Russell S. Berkey; Headed Navy Forces in the Far East

From Times Wire Services

A memorial service was held Friday for Russell S. Berkey, a retired four-star admiral and one-time commander of Navy forces in the Far East, who died at the age of 91.

Berkey, a 1916 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he ranked fifth in his class, commanded the 12,000-ton light cruiser Santa Fe in the Pacific during World War II.

During World War I, his first assignment was aboard the battleship New York. Between the two world wars he patrolled the Yangtze River in China aboard the gunboat Panay.

As a Navy captain in November of 1942 he commissioned and assumed command of the Santa Fe, which put to sea in 1943. In 25 months of combat, he rose to rear admiral.


The Santa Fe steamed more than 221,000 miles, sank seven Japanese ships and downed seven Japanese planes. The vessel was scrapped at the Zidell yards in Portland in 1960.

Between the end of 1943 and mid-1945, Berkey served as commander of Cruiser Division 15, Task Force 75 and then as commander of cruisers, 7th Fleet. He was promoted to vice admiral in mid-1948 and served as commander of U.S. naval forces in the Far East for 13 months.

He retired with the rank of admiral in September, 1950, after 34 years of Navy duty. He lived since in Tigard, a Portland suburb, where he died Monday.