Class Genealogy
Peter Thomas Deutermann
Military Tradition:  Details

There have been four Deutermann's who have graduated from USNA, (and one from West Point, for our sins).  The first was my uncle, William V.  Deutermann (USNA '24), born in 1900, who served in battleships and submarines, including service in the very large subs, V1, V2, and V3 under CDR Chester Nimitz.  He had two shore tours at USNA teaching ordnance and then went to CalTech for graduate work after four years in the battleship TENNESSEE.  In 1931, he married Edwina T.  Putnam, who was the daughter of Brig.   Gen.  R. B.  Putnam, USMC.  During WWII he served with ADM R. K.  Turner in the Pacific island amphibious operations, and later commanded rocket and landing ships in the assault on the Philippines.  He was a planner for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.  His postwar service included two tours in Washington, command of TACONIC, an LCC, and attaché duty in Santiago, Chile.  He retired in 1955 with the honorary rank of RADM, and went to work for the Westinghouse Corporation, settling in Annapolis.  He died in 1981.

Two of William's children had navy connections.  His son, William, Jr. , matriculated with the Class of 1961 and stayed for a year and a half before deciding to try a civilian college education, and later, service in the Army.  His daughter, Edwina, married Tim Walsh (USNA '54), who served for twenty years in destroyers, submarines, and amphibious ships.  Tim Walsh's father was RADM Harvey Thomas Walsh, ('USNA '22).  Tim and Edwina's son, also Harvey Thomas Walsh, graduated from the academy in 1979 and has just retired after twenty years service as a naval aviator, flying S-3's, and A-6's.  He is now flying for FedEx.

My father, Harold (William's younger brother), was born in 1903 and graduated from the Academy in 1927.  He had been the third alternate from White Plains, NY, and arrived two weeks after the class went in for plebe summer, after the principal appointee and the first two alternates failed their physicals.  Following graduation, he served in the cruiser RICHMOND, the destroyers HUMPHRIES and SMITH-THOMPSON, and in the cruiser HOUSTON in the Asiatic Fleet.   He met and married my mother, Dorothy Tinan, in Manila, P. I., where she was living with her father, who was an executive with the Studebaker Corporation.  Following a stint on the China Station, where they lived in Shanghai, Dad returned to Annapolis to attend naval postgraduate school, which then was located in the buildings near the Naval Academy boathouse.  He was there from 1934 to 1936, and then served in the destroyer PRESTON for four years.  In 1940 he was assigned to the Naval Shipyard, Boston.  Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he served as chief engineer in the cruiser SAN JUAN, from 1942 to August, 1943, when he assumed command of the newly commissioned destroyer, COGSWELL.  In November, 1944, he took command of DesDiv 132, and, in early 1945, DesRon 50.  All of his war service was in the Pacific.

After the war he served as CO of Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, MD, and then went to the Naval War College in Newport, RI.  Following war college, he served as senior naval advisor to the Argentine navy in Buenos Aires for two years during the time of the Peron's.  He then was assigned in 1950 as assistant director of the fleet operations division, OPNAV, two weeks before the Korean War broke out.  He commanded the cruiser ROANOKE for one year before returning to OPNAV in 1954.  He was selected for Rear Admiral in 1955, and served as Deputy Commandant of the ICAF in Washington, and then as ComCruDesFlot 2 in Newport, RI.  In 1958 he was ordered as Commander of the Naval Reserve Training Command in Omaha, NE.  In January, 1960, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and assumed command of the Second Fleet in Norfolk, VA.  In late 1961 he became the Chief of Staff to SACLANT, and in 1963, Commander Eastern Sea Frontier and the senior member of the United Nations Military Staff Committee in New York City.   He retired to Melrose, FL, in 1965, where he taught mathematics at the University of Florida in Gainesville before moving to San Diego in 1975.  Dad died in 1996 and is buried in the family plot in the Hospital Point Cemetery at the Naval Academy.  He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, who still lives in San Diego, and his three sons, all of whom served in the Navy.

My older brother, David Ward Deutermann, graduated with USNA '56 and served in the conventional submarines SEA OWL and CAVALLA, and later, as exec in the destroyer FORREST ROYAL.  He returned to civilian life in 1968.  He subsequently worked in the electric tool and home appliance industries for several years before retiring near New Bedford, MA, where he now has a business repairing antique clocks.  His son, David, (NROTC, George Washington University) is currently a LCDR in naval intelligence.  My younger brother, Stephen, (NROTC, Marquette University) served for twenty years as surface warfare officer in destroyers and amphibs, and later, as a training specialist program manager in the office of SecDef.  He is now the area manager for Colorado for the Ferrellgas Corporation, a national distributor of propane.

I was the fourth, and up to this point, the last Deutermann to graduate from the Naval Academy.  I served for 26 years in the surface navy afloat, in the destroyers MORTON, HULL, CHARLES F.  ADAMS, and TATTNALL, and the missile cruiser, JOUETT.   During my shore tours I completed an MA at the University of Washington in Seattle, and then was a politico-military policy specialist, with three tours in OPNAV, one in London, and one as an arms control division chief in JCS.  Commands included OinC of PCF-39, (a gunboat in Vietnam,) TATTNALL, and DesRon 25.   I'm now retired in Georgia writing fiction.  My two children are currently serving naval officers.  My son, Daniel, (NROTC, University of Florida) is a senior flight instructor at NAS Milton in helicopters, and my daughter, Sarah, a civil engineer from Virginia Tech and an OCS grad, is a nugget RIO in F-14's at NAS Oceana.

As the millennium approaches, there have been Deutermann's serving in the navy for going on seventy-six years.

Posted:  24 September 1999                                Return to Class Genealogy