USS SLC...USN...Alexander K. Tyree, Ensign
Alexander K. Tyree passed away on May 10th, 2006
This information brought to my attention by Richard Noar, son of
Abraham A. Noar
Alexander K. Tyree, Submarine Commander
Alexander K. Tyree, 90, a World War II submarine commander who became a math professor at the University of Mary Washington, died of lung cancer May 10, 2006 at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, Fla. He was a former Fredericksburg resident.
Capt. Tyree was born in Page, W.Va., and grew up in Danville, Va. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1936 and served on the cruiser USS Salt Lake City from 1936 to 1939.
One of the youngest submarine commanders in the Navy during World War II, he commanded three submarines, including the USS Bowfin. The Bowfin was one of nine submarines -- known collectively as "The Hellcats" -- that successfully navigated through the almost impenetrable minefields of the Tsushima Strait. The subs severed Japan's last lifeline with the Asian mainland by destroying what was left of its merchant fleet.
For his achievement, Capt. Tyree was awarded his second Navy Cross. The Bowfin is a national historic landmark at Pearl Harbor.
After his 30-year career in the Navy, which included several duty assignments in Washington, he settled in Fredericksburg and received a master's degree in math education from Duke University in 1967. He taught math at what was then Mary Washington College from 1967 to 1979.
His first wife, Susan Tyree, died in 1984. His second wife, Gloria Tyree, died in 2001.
Survivors include his wife of three years, Ethel "Willi" Tyree; three children from his first marriage, a brother; a sister; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
This information brought to my attention by Richard Noar, son of Abraham A. Noar
Alexander K. Tyree, CAPT, USN, (Ret)
Born in Page, W.Va. on 28 August, 1915, the son of Dr. John A, Tyree, M.D. and Nannie K. Tyree. The family settled In Danville, Virginia (hometown of Dr. Tyree) in 1920 where Dr. Tyree practiced medicine specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat.
Graduated from George Washington H.S. in Danville in June 1932 and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD two weeks later. Graduating in June, 1936 and commissioned with the Class of 1936, Ensign Tyree was ordered to the heavy cruiser, USS SALT LAKE CITY (CA 25), based in Long Beach, CA.
He married Suzanne in June, 1939. After serving 3 1/2 years in the cruiser, he was ordered to the Submarine School, New London, CT for a 5 1/2 month course of instruction during Jan.- June, 1940.
Upon graduation, ordered to USS S-24, which had been in reserve commission in New London. Initially, served as Communications and Commissary Officer, later as Engineer Officer. In November, 1941 reported to USS BARRACUDA (SS 163) as Engineer Officer, fleeting up to Executive Officer/Navigator in mid-1942. BARRACUDA was based in Coco Solo, Panama, transiting the canal numerous times to make "war" patrols 800-900 miles West of Panama, during which time the greatest hazard was being bombed by "friendly" aircraft.
In November 1942 ordered to command USS R-2, based in Key West, FL. In late March, 1944 attended the Prospective Commanding Officers School in New London and upon completion, proceeded to Pearl Harbor and was assigned to a Relief Crew. In late May, reported to USS GUARDFISH (SS 217) as Executive Officer/Navigator/and PCO for her 8th war patrol.
This was a very successful patrol conducted during June-July, 1944 in the Luzon Straits and off the NW coast of Luzon, for which the ship was awarded its second Presidential Unit Citation. LCDR Tyree was awarded the Silver Star Medal and, at long last, the coveted Submarine Combat Pin.
In August, 1944 ordered to command USS BOWFIN (SS287). Promoted to Commander in Sep. 1944. Between Dec.'44 and July, '45 BOWFIN made her 7th, 8th and 9th war patrols, all successful. Was awarded the Navy Cross for the 7th patrol, the Bronze Star Oater changed to the Legion of Merit with combat "V) for the 8th patrol and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for Bowfin's 9th patrol. The 9th was made as a member of the wolf pack, the "Hellcats", nine submarines who penetrated the minefields of Tsushima Straits to patrol in the Sea of Japan during June-July, 1945.
In August, after a refit in Pearl, BOWFIN sailed west for her 10th war patrol, to top off fuel in Guam, thence again run the Tsushima minefields and patrol in the Sea of Japan. When about halfway to Guam, a message was received about the Japanese surrender and BOWFIN was directed to return to Pearl Harbor. As anyone can easily imagine, it took only seconds to reverse course and put four engines on the line. Sailed from Pearl on 28 August, in company with a group of submarines, proceeding via Panama to Staten Island, N .Y. On 4 January, 1946 sailed in company with seven other submarines to set up SUBRON 6, in Panama, Pacific side.
While en route Philadelphia for overhaul in March, '46 received word of BOWFIN decommissioning. Tyree was relieved and ordered to command of USS PIPER (SS409) in New London, where he served until relieved in July, 1948 , and proceeded toSeattle, WA. for first shore duty assignment, as Executive Officer of the NROTC, Univ. of Washington. This tour lasted for 2 years.
Summary of Subsequent Duties :
June '50- Dec. '51 - Staff, SUBDEVGROUP 2 (New London)
Jan. '52 -Jan. '53 - COMSUBDIV 22
Jan. '53 -June '53 - Student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, V A
June '53 -June '55 - ASW Officer, Staff CINCLANT /CINCLANTFLT
Sep. '54 - Promoted to Captain
July '55 -July '56 - C.O. USS SPERRY (San Diego, CA)
July '56 -July '57 - Asst. Ch. of Staff for Logistics, Staff, COMSUBPAC
July, '57 -July '58 - COMSUBRON ONE (Pearl)
July '58 -July '59 - Student, National War College, Washington, D.C.
July '59 -Oct. '61 - Office of CNO (Politico-Military Policy Branch)
Oct. '61 -Oct. '62 - COMSERVRON 6/COMSERVFORSIXTHFLT (last sea duty -Home ported in Naples, Italy)
Nov. '62 -July '64 - Office of CNO (Strategic Plans Branch)
Aug. ' 64 -July '66 - Chief of Staff to COMONE (Boston, MA)
Retired 1 July, 1966, having completed 30 years of commissioned Naval service.
July '66- July '67 - Attended Duke Univ. (Durham, NC). Received MAT(Math) degree.
Aug.'67 -June, '79 - Asst. Professor Mathematics, Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA
Continued to live in Fredericksburg after teaching one more semester and final retirement in June, 1980. Wife Suzanne of 45 years died in 1984. Remarried Gloria in 1985 and moved to Mijas in the Costa del Sol region of southern Spain. Moved to the retirement center, "Fleet Landing" in Atlantic Beach, FL in November, 1997. He passed away on May 10th, 2006.