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O BRIEN Leslie John OBie O Brien passed away on March 18, 2013 at Fleet Landing in Atlantic Beach, Florida. He was born on February 14, 1915 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He attended Kansas City Junior College and the Naval Academy. He graduated with a BS Degree and was commissioned Ensign in the US Navy and attained the rank of Rear Admiral on August 10, 1965. From June 1938 until March 1940 he served on board the USS Maryland. He joined the Staff of Commander in Chief, US Fleet, in April 1940 and had communications duty on that staff at the outbreak of World War II in December 1941 until March 1944. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement on the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet during operations against enemy Japanese forces. He was awarded a Gold Star for service during operations against Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa from April 1 to May 31, 1945. Between 1945 and 1953, he commanded the USS Harden, the USS Robert L. Wilson and the USS Willard Keith, participating in the rescue of the SS Flying Enterprise in the North Atlantic in January 1952. After attending the Armed forces Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces he joined the Commander in chief, Pacific Fleet. He later became commanding officer of the USS Tulare and Destroyer Squadron Fourteen. In 1966 he was commander Attack Carrier Group in the Sixth Fleet with USS Forrestal as his flagship. In June 1967 he reported as director of the Antisubmarine Warfare and Ocean Surveillance Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, navy Dept., where he served until becoming Commander Service Force, US Pacific Fleet on August 26, 1970. In addition to the Bronze Star Medal and Gold Star and the Ribbon for Navy Unit Commendation, Rear Admiral O Brien has the Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three operation stars; American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Vietnam Service Medal. During his life, OBie was an avid golfer, tennis player and enjoyed playing bridge. He was a member of the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and a Founding Member of the Tournament Players Club in Ponte Vedra Beach. Admiral O Brien was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, the former Evelyn J. Cowman of Long Beach California and is survived by their four children; Leslie J. O Brien III of Spartanburg, SC, James G. O Brien of Indonesia, Virginia Rubel of Annapolis, Maryland, Patricia O. Walker of Neptune Beach, Florida, his wife of ten years, Wessie O Brien, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the St. Paul s Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach on Friday, March 22nd at 3:00pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul. Please visit our online Tribute at www.quinn-shalz.com. Services under the direction and care of: Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Mar. 20, 2013
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