Frank H. Price, Jr., Papers

Manuscript Collection #773
Price, Frank H., Jr.
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, consisting of correspondence, orders, a memoir, clippings, photographs, programs, and publications
Preferred Citation
Frank H. Price, Jr., Papers (#773), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers of Vice Admiral Frank H. Price, Jr., member of USNA Class of 1941, including correspondence, orders, a memoir, clippings, photographs, programs, and publications.

Biographical/historical information

Frank H. Price, Jr., was born in Van Lear, KY, on June 11, 1919, attended Columbian Preparatory School in Washington D.C. (1936-1937), and then enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1937and graduated in the Class of 1941. During World War II, he served aboard the USS WALKE, USS O"BRIEN, and the USS SHUBRICK. Postwar Price served on the USS MISSOURI, worked with developing conventional warheads for Navy guided missiles, was promoted to commander in 1951, and commanded the USS BEALE. He was promoted to captain while working with MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group) in Spain (1958), commanded Destroyer Division 362, served on the USS ESSEX as chief of staff and aide to COMCARDIV 18, and was captain of the nuclear-powered cruiser USS LONG BEACH (1963-1966). Price served stateside duty with the Surface Missile System Project, was named rear admiral (1968), had his last sea duty with CRUDESFLOT 8 (1969), served as deputy commander of NAVORDSYSCOM, and then duty at the Pentagon (1970). He was promoted to vice admiral in 1972 and retired in 1975.

Scope and arrangement

The collection consists of personal papers relating to the career of Vice Admiral Frank H. Price, Jr., and his 77-page memoir entitled, "Reflections on a Naval Career." The memoir gives a detailed account of his service to the U.S. Navy, and a brief history leading up to his naval career. His memoir gives a complete naval career history including life at the Naval Academy (1937-1941). Price's first assignment was duty on the destroyer USS WALKE (DD-416) assigned to DESRON 2, consisting of USS SIMS (DD-409), USS HUGHES (DD-410), USS ANDERSON (DD-441), USS HAMMANN (DD-412), USS MUSTIN (DD-413), USS RUSSELL (DD-414), USS O'BRIEN (DD-415), and flagship USS MORRIS (DD-417). Discussed are operating on neutrality patrols, patrolling for German submarines and escorting of convoys, the escort of first U.S. Army troops to Iceland to relieve the original Marine occupying force, and Naval activity after the attack on Pearl Harbor [pp. 6-12].

Price was reassigned to the USS O'BRIEN as communications officer and in the gunnery department, and plotting room officer and he describes operations as escorts for convoys, life as a marine stationed on Samoa, and operations as part of Task Force 17 [pp.13-14, 1942] . He also discusses the September 15, 1942, torpedo attacks on the USS O'BRIEN, USS WASP [CV-7], and USS NORTH CAROLINA [BB-55, p. 15]; gives a summarization of the publication of the U.S. Naval Institute proceedings of July 1982 concerning that attack (diagram included) [pp. 16-17]; and describes his subsequent assignment to USS SHUBRICK (DD-639) Benson Class, as gunnery officer and promotion to full lieutenant [p.18, 1943].

The SHUBRICK was part of DESRON 17, which also included USS NELSON [DD-623], USS MURPHY [DD-603], USS GLENNON [DD-620], USS JEFFERS [DD-621], USS MADDOX [DD-622], USS BUTLER [DD-636], USS GHERARDI [DD-637], and USS HERNDON [DD-638]. He describes Operation "Husky," (the invasion of Sicily) and landings at Gela [p.19, 1943]; life and entertainment on Malta as an officer; the Italian surrender in September 1943; and promotion to executive officer on the USS SHUBRICK. Also discussed are preparations for "Operation Overlord," the landings at Normandy, (diagram included); operations of the SHUBRICK and "Force U" including the USS NEVADA [BB-36], USS QUINCY [CA-71], USS TUSCALOOSA [CA-37], HMS ENTERPRISE, HMS HAWKINS, and the HMS BLACK PRINCE [p.24, 1944]; and the SHUBRICK and the Dutch ship [HMNS] SOEMBA during the invasion of France June 9-12, 1944 [p.25]. Further mention is made of U.S. PT boats combating German E-boats, and the invasion of southern France, "Operation Anvil" on August 12, 1944 [p.26].

After Price's World War II service ended, he discusses pursuing post graduate school coursework [p.27]; his appointment to lieutenant commander in 1947; orders to report to the USS MISSOURI (BB-63) as assistant gunnery officer, air defense officer, and command duty officer [p.29]; and the daily life of officers and their families [p.31]. Then he discusses his assignment to the Bureau of Ordnance as part of the Research Division, branch Re3, as head of section Re3c developing conventional aircraft bombs and gun projectiles, and as head of section Re3f developing conventional warheads for all Navy guided missiles [1949]. He was promoted to commander in 1951 [p.32,]; and assigned to the USS BEALE (DDE-471) Fletcher Class, as commanding officer. His memoir continues with description of the BEALE's operations as escort destroyer for anti-submarine service against Russia, and installation of ASW (anti-submarine warfare) sensors, fire control and weapons [p.33, 1951]. The BEALE joins ESCORT DIVISION 22, ESCORT DESTROYER SQUADRON 2, DESTROYER FLOTILLA 4 [p.37], and engaged in operations with ASW Hunter Killer (HUK) force, consisting of the USS BLOCK ISLAND [CVE-106], USS MASSEY [DD-778], and the USS BENHAM [DD-796], and operations with USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT [CVB-42].

Subsequently he was assigned to the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C., as assistant inspection officer [p.41, 1953], and he discussed the closing of the Naval Gun Factory, the production of the new 50 series of underwater mines [p.42, 1954]; his National War College appointment [p.43, 1956] and his orders to Section MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group) in Spain [p.44, 1957]. While with MAAG, he is promoted to captain, MAAG operations in Spain [p.45, 1958] and this led to orders to command Destroyer Division 362 consisting of Flagship USS R[obert] L. WILSON (DDE-847), USS BASILONE (DD[E]-824), and USS DAMATO (DD-871) [P.46, 1959], to orders as Chief of Staff and aide to COMCARDIV 18 (an ASW carrier division) [p.47], and being stationed on the USS ESSEX (CVS-9) [p. 48, 1960].

Price describes the recovery of the first U.S. suborbital manned space flight capsule (carrying Astronaut Alan Shepard) while serving on the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN [p.49, 1961]; becoming captain of the nuclear-powered cruiser, USS LONG BEACH (CGN-9) [p.53, 1963] and the cruiser's participation in operations as carrier task group, Task Force 60.2 [p.55, 1963]. Further description is provided for Operation "Sea Orbit" of Nuclear Task Force One, including USS LONG BEACH, USS ENTERPRISE [CVAN-65], and the USS BAINBRIDGE [DLGN-25, p.58]; and the installation and experimentation of the first satellite navigation system ever put to sea. In 1966 he received orders as deputy for the Surface Missile System Project [p.66] and describes working on the establishment of the Standard Missile Family combining the Tartar and Terrier missiles, and the development of the Aegis System [p.66].

Subsequent to being promoted to rear admiral (1968), Price took over command of CRUDESFLOT 8 [P.67, 1969]. He mentions the development of "SIMPLE SAMID" (Ships Anti-Missile Integrated Defense); his appointment as Chairman of the SECOND FLEET Anti Air Warfare (AAW) Committee [p.68]; USN operations of TG 60.2 in dealing with the hijacking of a TWA plane in the Sinai Peninsula [p.71]; and his duty as deputy commander in NAVORDSYSCOM [p.72, 1969].

Orders to the Pentagon as Director, Ship Characteristics Division/Chairman, Ships Characteristics Board, Naval Operations [p.73, 1970] included assignment as the program coordinator for a new construction destroyer program. He mentions the development of Project 60 by Admiral Zumwalt [p.74, 1970]; development of the Patrol Frigate Program, and of the Ship Acquisition and Improvement Division (OP 97) [p.75, 1972]; and assignment to duty as director of said division. He was also promoted to vice admiral in 1972 [p.76] and mentions work on establishing a Surface Warfare Community [p.77]. He continued with OP 97 until Admiral Zumwalt retired and in 1974 Price moved onto PO 03 where he was working when he retired in 1975.

Other material found in this collection includes naval correspondence; magazine and newspaper articles dealing with satellite navigation, Nuclear Task Force, and diplomatic and social events; and naval publications and pamphlets. Official USN interoffice documentation from the Bureau of Personnel includes recommendations for promotions, awards, changes of duty, reports on the fitness of officers, U.S. Naval dispatch communications, per diem billings, citations, requests for authorization, certificates of clearance for security purposes, and authorizations for access to secured materials. Also included are officer biography sheets, interoffice memorandums, relief of active duty orders, and programs for commissioning and decommissioning of ships and for change of command. Photographs include portraits of Frank H. Price, Jr., along with other officers of the US Navy, and the firing of Terrier and Talos missiles.

Administrative information
Custodial History

September 8, 1998 0.25 cu. ft.; Papers of vice admiral, member of USNA Class of 1941, including correspondence, orders, a memoir, clippings, photographs, programs, and publications. Donor: VAdm. Frank H. Price, Jr. USN (Ret).

Source of acquisition

Gift of VAdm. Frank H. Price, Jr.

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services. Processed by Martha Elmore and others.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Duty files (1942-1960) including active duty orders, authorizations, citations, fitness reports, recommendations for citations and promotions, per diem billings, and memoranda
Box 1 Folder c Memoir, Reflections on a Naval Career (1937-1975), by Frank H. Price, Jr., VADM, USN (Ret)
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence and articles related to the Nuclear Task Force which included the USS LONG BEACH commanded by Captain Frank H. Price, Jr, 1964-1965
Box 1 Folder e Photographs include an official image of Price, VADM Ernesto De Pellegrini (commander in chief, Italian Naval Forces) visiting the USS LONG BEACH in Taranto, Italy (1963), and the 1960 change of command for Price from COMMANDER DESTROYER DIVISION 362. Also included are 2 images of the launching of FFG-7 Guided Missile Frigate USS OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (1976) which include John "Duke" Wayne and Donald Rumsfeld as well as Price, and 2 images of Talos and Terrier missiles being fired from Nuclear Cruiser USS LONG BEACH (1963)
Box 1 Folder f Programs related to change of command, commissioning, decommissioning, and welcoming ceremonies for USS LONG BEACH, USS BEALE, USS KINKAID, and USS SHUBRICK. Also included are a 1957 graduation program for The National War College, and issues of the United States Naval Institute (1964), 1945-1974