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Bellinger, Patrick Nieson Lynch (1885-1962)


Photograph of Patrick L. Bellinger
Arlington National Cemetary Website
Used by permission.

Patrick Bellinger graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1907.  He was an aviation pioneer, earning his wings in 1912 as Naval Aviator #8, and he participated in the Navy's first transatlantic flight in 1919.  He also had combat experience, having flown the Navy's first air combat missions at Vera Cruz in 1914.  He had risen to command of all scouting aircraft of the Pacific Fleet at the time of the Pearl Harbor disaster.  The majority of his seaplanes were destroyed in the attack.  He was responsible for sending the message, "Air raid, Pearl Harbor.  This is no drill", which was the first notice to the outside world of the attack.

Bellinger's career survived the disaster, perhaps because he had co-authored a report with Air Corps General Fredrick L. Martin warning of the possibility of an air attack on Pearl Harbor. However, while consulting in Washington, D.C., in July 1942, a routine physical examination discovered that he had a mild heart condition, which ended his combat career. He became Chief of Staff to Admiral King the next month.  In March 1943, he took command of all antisubmarine patrol aircraft in the Atlantic, and was promoted to vice admiral in October.

Bellinger was noted for a sunny disposition that masked a strong sense of conviction. Though not a deep thinker, he was willing to champion the conclusions of more brilliant subordinates.

Service record

1885-10-8    

Born at Cheraw, South Carolina
1907
Ensign     
Graduates from Naval Academy
1912

Flight training
1914

BB Mississippi
1917
Lieutenant commander     
Commander, Hampton Roads Naval Air Station
1940
Captain
Commander, Norfolk Air Station
1940
Rear admiral     
Commander, Patrol Wing 2
1941

Commander, Aircraft, Scouting Force
1942-5-1

Commander, Patrol Aircraft, Pacific Fleet
1942-8-9   

Chief of staff, U.S. Fleet
1943-3-20     

Commander, Atlantic Fleet Air Force
1943-10
Vice admiral

1949

Retires
19625-30

Dies at Clifton Forge, Virginia



References

Arlington National Cemetary Website (accessed 2008-1-11)

Costello (1981)

Lundstrom (2006)
Pettibone (2006)
Prange (1981)
Tuohy (2007)


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