Biographical / Historical
Admiral Alfred Melville Pride (1897-1988) was a retired four-star admiral who was a pioneer in Navy aviation. Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, Pride attended the Engineering School at Tuft's College before enlisting in the US Naval Reserve Force in 1917. In September 1917, Pride was appointed Ensign in the Naval Reserve Flying Corp where he served in England and France during World War I. Pride was designated a naval aviator in 1918 and was transferred to the regular Navy in November of 1921 and was commissioned a Lieutenant. In September 1921 Pride reported for duty with the aviation detachment of the USS Langley, where he developed the arresting gear to be installed on the Langley and where he carried out experimental take-offs and landings on the aircraft carrier. The Navy sent him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study aeronautical engineering. He later served with the original crews on the Navy's next two carriers --the Saratoga and the Lexington, Pride made the first landing of a helicopter on an aircraft carrier in 1931 and from 1934-1936 he was commander of the flight test section at the Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington, D.C. During World War II, Pride commanded the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood in the South Pacific, conducting air strikes against the Japanese in the following campaigns: Tarawa, Wake and Makin Islands, Kwajalein, Truk, Sampan and Tinian. Pride also commanded the Naval Air Center at Pearl Harbor, directing air support for amphibious landings and played a major role in planning for the invasion of Okinawa and the Japanese home islands. After World War II Pride headed the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, DC, and in 1953 he was selected to command the Seventh Fleet. He retired in 1959.