Claude C. Bloch
|Born||July 12, 1878|
|Died||October 4, 1967 (aged 89)|
|Place of burial|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1899–1945|
|Commands held||United States Fleet|
USS Plattsburg (SP-1645)
USS California (BB-44)
Fourteenth Naval District
World War I
World War II
Legion of Merit
Claude Charles Bloch (July 12, 1878 – October 4, 1967) 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 C. Bloch was born on July 12, 1878 in Woodbury, Kentucky to a Jewish family. 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 rescue of Spanish sailors from the burning enemy ships and was subsequently awarded with Specially Meritorious Service Medal. He graduated from the Naval Academy on January 28, 1899 with the rank of passed midshipman.
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.
World War II
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 Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter Short and Bloch remained as commandant until April 1942.
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.
Bloch was the highest ranking Jewish officer in the armed forces until well after the Second World War.
Admiral Claude C. Bloch´s ribbon bar:
- "Claude Charles Bloch". Arlington National Cemetery. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Valor Awards for Claude C. Bloch". militarytimes.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
- "Claude Bloch, 89, Admiral, is dead; Ex-Commander of the Fleet Was at Pearl Harbor in '4l". The New York Times. 7 October 1967. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
- "Claude C. Bloch". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- Claude Charles Bloch at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net
- Claude C. Bloch Orders, 1904–1940 (bulk 1916–1940) MS 365 held by Special Collection & Archives, Nimitz Library at the United States Naval Academy
Arthur J. Hepburn
| Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
1938–6 January 1940
James O. Richardson