|Born||May 3, 1874|
|Died||February 13, 1939(aged 64)|
|Place of birth||Worcester, Massachusetts|
|Place of death||not known|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1896-1927|
|Unit||Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance|
Spanish-American War |
World War I
|Awards||Commendations from the President|
Ralph Earle (3 May 1874 - 13 February 1939) served the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War and World War I. He was the Chief, Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) and retired as a rear admiral in 1927.
Early years[edit | edit source]
Earle was born and died in Worcester, Massachusetts, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1896.
[edit | edit source]
He served at sea in several ships, among them USS Massachusetts, Essex, and Hornet. While on board USS Missouri, he won commendations from the President and Secretary of the Navy for his conduct at the time of a disastrous turret explosion. He commanded USS Dolphin at the U.S. occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, and later commanded Connecticut.
Ordnance expertise[edit | edit source]
Ashore, Earle had duty at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Proving Ground. An expert on guns and explosives, he was made Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance shortly before the United States entered World War I. Under his administration the North Sea mine barrage was conceived and executed using a new type of mine, and the plan of mounting naval 14-inch guns on railway cars for use as long-range artillery on the Western Front, was evolved and carried out.
Later years[edit | edit source]
After his retirement in 1927, Rear Admiral Earle served as president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute until his death, 13 February 1939. Earle, well loved as WPI's sixth president implemented a five year plan which brought the students a swimming pool and a new hall named after R. Sanford Riley among other needed campus improvements. He also served as president of the Worcester Economic Club in 1931.
Honored in ship naming[edit | edit source]
The Naval Weapons Station Earle (New Jersey) was also named (in 1943) to honor the admiral because of his strong association with ordnance projects.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo of grave of Ralph Earle in Friends Cemetery Leceister, MA
- Earle Bridge at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
- Photo of A. Atwater Kent receiving honorary degree from WPI President Ralph Earle
- Worcester Engineering Society Collection with information on candidates for the Admiral Ralph Earle Award
- A Bright Chapter within Two Towers: The Story of Worcester Tech by Mildred McClary Tymeson about Earle's Presidency at WPI
- Tech Presidents
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