Rear Admiral James W. Montgomery, USN (Ret.), passed away peacefully April 12, 2011, surrounded by his family, at his home in Arlington, Virginia.
Admiral Montgomery was born on 5 January 1922 in Malden, Mo. He attended public schools there and Gulf Coast Military Academy and Arkansas State College prior to entering the Naval Academy in 1941, as a member of the prospective Class of 1945. Graduating in 1944, under the accelerated wartime program, his initial assignment was to the heavy cruiser New Orleans (CA-32),a unit engaged in combat with the enemy in the Pacific theatre of operations. Subsequent naval service included attendance at the National War College and postgraduate education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was awarded a Master of Science Degree in Management and Industrial Engineering.
Following his tour duty aboard the USS New Orleans, where he earned five Battle Stars during the remainder of World War II operations, he reported to the USS Spokane (CL-120). He subsequently served in LSMR-514; as Aide and Flag lieutenant on the staff of Commander Cruiser Division Six;, later as Executive Officer in USS Sproston (DDE-577). His active duty service included various command assignments, at sea and ashore, in both Atlantic and Pacific areas. He commanded the destroyer escorts McCoy Reynolds (DE-440) and McGinty (DE-365), the destroyer DeHaven (DD-727), and the cruiser Galveston (CLG-3), the navy's first long range guided missile (TALOS) ship. Other significant assignments included Company Officer duties in the Executive Department at the U.S. Naval Academy; Ordnance Planning Officer at the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown Virginia ; Head of Amphibious systems in the Office of the Director of Naval Warfare Analysis; Office of Chief of Naval Operations; Executive Assistant and Senior Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (financial management); Chief of Staff Seventh Fleet; Deputy Chief of the Naval Material; and the Naval Sea Systems Command, Deputy Commander for Surface Ships, and later, Director of Plans Programs and Financial Management / Comptroller.
Following graduation from the National War College in 1967, he was instrumental in planning, establishing and serving as the first commanding officer of the Naval Development Training Center (DATC), an activity which would utilize the then dormant facilities of the San Diego Naval Ship Repair Facility. The operational success of the DATC concept, an artificer on-the-job ashore training program, led to establishment of the Navy's follow on string of Ship Intermediate Maintenance Activities (SIMA's). Early SIMA trainees could be heard to often refer to their new activity as "SIMA, son of DATC"
Admiral Montgomery was awarded numerous medals, awards, and decorations including, the Navy Commendation Medal; the Meritorious Unit Citation; the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation; the China Service Medal; the National Order of Vietnam, Fourth Class; and Navy Gallantry Cross with Palm by the Republic of Vietnam. For especially meritorious service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars for second and third awards.
Retiring in 1978, Admiral Montgomery continued, in the private sector, his interests and activities in maritime, defense, and national security matters. He worked with the Bendix (Honeywell International) Corporation for several years, consulting on various defense programs and, with associates, initiated several small business ventures. His later post service years focused more on family activities and greater involvement in civic and community related affairs. He has been associated with various charitable foundations and civic associations, in committee, officer, and trustee positions. He still served as President Emeritus of Montgomery / Lunsford Properties Inc., a small family owned real estate investment management corporation, was still actively involved as a long-time member of the board of trustees of the Virginia Medical Center, Arlington, VA.
Jim is survived by his wife of 64 years, Arlene Mary (Albright) Montgomery; two sons, Thomas William of Sterling Virginia; James W. Jr. of Scottsdale, Arizona; daughter, Deborah M. Placet of Paradise Valley, Arizona; and six grandchildren, James III, Stephanie, Megan, Joseph, Melissa and Emily. A son, Robert Gerald, was lost as an infant.
His life will be celebrated on September 15 at 12:45 with a Catholic Mass and burial with full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gift contributions may be made to Virginia Hospital Center Arlington, Virginia, Cardiac Care Unit.