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Obituary (CA): Edward William Behm '45

Posted on 04/04/2018

Captain Edward W. Behm, USN  (Nov. 23, 1922 – March 24, 2018)

Edward William Behm, 95, peacefully passed away on March 24, 2018 in Laguna Niguel, CA where he had recently moved to be near his daughter. Ed was a retired and honored Naval Officer who served in three wars, was a Coronado resident, and active community member for 55 years. Ed, was truly an "old school" gentleman who put kindness and respect for others first. He was also a gentle man who had experienced much of what life offers in his 95 years. His dedication to his family, country and honor will be remembered by all who knew him. Born November 23, 1922 in Los Angeles, CA, Edward was the oldest son to William Carl Behm and Sarah George Behm. He was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from Manual Arts High School. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles, before receiving his congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy in September 1941. He graduated in 3 years with the class of 1945. Ed married Elizabeth Ann Muir on January 5, 1945 in Los Angeles, CA. Graduating in June of 1944, Ed embarked upon a 30-year naval career. As an Ensign in World War II, his first duty as Plank Officer was Communications Officer on the USS TUCSON. Sending out deceptive radio traffic suggesting a southern invasion, this cruiser was the decoy that enabled the Third fleet for the impending invasion of Japan. The USS TUCSON was anchored near to the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay after the treaty was signed. Post war, Ed served on several ships including the USS POCONO where he was assigned to survey by hydrographic the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. In 1950, he received his Master of Communications Engineering, from the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1954, he was an Assistant Professor of Naval Science NROTC Unit at the University of Southern California. Ed was Executive Officer USS WALKER, Commanding Officer USS MCGINTY, Flag Lieutenant for CINCPACFLT in Honolulu, Hawaii, Assistant Director – Fleet Communications Division, reporting to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1963 Edward captained the USS AGERHOLM where he received the Navy Commendation Medal for his exemplary service as Commanding Officer during extended Seventh Fleet operations. Captain Behm returned to Washington as the Commanding Officer, Navy Radio Frequency Spectrum Activity, then Commanded the USS UNION receiving Commendation Medal with Combat "V" for meritorious service. He was Commanding Officer, the U.S. Naval Communication Station, Keflavik, Iceland. In 1970 he was Operations Officer for Staff COMPHBPAC in Coronado, CA. His last tour, in 1972, was as Chairman Allied Radio Frequency Agency NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium. During his naval career, Ed was awarded the following medals: 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 2 Navy Commendation Medal w/Combat 'V', American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal w/3 stars. In 1946, the Behms began to fall in love with Coronado; while stationed in San Diego, they rented a small house on Orange Avenue. In 1963, Ed and Beth purchased their home in Coronado, moving to and from until retiring there in 1974. Ed held a second career in the communications-electronics industry, for the next 20 years, as they enjoyed Coronado. Ed's joy was sailing and community involvement. He served on the Grand Jury of San Diego County from 2002-2003. He acquired his Coast Guard License, was treasurer of the San Diego Naval Sailing Club, taught sailing for 30 years, raced the annual Ensenada Race, and sailed numerous times in the Caribbean. He was active in the Optimist Club, Scottish Rite, Shriners, Sojourners, Naval Academy Alumni Association, USS Tucson annual reunion, and MOAA. Captain Behm was predeceased by Elizabeth Muir his wife for 66 years (who passed May 2011), his parents, and one brother. Ed is survived by two children, Joanne Behm (Bill Severson) of Narberth, PA and Cynthia Broadhead (Stephen) of Laguna Niguel, CA; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He loved spending time sailing with his grandchildren, going to USC football games, and enjoying life. He will be missed by all. A family service with full military honors will be held in San Diego, CA at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in late May with a "Celebration of Life" to follow.