Richard Norman Tetlie
Richard Norman Tetlie (27 June 1921 – 23 September 1999) was born abroad in Kikungshan, Honan, China, where his parents, Reverend Joseph Tetlie and Evelyn Louise Ytterboe, were missionaries engaged in educational work. He graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1943 with a Bachelor’s degree in History with proficiency in French and German. The Tetlie family had strong ties to St. Olaf College going back to the college's earliest days, when it was still St. Olaf's School. His father, Rev. Joseph Tetlie, was the college's first Rhodes Scholar and his maternal grandfather, Professor Halvor T. Ytterboe, is credited with saving St. Olaf from financial ruin during the depression of the 1890s. Tetlie was also the great-nephew of St. Olaf's first president, Thorbjorn N. Mohn.
Richard N. Tetlie enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November of 1943 and underwent four months of training at the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in New York, NY. After completing the program Ensign Tetlie spent one month training at the U.S. Pacific Fleet Amphibious Forces Training Command at Fort Emory, CA. Upon completion of his training, Tetlie was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (January 1944) and assigned as a Ship-to-Shore Division Officer of the Fort Emory Detachment, Landing Craft School, Coronado, CA, where he was tasked with training men in the fundamentals of the amphibious ship-to-shore maneuver (January 1944- May 1945).
In June of 1945, Lt. Tetlie was assigned to the USS
New York (BB-34) as the ship’s Newspaper Reporter, Historian, and Chief Warrant Officer (under instruction). Lt. Tetlie served aboard the USS
New York until January 1946 when he was reassigned as a Public Information Officer in the Third Naval District. Lt. Tetlie was released from active duty on the 26th of August 1946.
At the conclusion of his naval career, Lt. Tetlie became a reporter and editor at the
Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama (1946-1947). In 1948, Lt. Tetlie joined the Foreign Service of the United States where he held positions of Public Affairs Officer and Cultural Attaché and established the United States Information Service in Israel. In 1951, Lt. Tetlie joined the Department of State in the Educational Exchange Service under the Smith-Mundt Act and was responsible for educational exchange programs for foreign professors and research scholars.
In his later years Mr. Tetlie became an art representative in charge of arranging and negotiating the deposition of works of art in private institutions and collections in the United States and abroad. He also became a collector of art and acquired paintings, sculptures, and textiles from around the world. Upon Richard Norman Tetlie’s death in 1999, Richard’s sister, Brunhild “Bunny” Tetlie Sather assisted in the donation and exhibition of Richard Tetlie’s art collection to St. Olaf College. Richard Norman Tetlie’s art collection is still currently housed at St. Olaf College. He is buried at Oaklawn Cemetery in Northfield, Minnesota.
Link to St. Olaf’s Tetlie Collection:
New York (BB-34) was launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the 15th of April 1914. She was the sixth vessel bearing the same name in the U.S. Navy. At the time of her construction, the USS
New York measured 573 feet in length, displaced 27,000 tons, rated at a speed of 20.23 knots, and carried a compliment of about 1575 crew members. She bore the nickname “Christmas Ship” when in 1915 the crew decided to give a Christmas party to the orphans of New York. Because of its success, this tradition spread to many other ships in the Navy.
On December 7, 1917, the USS
New York was dispatched as the flag ship for Admiral Hugh Rodman’s American fleet sent to reinforce the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea. Serving the course of WWI in the North Sea, the USS
New York participated in the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow on November 21, 1918. During the interwar years the USS
New York participated in a multitude of training and escort missions that took her from the Caribbean, to Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, and across the Atlantic. Between 1926 and 1927 the USS
New York underwent a full modernization at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
Following the outbreak of WWII, the USS
New York was active in the North Atlantic serving as an escort while maintaining the neutrality of the United States. When the United States declared war on December 7, 1941, the USS
New York was undergoing a major overhaul at the Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1942 she participated in several Atlantic convoys and in November participated in the U.S. landings in North Africa. Throughout her service in the Atlantic, the USS
New York never suffered any damage from enemy fire.
Between July 7, 1943, and June 10, 1945, the USS
New York served as a training platform for a Destroyer Escort and Main Battery Gunnery School operating in the Chesapeake Bay. In November 1945 the USS
New York got underway to join the American fleet in the Pacific. While in the Pacific theater she participated in the pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima (16 February 1945) and in the invasion of Okinawa (27 March 1945). She stayed in action for 76 consecutive days following Okinawa, the longest period of any capital ship. The USS
New York also participated in the pre-invasion bombardment of the beaches in front of Yontan Airfield and supported the advance of the Tenth Army and Marines throughout the course of the Pacific Campaign. On June 12th 1945, the USS
New York left Okinawa and returned to Pearl Harbor to be completely regunned.
By the time her refurbishments were complete, the Japanese surrendered and the war in the Pacific came to an end. The USS
New York returned to New York City to take part in the Navy Day celebrations (27 October 1945). Following her return she was selected as a test ship in Operation Crossroads and was used in the nuclear bomb tests at Bikini Atoll (July 1946). Having survived the tests and remaining afloat, she was towed back to Pearl Harbor to undergo studies of the after effects of nuclear attacks. The USS
New York was final sunk on 6 July 1948, when she was used for target practice by naval aircraft and ships.