Claude C. Bloch


Claude Charles Bloch (July 12, 1878 – October 4, 1967[1]) was a United States Navy admiral who served as Commander, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet (COMBATFOR) from 1937 to 1938; and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet (CINCUS) from 1938 to 1940.

Claude Charles Bloch
NH 79466 Admiral Claude Charles Bloch, USN.jpg
Nickname(s)Jack Dempsey of the Navy
Born(1878-07-12)July 12, 1878
Woodbury, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedOctober 4, 1967(1967-10-04) (aged 89)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1895-1946
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands heldUnited States Fleet
Bureau of Ordnance
United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps
USS Plattsburg (SP-1645)
USS California (BB-44)
Fourteenth Naval District
General Board
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
Boxer Rebellion
Philippine–American War
World War I
World War II
AwardsSpecially Meritorious Service Medal
Navy Cross
Legion of Merit

Early yearsEdit

Claude C. Bloch was born on July 12, 1878 in Woodbury, Kentucky, to a Jewish family. He went to Ogden College. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1895 from the Third Congressional District in Kentucky.

While he was still a cadet, Bloch served aboard battleship USS Iowa during the battle of Santiago de Cuba. Bloch assisted in the rescue of Spanish sailors from the burning enemy ships and was subsequently awarded with the Specially Meritorious Service Medal.

He graduated from the Naval Academy on January 28, 1899 with the rank of passed midshipman.

He commanded USS Plattsburg during World War I and the USS California from 1927 to 1929.

Navy Cross citationEdit

The official U.S. Navy citation for Bloch's Navy Cross reads:

Name: Claude Charles Bloch
Service: Navy
Rank: Captain
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Plattsburg
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Claude Charles Bloch, United States Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. PLATTSBURG, engaged in the important, exacting and hazardous duty of transporting and escorting troops and supplies to European ports through waters infested with enemy submarines and mines during World War I.[2]

World War IIEdit

He served as the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet from 1938 to 6 January 1940, as was customary holding the temporary grade of admiral. Following this assignment, he reverted to his permanent grade, rear admiral, and commanded the Fourteenth Naval District at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. Shortly before the attack, he and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel discussed the possibly sighting and sinking of a submarine by the USS Ward. The two ordered that another ship be sent to investigate. Bloch was cleared of any responsibility for the unpreparedness of the US forces during the attack which was blamed on Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter Short and Bloch remained as commandant until April 1942.[3]

He later served on the General Board of the Navy from 1942, retiring from the Navy later that year with the rank of admiral. He remained as chairman of the Navy Board for productions awards until the end of World War II and retired in 1946. Bloch was decorated with a Legion of Merit for his World War II service.[3][4]

He died in Washington, D.C. on 4th October 1967 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[1]

Bloch was the highest ranking Jewish officer in the armed forces until well after World War II.


Admiral Claude C. Bloch´s ribbon bar:[4]

1st Row Navy Cross Legion of Merit Specially Meritorious Service Medal
2nd Row Spanish Campaign Medal Philippine Campaign Medal China Relief Expedition Medal
3rd Row Cuban Pacification Medal World War I Victory Medal with Transport Clasp American Defense Service Medal
4th Row Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal with one service star American Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal


  1. ^ a b Arlington National Cemetery
  2. ^ "Valor Awards for Claude C. Bloch". 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  3. ^ a b "Claude Bloch, 89, Admiral, is dead; Ex-Commander of the Fleet Was at Pearl Harbor in '41". The New York Times. 7 October 1967. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Valor awards for Claude C. Bloch". Militarytimes Websites. Retrieved June 19, 2018.

External linksEdit

  • Claude C. Bloch Orders, 1904–1940 (bulk 1916–1940) MS 365 held by Special Collection & Archives, Nimitz Library at the United States Naval Academy
Military offices
Preceded by Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
1938–6 January 1940
Succeeded by