U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Rear Admiral Albert Thomas Church

Midshipman Albert T. Church

Rear Admiral Church donated his class ring to the Naval Academy Museum on October 5, 1942. His ring was manufactured by Black, Starr & Frost-Gorham. His sons attended the Naval Academy. One son was Captain Albert Thomas Church Jr., USN (USNA 1938). His grandson was Vice Admiral Albert Thomas Church III., USN (USNA 1969).[1]

Rear Admiral Thomas Church was born on April 6, 1882 in Boise, Idaho. He was nominated to the United States Naval Academy from Idaho and entered on September 7, 1901. Midshipman Church graduated 12 of 114 midshipman on January 30, 1905. He was famous for his academic prowess along with his plebe year roommate, Chester Nimitz. [2]One of the ancient members of the class. Will retire twelve years after graduation. Always relating reminiscences of his childhood in the West. On August 25, 1911, Lieutenant Church was assigned aboard light cruiser USS Chester (CL-1). [3] As American interests in the Caribbean were threatened by internal political changes in several nations, Chester patrolled off Mexico, Santo Domingo, and Haiti, and transported a Marine occupation force in 1911. Later that year, she carried men and stores to the steam patrol yacht Scorpion, station ship at the then-Austrian port of Trieste, returning to Boston with the American consul at Tripoli. In April, 1912, the Chester was ordered by the United States Navy to escort the RMS Carpathia back to New York, after the Carpathia had picked up the survivors from the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

During World War I, Rear Admiral Church was assigned to Staff Naval Forces, European Waters. During his career he was an engineering and construction expert. He died on March 14, 1954 at Naval Academy Hospital, Annapolis Maryland. He was 71 years old and is buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery.

Legion of Merit

Awarded for actions during the World War II:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Rear Admiral Albert Thomas Church, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Director of the U.S. Naval Engineering Experiment Station from 19 October 1939 to 10 September 1944. Admiral Church directed research, development and testing activities during a critical period and contributed distinctively to the expeditious expansion and the successful operation and maintenance of the Navy.[4]


[1] United States Naval Academy Museum card file of Curator James Cheevers, retrieved January 7, 2014.

[2] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A8.

[3] Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officer of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1912), 36.

[4] "Hall of Valor," militarytimes.com, accessed May 5, 2016, http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=311353.