Capt. E. C. Outlaw, USN

Capt. E. C. Outlaw, USN, Radm (Ret) – August 30, 1959 – September 8, 1960


Born Sept 29, 1914 in Greenville, NC; USNA ’35, Retired, Durham, NC ’69.

 ADM Edward C. ‘Eddie’ Outlaw, who was a ne’rdowell at the Academy, became an outstanding fighter pilot during WWII. In fact, that war molded Outlaw into the leader he became. Those under his command as C.O. of the Intrepid during the late 1950s revered ‘Eddie’ Outlaw for his ‘atta boys’ for difficult tasks well done.

Midshipman Outlaw graduated 436th out of 442 in his 1935 Naval Academy class — 6th from the bottom. His is another shining example that neither class standing, nor the Naval Academy for that matter, make that much of a difference in whether one becomes a ‘warrior’ and a leader in wartime or not — it is the real world caldron of combat experience that defines and molds the leader — the kind the Navy needs now more than ever in the age of Political Correctness.

Flight Training, Pensacola ’37-’38. USS Enterprise, Scouting Squadron 6.  ’42 deployed to Pacific as XO (VC-11) flying F4F (Wildcats).  Led flight of 54 from Fiji to Guadalcanal to re-enforce Marine Corps.  He served there as leader of the Navy Fighter Group. 1943 formed VF-32 as CO.  Deployed on USS Langley.

On April 29, ’44, he led a flight of 8 Hellcats on a pre-dawn fighter sweep over Truk atoll; at dawn sighted a flight of about 36 Japanese Zeroes flying at 10,000 ft in column of V’s; first pass his flight flamed 8; then, exercising perfect discipline “Holly” Hills (4 kills) led his division to “high cover” where they accounted for seven of the enemy.  Cdr. Outlaw shot down 5 and 1 probable, fellow Ace, Dick May got 3 and Outlaw’s wingman 4.  Total for this brief action was 22 victories and 6 probables.  The action took place in less than ten minutes and was declared by COMNAVAIRPAC to be “a perfect example of air combat and air discipline.”Subsequently, he served three times in Pentagon; as CO of USS Duxbury Bay and USS Intrepid; as CO Air Group Six (Coral Sea); CO Heavy Attack Squadron 5 (NucWpns).

Selected to rank of Rear Admiral and served as Commander Naval Aviation Safety Center; Commander Carrier Division One and Task Force 77 of Vietnam ’64-’65 where he directed first sustained attacks; Commander CARDIVS 16 and 20 and Commander Hunter-Killer Force, Atlantic Fleet.

His last assignment was as Commander Fleet Aircraft Mediterranean/CTF-67/ and Maritime Air Mediterranean (a NATO organization of which he was the first commander).  Decorations: Navy Cross, Legion of Merit (3), DFC (3) Awards – Navy Cross, 2 distinguished Flying Crosses, 6 Air Medals, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Phillipine Liberation Ribbon, American Defense Service Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon, American Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

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