Obituary (DC): James Henry Doyle Jr. '47


JAMES HENRY DOYLE, JR. Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Of Washington, DC, passed away on February 23, 2018. He was 92 years old. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1946 with the war-accelerated class of 1947. He was captain of the tennis team. From 1950-1953, he attended George Washington University Law School and graduated Juris Doctor with distinction under the Navy postgraduate program. He is the son of Vice Admiral James. H. Doyle, who earned honors for his role as commander of amphibious forces during the Korean War. Early in his career, James H. Doyle, Jr. served aboard cruisers and destroyers, and then commanded three minesweepers and a destroyer. Following instruction in nuclear propulsion, he commanded the nuclear cruiser USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) for four years, including three deployments during the Vietnam War for which he was decorated. As a flag officer, he was Chief, International Negotiations Division, Joint Chiefs of Staff, involved in SALT 1 and Incidents at Sea negotiations with the Soviet Union, and represented the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the U.S. Delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference. He then returned to sea as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group Twelve and Commander Attack Carrier Strike Group Two aboard the USS Forrestal (CV-59) deployed in the Mediterranean. His last sea assignment was Commander Third Fleet. From 1975 to 1980, Vice Admiral Doyle was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Surface Warfare, with responsibility for the Navy's shipbuilding and surface ship programs, including surface warfare education and training. He championed the development, construction and introduction of the Aegis fleet of cruisers and destroyers and their associated combat systems. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for exemplary service, first in international negotiations and then in surface warfare. He held two Legions of Merit and the Bronze Star. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1980, he served as Vice Chairman of the Strike and Air Defense Division of the National Defense Industrial Association until 2007. He was an advisor to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Naval War College, and the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia. From 1982 to 1989, he taught International Law of the Sea at the National Law Center, George Washington University. He was a Vice President of the Naval Historical Foundation and a senior advisor to the Surface Warfare Capabilities Study. Since moving to Knollwood Military Retirement Community in 2008, he made Knollwood his home and enjoyed participating in resident life. In 2008 the VADM James H. Doyle Jr. Combat System Engineering Development Site, home of Aegis, was named in his honor. A familiar landmark along the New Jersey Turnpike, the Doyle site is known by many as "The Cruiser in the Cornfields." Vice Admiral Doyle was inducted into the Surface Navy Association Hall of Fame in 2010. A Navy acquisition award was also recently named in his honor. He was married to the love of his life, the former Jeannette Blair of Berkeley, California for 64 years until her death in 2011. They have three children, Kathy Doyle Watson (Michael), Jimmy Doyle, and Anne Doyle. They have five granddaughters and four great grandchildren: Alice Ahuero (Jason) and children Abby and Kathleen; Laura Racine (Brian) and children Jackson and Hannah; Katherine Doyle, Alison Doyle, and Eleanor Cauthen. His brother, John Doyle (Cornelia), also survives him. All will miss his warm smile, generous heart, sparkling blue eyes, and love of a good story. A graveside service and burial with full military honors will be scheduled at Arlington National Cemetery with arrangements coordinated by Joseph Gawler's Sons. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to ADF Knollwood, 6200 Oregon Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20015.A graveside service and burial with full military honors will be scheduled at Arlington National Cemetery with arrangements coordinated by Joseph Gawler's Sons. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to ADF Knollwood, 6200 Oregon Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20015.

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Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 11, 2018