Captain Karl Bernard Kohler, 1610, USN
April 18, 1916 – July 26, 2000
Karl Bernard Kohler was born April 18, 1916 in New Haven, CT; one of three children born to Julius and Barbara Kohler.
After graduation from high school circa 1935, he joined the Naval Reserve in 1937 while attending the Junior College of Commerce in New Haven. In 1940 he left junior college to enroll in the Navy’s Midshipman School, and upon graduation he was commissioned as Ensign, USNR on Feb 28, 1941. His first duty was in the battleship USS California (BB-44) stationed at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii; and he survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.
On July 10, 1942 Lieutenant (junior grade) Kohler married Mary Jane (Marie) McGorty, also from New Haven. At that time the couple was residing in an apartment on Hyde Street in San Francisco, but the wedding announcement did not specify where he was stationed. Later that year he was promoted to Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Kohler spent the next two years assigned to the staff of Commander Naval Air Trans-Pacific, and following that tour, LT Kohler studied communications at the Naval Postgraduate School in Annapolis from 1944 to 1945.
Following postgraduate study, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and received orders to the staff of the Commander, First Carrier Task Force, where he worked for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher during 1945 and 1946. He continued on staff duty from 1946 to June 1948, serving on the staff of Cruiser Division TEN.
In June of 1948 he transferred to the Naval Security Station, Washington, DC, and began a 25 year affiliation with the Naval Security Group. Following a three-year tour at NavSecSta, he was posted to Naval Radio Station (Receiver) Winter Harbor, Maine as a newly promoted Commander, serving as Officer-in-Charge from January 1951 to January 1952. From Winter Harbor he transferred to a warmer climate, serving as Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Radio Station at Wahiawa, Territory of Hawaii from 1952 to 1954. At the completion of this tour Commander Kohler returned to NavSecSta, spending three years in Washington before receiving orders to London as Deputy Commander, Naval Security Group Europe.
Promoted to Captain upon completion of his London assignment, he was assigned to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade as a Branch Chief from 1960 to 1964. He then received orders to Elmendorf AFB (near Anchorage, Alaska) as Chief, National Security Agency, Alaska. For service during this tour he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
Captain Kohler returned to Fort Meade for his twilight tour as Commanding Officer, Naval Security Group Activity, Fort Meade. Upon his retirement in June 1973 Captain Kohler received the Navy Commendation Medal. Including Reserve time, Captain Kohler served the Navy and his nation for 36 years.
Captain Kohler died July 26, 2000 (84 years old) and is buried in New Haven, CT. His wife Marie preceded him in death. He is survived by seven children, together with grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Date of Rank:
LTJG: (sometime before 7/10/42 – LTJG when married, stationed in SFO)
LT: 12/01/1942 Communications Officer (General), USNR Midshipman
ENL 1936 – 1940 18th Division Naval Reserve
1940 – 1941 Midshipman School
ENS 1941 – 1942 USS California (BB-44) [Pearl Harbor survivor]
LTJG 7/1942 – Somewhere in San Francisco area. Living in an apartment on Hyde Street when married.
LT 1943 – 1944 COMNAVAIRTRANSPAC Staff
1944 – 1945 NPGS Annapolis MD
LCDR 1945 – 1946 COMFIRST CAR TASK Force Staff
1946 – 1948 COMCRUDIV 10 staff
1948 – 1951 NAVSECSTA, Wash DC (6/48 – begin NSG service)
CDR 1951 – 1952 OIC, NAVRADSTA (R) Winter Harbor, ME [Jan 51 – Jan 52]
1952 – 1954 OIC NAVRADSTA, Wahiawa, HI
1954 – 1956 NAVSECSTA Wash DC as OIC ANEEG
1956 – 1957 NAVSECSTA as Deputy Director NTPC
1957 – 1960 DIRNAVSECGRUEUR, Deputy Director
CAPT 1960 – 1964 Branch Chief, NSA, Fort Meade
7/01/64 – 8/01/68 Chief, NSA Alaska @ Elmendorf AFB. Awarded LM as end of tour award
9/01/68 – 6/30/73 CO, NSGA Fort Meade. Awarded NC as end of tour award.
Legion of Merit
Navy Commendation Medal
Naval Unit Commendation
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
WW II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal (w/Bronze Star)
By LCDR Robert E. Morrison, USN, Ret
CTTCS Joe Glockner, USN, Ret