Admiral Lawrence Chambers honored in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Lawrence (Larry) Cleveland Chambers, born June 10,1929 was a naval aviator and holds the distinction of being the first African American to command a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and the first African American graduate of the naval Academy to reach flag rank.

Chambers was the second African American to graduate from the Naval Academy on June 6, 1952.

In January 1975, Chambers became the first African American to command an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, serving as the ship’s commanding officer until December 1976. Chambers commanded the USS Midway during Operation Frequent Wind – the evacuation of U.S. and South Vietnamese personnel at the end of the Vietnamese conflict. Chambers gave the controversial order to push overboard millions of dollars worth UH-1 Huey helicopters so South Vietnamese Air Force Major Buang-Ly could land on the aircraft in a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog with his wife and five children, thereby saving their lives.

In partnership with the National Naval Officers Association and USS Midway Museum, the Urban League of San Diego County (ULSDC) will pay homage to African Americans military leaders that fought to maintain our freedom, rights and liberties. Just ahead of the Fourth of July celebrations, ULSDC President and CEO Ray King will share a special tribute to Admiral Lawrence (Larry) Cleveland Chambers, USN (Ret.), one of the most respected African American Retired Admirals that served in the U.S. Navy.

Admiral Lawrence (Larry) Cleveland Chambers, USN (Ret.) (born June 10, 1929) was a naval aviator and holds the distinction of being the first African American to command a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and the first African American graduate of the Naval Academy to reach flag rank. Chambers commanded the USS Midway during Operation Frequent Wind – the evacuation of U.S. and South Vietnamese personnel at the end of the Vietnamese conflict.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News