Final Voyage

Captain Bernard W. Frese, Jr.
USS Perry DD-844

It is with much sadness that I report the final voyage of my Perry Skipper Capt. Frese.

BERNARD WILLIAM FRESE, JR. Captain, USN (Ret.) Of Annapolis, Maryland, took hius final voyage on Monday, May 23, 2011, at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 3, 1920. He attended public schools in Cincinnati and Blanchester, Ohio; Fairmont, West Virginia; and, Chicago, Illinois. Completing his freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, he then attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating with a BSEE degree on June 19, 1942 with the Class of 1943, the first three-year graduation class during World War II. After World War II he attended the Naval Post Graduate School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors securing an MSEE. Later he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC and the first class critiquing the course at the Naval Guided Missile School. During World War II, Captain Frese served as Executive Officer and navigator of three destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. His first ship, USS DeHaven (DD-469) was sunk off Guadalcanal on February 1, 1943. During that action he was severely wounded with burns over 60 percent of his body and two doctors gave him up for dead.

He commanded the USS Haynsworth (DD-700), the USS Perry (DD-844), the USS Elokomin (AO55) and Escort Squadron 16; others ships were the USS Chauncey (DD-296) and USS Gurke (DD-783). The ships of Escort Squadron 16 in January 1962 were the first to discover the missile launching site in Cuba, leading to the U.S.-Russian missile crisis (the Cuban Missile Crisis) under President John F. Kennedy.

Captain Frese was Research and Development Project Officer for three of the Navy's surface-to-air guided missile system. He personally created the basic design work on the Mark 10 Launching System now in the fleet with little change, and was the first to introduce solid-state components into the missile electronics. As Executive Officer of Guided Missile Unit 23 embarked in the USS Norton Sound (AVM-1), he initiated the first one-function drawings and tests. These drawings and tests are now used in all new construction and modernization of ships weapon systems. He commanded the Naval Ammunitions Depot, St. Juliens Creek, Portsmouth, Virginia and the Naval Ordnance Station at Indian Head, Maryland. After 30 years of service, Captain Frese retired and worked for the Vitro Corporation as a Senior Engineer.

On June 21, 1942 he married Mary Norris Porter of Philadelphia, who survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Mary Frese Peschka of Kensington, Maryland and Elizabeth Norris Frese of Washington, DC; three grandchildren, Patrick F. Peschka, Mary Porter Peschka and Susan Elizabeth Frese; and two great-grandsons, Connor and Collin. He was preceded in death by his son, Bernard William Frese, III. A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.