Robert Burns Pirie
|Born||April 18, 1905|
|Died||January 9, 1990 (aged 84)|
Fort Belvoir, Virginia
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1926–1962|
|Commands held||Sicily (CVE-118)|
Coral Sea (CV-43)
U.S. Second Fleet
NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal
|Relations||Robert B. Pirie Jr.|
A native of Wymore, Nebraska, he was a 1926 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He joined the Navy's air arm in 1928. In World War II he was executive officer of the carrier Mission Bay (CVE-59) in the Atlantic.
After the war he headed the aviation department at the Naval Academy and commanded two carriers, the Sicily (CVE-118) and the Coral Sea (CV-43), before assuming division and fleet commands. He was named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations in 1958, serving until his retirement.
While serving as Deputy Chief of Navy Operation (Air) 1958-1962 and was credited with maintaining the Navy’s air traffic controller program, following the enactment of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. The Air Traffic Controller of the Year award, named in honor of Vice Adm. Robert B. Pirie, is presented for outstanding contributions to operational readiness and safety applied by individual Navy and Marine Corps Air Traffic Controller.
In 1958, Pirie also became an inaugural member, along with Hugh Dryden, Abe Silverstein and Ira Abbott, of the Civilian-Military Liaison Committee, which sought to coordinate the space-related activities of the Department of Defense with those of the newly created NASA. He helped to assemble the original January 1959 list of more than 500 test pilot volunteers which would quickly be whittled down to the April 1959 list of Mercury Seven astronauts.
After he left the Navy he held management positions with the Aerojet General Corporation. He was a former president of the Naval Academy Foundation and the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. He was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in 1986.
Vice Admiral Robert Burns Pirie received a lot of high military decorations for valor or for distinguished service. His military awards included Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Gold Star or Bronze Star Medal. Here is his ribbon bar:
|Naval Aviator Badge|
|1st Row||Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
|2nd Row||Silver Star||Legion of Merit with Gold Star and "V" Device||Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device|
|3rd Row||Navy Presidential Unit Citation with four stars||American Defense Service Medal with Atlantic Clasp||Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver service star|
|4th Row||American Campaign Medal||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal||World War II Victory Medal|
|5th Row||Navy Occupation Service Medal||National Defense Service Medal with one service star||Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars|
- "Robert Pirie, 84, Dies - Retired Vice Admiral". query.nytimes.com. 12 January 1990. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- Lawrence, William P.; Rausa, Rosario (2006). Tennessee Patriot: The Naval Career of Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence, U.S. Navy. ISBN 9781591147008.
- Link, Mae Mills (1965). Space Medicine in Project Mercury (PDF). NASA. p. 173. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- Link, p. 47.  Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- Lynch, Ray (January 13, 1990). "Robert Pirie, 84, Pioneer Navy Pilot". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "VADM Robert Burns Pirie". findagrave.com. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "Valor awards for Robert Burns Pirie - Hall of Valor". militarytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2012-11-28.