John H. Fetterman, Jr.

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John H. Fetterman, Jr.
August 4, 1932 - March 24, 2006
Vice Admiral Jack Fetterman

Nickname Jack Fetterman
Father of Navy Ethics
Place of birth Ashland, Pennsylvania
Place of death Pensacola, Florida
Allegiance USN
Years of service 1955-1992
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Tactical Wings, Atlantic
Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (five awards)
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit commendation
For the museum named for him, see the Admiral John H. Fetterman State of Florida Maritime Museum and Research Center

Vice Admiral John H. Fetterman, Jr. (1932-2006), or Jack as many called him, was a three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy known for a keystone ethics course he created. After his controversial 1993 retirement, he became a prominent civic leader in Pensacola and was president & CEO of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. Along with his wife Nancy, he was dedicated to preserving Pensacola's history and used his political and military contacts to raise money for such endeavors as the National Flight Academy, the sinking of the USS Oriskany, and the maritime museum that will be named for him.

Early Life[edit]

Jack Fetterman was born August 4, 1932 in Ashland, Pennsylvania. He attended Susquehana University and graduated from Albright College in 1954. Fetterman enlisted in the Navy in 1955 and made his first trip to Pensacola to attend Aviation Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Naval Career[edit]

Fetterman's first operational tour was with Attack Squadron 105 at Cecil Field, Florida. He participated in both the Lebanon and Formosa crises in 1958, flying A-IH Skyraiders from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Essex in the Sixth and Seventh Fleets. In October 1959, he served as Light Attack Nuclear Weapons Training Instructor at Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit Atlantic.

After attending A-4 Skyhawk replacement pilot training with Attack Squadron 44, Fetterman joined the staff of the Commander Attack Carrier Air Wing 8 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forestall. He completed tours at the Naval War College and Attack Squadron 44 and then reported to Attack Squadron 81 aboard the aircraft carrier Shangri-La, where he served as maintenance officer during two Mediterranean deployments. A tour in Attack Squadron 174, where he served as Operations Officer, was followed by orders to Attack Squadron 87 as executive officer.

In March 1972, while deployed in the Mediterranean aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fetterman assumed command of Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SEVEN's "Golden Warriors." He was selected as team leader of a joint Navy/Air Force air-to-ground weapons team which represented the United States in NATO competition in Greece. In March 1973, Vice Admiral Fetterman reported to the Office of Legislative Affairs, Washington, D.C., where he served for two years as assistant director for the Navy Senate Liaison Office. In July 1975, he assumed command of Carrier Air Wing EIGHT aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and made deployments to the Caribbean, North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

In January 1977, Vice Admiral Fetterman assumed command of the USS La Salle, flagship of Commander, Middle East Forces. In March 1978, he began service as Special Projects Manager of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces Expansion Program for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In February 1979, Vice Admiral Fetterman assumed command of U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he served until March 1981.[1]

Having been selected for Rear Admiral in February 1981, Fetterman assumed duties as the Commander of Tactical Wings, Atlantic in July. Two years later, in July 1983, he reported as Commander, Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. From May to December 1985, he served on the staff of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet as Deputy Chief of Staff for Readiness and Resources. He was named Naval Inspector General in December 1985. On September 1, 1987, he was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral and in August assumed the duties as Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in San Diego, California. He served in this capacity until 1990.[2]

Despite recommendations to run for mayor of San Diego, Fetterman returned to Pensacola in 1991 and on February 1 assumed the duties of Chief of Naval Education and Training. Faced with growing frustrations over the value systems of incoming sailors, he began work on a two-and-a-half-day course to help instill core values and prevent sexual harassment, racism, fraud and violence in the ranks.

He would later recall, "I think I was clairvoyant to know [there would be] a lot of political pressure to bring high percentages of women [into the Navy]. Integrating women into a macho-oriented society ... was not going to be easy."[3]

The course was about three-quarters finished when the Tailhook scandal erupted, and Fetterman's course immediately became required at the Naval Academy and other facilities. He became known as the Navy's "ethics admiral."

In 1992, when a member of his staff was accused of making homosexual advances, Fetterman sent the complaint to the man's commanding officer. The sailor was reprimanded and ordered into counseling for alcohol abuse. The Navy later reopened the case, discharging the man and suspending Fetterman for failing to refer the case to criminal investigators.

Not wanting to embroil the Navy in another scandal, Fetterman accepted a one-star demotion in rank and retired from active duty on March 1, 1993. He appealed the decision six months later, on September 1, 1993, and his rank was restored.

Contributions to Pensacola[edit]

Naval Air Museum and Flight Academy[edit]

Main articles: National Museum of Naval Aviation & National Flight Academy

USS Oriskany[edit]

Main article: USS Oriskany

Community Maritime Park[edit]

Main article: Community Maritime Park

Other Service[edit]

  • Chairman of the Mayor's Community Core Values Board
  • Board of Directors, EAA
  • Chairman of the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce, 2000
  • Past Chairman of the USS Mitscher, USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Iwo Jima Commissioning Committees[4]

Death and Legacy[edit]

After months of failing health, Admiral Fetterman passed away in his home on March 24, 2006. The Pensacola News Journal praised him as "a tireless civic leader who dreamed big, never stopped working for Pensacola and always was thinking of how to make it a better place to live," and on March 30, Congressman Jeff Miller and Senator Mel Martinez recognized his passing in the Congressional record.[5][6] In honor of Fetterman's work to establish a world-class maritime museum in the proposed Community Maritime Park, Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill into law naming the museum after him.