holds the Commendation Ribbon awarded by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty as Deputy Director and Acting Director of Public Relations, 1943-44, the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp and the National Defense Service Medal.

Vice Admiral Beecher’s hobby for many years has been song writing. He is the composer of some 700 songs. Many of these have been published and among them are A Song of Old Hawaii, Nimitz, Halsey and Me and the musical score for The Ramparts We Watch, a movie by The March of Time. He was technical advisor for the Warner Brothers movie Shipmates Forever and contributed to the lyrics of the pictures theme song Don’t Give Up the Ship. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Vice Admiral Beecher died on 7 December 1973 at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital after a long illness.