U.S.S. Little Rock
Commanding Officer Biography

Captain Kent R. Siegel
20 Oct 76 - 22 Nov 76


Page last updated: 26 July, 2018

Siegel Photo


CAPTAIN KENT R. SIEGEL, U.S. NAVY (RET)

BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION:  Captain Siegel was born in Wausau, WI in 1935.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree (Geology major) from the University of Wisconsin in 1957.  Upon graduation, he was commissioned Ensign, USNR through the NROTC program.  Additionally, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School, and has attended the George Washington University Management School and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London.

NAVY EXPERIENCE SUMMARY:  In the U.S. Navy, Captain Siegel was an Unrestricted Line Officer with specialties in Deep Sea Diving, Submarine Warfare and Surface Warfare.  He served in nine ships, three of which he commanded, the diesel submarine USS PICKEREL, the transport dock USS CLEVELAND and amphibious assault ship USS TARAWA.  He served as Executive Officer of guided missile cruiser, USS LITTLE ROCK (CG 4), in 1975/6 while the ship was assigned as flagship of Commander, U.S. SIXTH FLEET in the Mediterranean. In the fall of 1976, he took command for a short period leading up to the ship's decommissioning at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Other assignments included instructor duty at the U.S. Naval Academy; Chief Staff Officer of Submarine Squadron FOUR; Chief of Staff of Amphibious Group THREE; and Deputy Program Director for Amphibious, Auxiliary, and Mine Warfare Ships in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Following retirement from the naval service on 1 December 1986, Captain Siegel participated in the Convoy Commodore Program. Returning to service on "recall for special duty", he directed the training for and execution of convoy exercises with pre positioned combat cargo shipping, operating out of Guam in 1989 and Diego Garcia in 1992 and 1994. Navy personal decorations and awards include The Navy Commendation Medal (2), Meritorious Service Medal (2) and Legion of Merit.

CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT:  In January 1987, Captain Siegel commenced employment with M. Rosenblatt & Son Inc. (later becoming a group of AMSEC L.L.C.), a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering firm in the Washington Area Branch Office in Arlington, VA.  There, he served as Director of Logistics, participating in numerous R&D and fleet support projects for both Navy and Coast Guard customers that encompassed a wide range of shipboard auxiliary, fire fighting, and pollution abatement equipments and systems.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS:  Captain Siegel was a national officer of the Naval Order of the United States; a director of the USS LITTLE ROCK Association; and a member of the Naval Submarine League, Surface Navy Association, and U.S. Naval Institute.
 
RETIREMENT:  In retirement, Captain Siegel remained involved with the organizations shown above, and was an active volunteer in community and church work in the Mount Vernon District of Fairfax County, Virginia where he resided with his wife, Addie.

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THE SKIPPER'S PASSING:  It was with great sadness that the  LITTLE ROCK ASSOCIATION learned of  Captain Siegel's passing away on 05 May 2016 at his home in Alexandria, VA.  His words of wisdom and his finely tuned sense of humor will be sorely missed by his shipmates. (ed: 07 May 16)
 
CAPTAIN SIEGEL'S  OBITUARY





Captain Siegel's Obit Photo

Kent Rodney Siegel (age 81)

On Thursday, May 5, 2016, he passed away with loved ones by his side. Born in Wausau, WI he had lived in Alexandria, VA for the last 30 years. He was a U.S. Navy Captain who served his country, community and family. He is survived by his loving wife Adelaide Hall; daughters Gretchen Giannelli, Jennifer Siegel, and Julie Siegel; six grandchildren; and many extended family members and dear friends.

Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1957, Captain Siegel was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and was trained as a deep-sea diver and submarine officer. Navy service included seagoing and shore assignments. Of note were command of the submarine USS Pickerel, amphibious ship USS Cleveland, and assault ship USS Tarawa, experiencing afloat deployments around the world. He taught at the U.S. Naval Academy and directed Navy recruiting efforts. He received continuing education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, England.

After the Navy, Captain Siegel worked for 15 years at a naval architecture and marine engineering firm, performing contract work on Navy and Coast Guard logistics programs. He remained committed to serve in his community and church. He led the Neighborhood Watch Program, and served as a national officer of the Naval Order of the U.S. and as a director of the USS Little Rock Association.

A memorial service will be held at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1301 Collingwood Rd, Alexandria, VA 22308 on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 2:00 PM. Interment to be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Aldersgate United Methodist Church or the U.S. Navy Memorial fund. Arrangements are being handled by, DEMAINE FUNERAL HOME, Alexandria, VA.



Captain Siegel's funeral was held on Monday, October 24th, 2016 at 11:00AM

The USS Little Rock Association was represented by George Thomas, and Art & Jane Tilley.


Casket and Carriage

Captain Siegel's casket has been placed on the horse drawn caisson.
The flag has been placed over the casket.



Funeral Procession

The procession to the grave site begins.
Honor Guard, band and
caisson precede the family and guests.


Flag Presentation

At the grave site, the Officer in Charge presents Mrs. Siegel
with the flag that had covered the Captain's casket.



Captain Siegel's Family

Captain Siegel's family. Left to right:
Jennifer, Gretchen, "Addie" and Julie





A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS HER DAD

As I write this, my dad is at home in Virginia, trapped underneath covers in his bedroom that has become his prison.  I realized this morning that I wanted to remember my dad living, because he has fought so hard to do so.  From the minute he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he donned his armor, strategically planned his attack and began the battle to stay alive.  It is the bravest and most admirable battle I have ever witnessed.


Most of you know my dad as the Navy captain, the friendly neighbor, or the reliable church volunteer, but to my sisters and I, he was our dad.  Growing up without a dad himself he didn't have much to go by.  I know he tried his best. He was definitely a "manly" man and the fact that he had three daughters, and was also surrounded by all female cats for pets, he had to work doubly hard to stand his ground.
 

My dad used to be gone for months on end at sea.  When he was gone my sister Jennifer would get the use of his car which immediately converted from the testosterone car to a car that smelled of lip smackers, contained a sea of empty Pepsi light cans and candy wrappers. My mom would prepare casual dinners consisting of a salad or a quiche, and after dinner we'd do our nails and watch either the Love Boat or a sappy made for TV movie. My dad would step foot back into the house from six months at sea and reclaim his spot... he'd take his car back, implement MEAT dinners starting with martini cocktail hours and yell at Dan Rather as we ate dinner.
 

His manliness certainly came in handy when things went wrong.  Upon the death of our cherished family cat Bridget, the female Siegel contingency literally fell apart.  He stood up, took care of the burial, acted as priest and tried to bring comfort... which with everything else that followed in life is how he remained... the rock, the strong force.

My father became an officer in the Navy and traveled far and wide. I look back and realize that I got my wanderlust from my father.   To this day, I am quite an antsy person, always feeling the need for adventure or exploration and I know those genes were a gift from my dad. Through our lifetime he introduced us to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley, Ghost towns, the moors of Scotland, castles in England, and much more. He was a Geology major so every hike was a lesson in sediment or rock content, every stream contained facts about the earth and every tree had a story. Through the Navy he learned astronomy and we would spend many evenings stargazing.

My sisters and I have not always lived near our parents, and it was sometimes scary to get in our cars, or on planes and leave our safety net.  My father ALWAYS made sure to let us know how proud he was of us for going out in the world and having adventures, he let us know he would always be there if we needed to return and there was never any guilt from either my mother or my father for leaving.  Which to a young adult, is VERY important, because change is scary and strength is sometimes hard to come by. I have ended up moving most of my adult life with his strength in my bones guiding me and I've always known he would be in Virginia at the home base.

So, as you see, I want to remember my dad for his adventurous spirit. He did not want to die... he VERY much wanted to continue to live. He wanted more trips down to Florida for Baseball training season. He wanted to keep flying to Seattle to visit his family. He enjoyed his days cooking for the homeless at church, and wanted more time to give to all of the various volunteer organizations that he was a member of.  It's made me realize we all need to make sure we're living our lives to the fullest and I will go forth knowing how much he wanted to live and know that I will now do it for him.

Note: The above letter was read at Captain Siegel's Memorial Service by his daughter
Julie. It is posted here with her permission.



Crew Remembrances & Anecdotes
From the January 1977 issue of All Hands magazine (Page 27):

Commander Kent R. Siegel, Little Rock's last commanding officer, summed it all up. "The ceremony is really anticlimactic. You can't even get a good cup of coffee here and that certainly spells the end of a Navy ship."

Ed. note:  You actually CAN still get a good cup of coffee on the Little Rock!   Stop by the Naval Park in Buffalo and ask for John Branning AWCS (Ret). He usually has a pot on.



The following email was received on 21 July 2011 from David Bodaly who served as a LT(jg) under Captain Siegel on the USS Tarawa LHA-1 in the early 1980's:

"I served under Captain Siegel while on the USS Tarawa, [LHA-1], in 1982-1984, as a junior officer in Operations Department and as the Boat Group Commander.

I arrived on the ship shortly after its extensive overhaul in Long Beach with all the work-up and training requirements needed to be completed prior to deployment.

There weren't very many qualified watch standers after the attrition from the overhaul and there was a quick training program to correct the lack.

I was the conning officer on the mid-watch during one of the first night time under way replenishments in 1982. Captain Siegel was seated behind me in his chair on the starboard wing along with several other senior officers and deck watch personnel.

Everything went flawless and I knew he was pleased with the results, as were everyone else.  So he ordered up two huge Styrofoam cups of coffee from his galley, one for him and one for me, while I completed the maneuvering evolution.

He knew I was an avid coffee drinker, always searching for a new way to a good cup.

I was so intent on the emergency breakaway evolution, I had no idea the coffee was placed on the wing ledge behind me.

Captain Siegel was about five feet behind me,  seated in his chair; feet raised up on the framing, totally satisfied with my seamanship demonstration.

He called me out for some reason and tapped me on my shoulder.

I turned in that direction and contacted both cups of coffee; sending them top down into his lap.

He let out a good yell, [as did everyone else in close proximity], and was jumping up and down from the hot fluids.

He had a lot of coffee on him from his chest down to his shoes.

Then it got very quiet.

No one said anything as I recall until I made a comment about standing the next watch also . . . . in After Steering.

News traveled fast back then and I heard all about it at breakfast, . . . and the 8-12 watch.

In spite of that, serving under Captain Siegel was one of the most memorable and rewarding tours of duty in my Navy career.

I wonder if he still remembers me?"

        David Bodaly

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Ed. note: Mr. Bodaly's email was passed on to Captain Siegel along with a request to post Mr. Bodaly's comments on the website. On 24 July 2011 Captain Siegel replied:

Art,

Addie and I just returned from a 4-day trip to Myrtle Beach for her family's reunion. We're tired of windshield time (in) the old car for awhile.

Thanks so much for sending Dave's e-mail along to me.  I've been wondering how he got onto me through you. Maybe he was just surfing the best Navy websites  did he say?   I certainly remember him as an extraordinarily sharp young officer. Can you believe I don't remember the big coffee splash incident? Guess it's because my crotch is impervious to pain.

You may hang it (the email) on the website.  I need all the flattery I can get. There are probably some that appeared before me at Captain's Mast that wouldn't be so kind.  I'll respond to David directly,  Cc: to you.

Warm regards,

        Kent

(Add yours..... Contact Art Tilley)



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