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Thorvald A. Solberg
Rear Admiral Thorvald A. Solberg
Born (1894-02-17)17 February 1894
Died 16 May 1964(1964-05-16) (aged 70)
Place of birth Mason, Wisconsin
Place of death Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy United States Navy
Years of service 1916–1951
Rank US-O8 insignia Rear Admiral
Service number O-2552
Commands held Office of Naval Research
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Legion of Merit (2)

Rear Admiral Thorvald A. Solberg (17 February 1894 – 16 May 1964) was a senior officer in the United States Navy, and the Chief of the Office of Naval Research from 1948 to 1951.


Thorvald A. Solberg was born in Mason, Wisconsin, on 17 February 1894,[1] the son of Norwegian immigrants Thomas and Martha Solberg.[2] In 1905, the family moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, where he graduated from Sandpoint High School in 1911.[3]

Solberg was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland by Senator William Borah of Idaho, and was commissioned in the United States Navy as an ensign on graduation in 1916.[3] During World War I he served on board the cruiser USS Tacoma.[1]

Solberg studied electrical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School,[3] and then attended Columbia University, receiving a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in 1924.[1] In 1931 and 1932 he worked on the development of a boiler compound to prevent the build up of limescale in ships' boilers. This was approved by the Bureau of Engineering in its 1933 "Standard Navy Boiler Compound Specifications".[4]

During World War II, he was an engineering officer on the staff of the Commander, Battle Force from July 1939 to April 1941. He then went to London as a naval observer. He returned to the United States in March 1944, and served with the Bureau of Ships until October 1946. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1945, with his seniority backdated to December 1942.[1]

During Operation Crossroads in 1946, Solberg was responsible for preparing the target fleet.[5] As head of the Bureau of Ships' Research and Standards Branch, he was also appointed to the Military Liaison Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission in November 1946.[6] He became the Chief of the Office of Naval Research in 1948, a position he held until he retired in 1951.[3]

Solberg was twice awarded the Legion of Merit.[3] In 1947, Solberg Inlet in Antarctica was named after him by the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition (RARE) in recognition of the assistance given to the expedition by Solberg and the Office of Naval Research.[7]

He was forced to retire in 1951 after reaching 35 years of service.[8] He died on 16 March 1964,[1] and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[9] He was survived by his wife, his son John B. Solberg, and his stepdaughter Gretchen Mobberley.[3]



  • Ancell, R. Manning; Miller, Christine (1996). The Biographical Dictionary of World War II Generals and Flag Officers: The US Armed Forces. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29546-8. OCLC 33862161. 
  • Carlisle, Rodney P. (1998). Where the fleet begins: a history of the David Taylor Research Center, 1898-1998. Washington, D.C.: United States Naval Historical Center. ISBN 0-160-49442-7. OCLC 39229697. 
  • Christman, Albert B. (1998). Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-120-3. OCLC 38257982. 

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