Captain Earl Lee DeWispelaere, US Navy  (ret)

Captain Earl Lee DeWispelaere was born, raised and graduated from High School in Marion, New York. He attended Yale University as a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) student and was commissioned as Ensign, U. S. Navy upon graduation in June 1952.

During his naval career, Captain DeWispelaere graduated from the U. S. Navy Submarine School, the U. S. Naval Intelligence School, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Defense Attache School and the Foreign Service Language School. 

Captain DeWispelaere served aboard a number of ships, including USS BEXAR (APA-237), USS SEA DOG (AGSS-401), USS POMPON (SSR-267), USS BAYA (AGSS-318) and USS POMODON (SS-486) (as Executive Officer), and commanded USS TIRU (SS-416) (10 Feb 65-9 Jan 67).  He also served on the staffs of the: Office of Naval Intelligence (Head, Soviet Navy Unit); the Commander, Submarine Flotilla ONE (Assistant Operations and Plans Officer); the Commander, Submarine Forces, Pacific (Force Intelligence Officer); the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Special Programs Office/Project Officer) and, the Naval Intelligence Support Center (Head, Undersea Technology Department). From June 1976 to August 1979, he was the Defense and Naval Attache in the American Embassy, Oslo, Norway. 

Upon return from Norway, Captain DeWispelaere was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, where he was "double-hatted" as the Assistant for Interagency Coordination (O-009K) and as Head, Security Policy Division (OP-009D).  He was also assigned ("triple-hatted") as the Head of the Security Department of the Naval Intelligence Command.  On 1 July 1981, Captain DeWispelaere assumed duties as the Assistant for Special Programs (OP-090J) in the office of the Director, Navy Program Planning, where he remained (through three OPNAV reorganizations) until his third and final retirement 27 August 1998. (Mandatory retirement after 30 years service on 30 June 1982, followed by recall to active duty on 1 July.  Retirement from active duty on 15 November 1992, coincident with conversion of the billet to civil service and immediate hire as a civilian employee (GS-15).)

Captain DeWispelaere's awards include the National Defense Service Medal (with three bronze stars), the Korean and United Nations Service Medals, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy and Defense Meritorious Service Medals, the Legion of Merit (with gold star in lieu of second award), the Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Department of the Navy Civilian Distinguished Service Medal. He also was awarded the Norwegian Order of Saint Olav, Degree of Commander, for his service as Defense and Naval Attache.   

Then-LTJG DeWispelaere married the former Shirley Ann Fritz on 10 March 1956.  (They first met on the quarterdeck of the BEXAR, when Shirley arrived as the guest of a shipmate's wife for Sunday noon meal in the wardroom.)  They have three children - Earl, Jr. ("Skip"), Iowa State '80 and a company president; the late LCDR Dan David, U.S. Naval Academy '81 and Naval Aviator; and, LeeAnne Whitworth, UNC '83 and teacher.  They have nine grandchildren and 1.5 great-grandchildren as of August 2004.   

Photo: 2003 Tiru Reunion

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