LORTON—Edward R. Ettner Sr., CDR, USN (retired), of Lorton, died peacefully at home in Mason Neck on January 26, 2022, surrounded by his children.
He was the father of Barbara Ettner of Kilmarnock, as well five other daughters and five sons. He was a centenarian, a World War II submarine vet, and one of the few remaining members of “the Greatest Generation.”
Ed was born in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1921, enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and was assigned to the Navy Weapons Annex in Yorktown, where he married the love of his life, Mary Jane Houghton of Manitowoc.
Ed was predeceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Mary Jane, who died on May 24, 1999. He was also predeceased by his oldest son, Edward Rudolph Ettner Jr., LTC, USA (retired).
In addition to his children Ed is survived by 24 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Ed completed studies in applied communications, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif., in 1953; graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s in political science in 1971; and a master’s in international relations from the University of Maryland. In 1976 he was commended by Naval War College, Newport, R.I., for being one of only three active duty naval officers in the history of the War College to have completed all correspondence courses offered in the senior staff and command curriculums.
His military duty stations and service included F/C division officer as XO/CO aboard the minesweeper USS Saugus before joining the Submarine Force in 1947. Ed was fleeted up from XO to CO of the USS Bugara (SS331) in the Pacific fleet, starting out as lieutenant in 1956.
In 1957, he commanded the crew of the Bugara to successfully conduct the first “Hunt-to-Exhaustion” exercise to test Western Sea Frontier’s ASW capabilities against a diesel submarine. He served as an officer aboard many submarines in the Pacific Fleet including the USS Scabbardfish, Perch, Razorback, Cabezon and Seafox.
In 1959, he attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk. In 1960, he commissioned the Polaris Weapons Facility, in Charleston, S.C., as head of the weapons department. In 1961, he received the Naval Commendation Medal for heroism after he saved two people from drowning after their vehicle skidded off the road and overturned in a river near Charleston.
From 1962 to 1965, Ed was assigned to COMSUBLANT staff as the technical advisor for development of the Navy’s Polaris missile capabilities. He also planned the A1/A2 Operational Readiness and Reliability testing and Patrol Weapons System readiness testing for the nuclear submarines USS George Washington and Ethan Allen.
In 1965, Ed assumed command of COMSUBDIV-63 and in 1966 was assigned to SACLANT as Submarine Nuclear Weapons planning officer. He completed his Navy career in Washington on the DNI’s Staff as deputy assistant for USW Intelligence in 1969 and continued serving his country in civil service as a senior analyst in the Department of Naval Intelligence. He retired from civil service in 1999 and continued to work as a private consultant for DNI until 2005.
Ed was deeply devoted to God, country and family. He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus and a generous benefactor to many colleges and religious charities throughout his life. His extensive library of books on theology, philosophy, science, history and political science attests to his life-long pursuit of knowledge and truth.
He was a consummate leader, teacher, father, husband, mentor and friend to all. His most favorite place to be was with his family.
A Requiem Mass was said for him at Our Lady of Angels Church in Woodbridge on January 31, 2022 and he was buried in Calvary cemetery in Manitowoc, on February 2, 2022. May he rest in peace.