Friday, April 19, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Rear Admiral Arthur W. Price, Jr.

Location: Fourth & D Avenue, Coronado, CA
Rear Admiral Arthur W. Price, Jr., U.S. Navy, Banner Location: Fourth & D Avenue, Coronado, CA

Rear Admiral Arthur W. Price, Jr., U.S. Navy
By Dana S. Chisholm

November 21, 1920 – August 22, 2007

Rear Admiral Arthur W. Price Jr., U.S. Navy (ret.) was a 43-year resident of Coronado, husband and father of six, and served a total of 40 years and eight months that spanned from the 1930s to the 1980s. He was distinguished in WWII and Vietnam, and progressed through the pay grades of apprentice seaman to rear admiral. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V (twice), the Legion of Merit (two awards), Bronze Star (three awards), Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation in addition to numerous awards from foreign countries including the highest award given by the South Vietnamese government. Rear Adm. Price lived for country and family, and gave back to his community throughout his life.

Price was born in Trenton, N.J. on Nov. 21, 1920 and grew up in New Egypt, a small town in Central New Jersey. He graduated from Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J. and went onto attend Marquette University and the University of Maryland, with a bachelor’s of science degree; naval post-graduate school, with a B.S. degree in Navy management and later the Industrial War College in Washington, D.C.

When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, Price enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an apprentice seaman. In September 1941, he was transferred from the USS Wright to Patrol Squadron 14, and was active during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December 1941. In 1943 Adm. Price returned to the continental U.S. and began an 18-month course in the aviation flight program and became a naval aviation pilot (NAP) and promoted to ensign in November 1944.

In 1952 Price met and then married Peggy Wynn of Syosset, N.Y. at the U.S. Naval Line School Chapel in Monterey, CA. They raised six children who have happy memories of camping while traveling back and forth across the country with their father and mother on orders as a Navy family. “His family was very special to him since he was gone so much.  When transferring from one duty station to the next he made sure he had the time for camping and traveling and visiting the many historical places in the US. We have many wonderful memories of these trips,” says Peggy Price.

Art never lost his zest for travel and when he retired one of his greatest pleasures was traveling the world accompanied by his wife Peggy and his children.  He trekked Nepal, bicycled the back roads of France as well as walking trips of England, Wales , Scotland and New Zealand.  “He loved planning the trips as much as the execution,” recalls Peggy.

In February 1956, Rear Adm. Price had changed his designator from aviation to 1100 which included many tours aboard ships and ashore and throughout his career his sea duty included air officers of the USS Floyds Bay, executive officer of the USS Stribling, commands of the USS Liddle, USS Ashland, USS Duluth, Amphibious Squadron Eleven, the River Patrol Force (Vietnam,) the Seventh Fleet Amphibious Force and command of the naval force of Vietnam.

On July 1, 1975, Rear Adm. Price was placed on the temporary disability retired list. On July 1, 1980, he was transferred from the temporary list to full retirement. Adm. Price was a member of the Pearl Harbor survivors and the Silver Eagles, an elite group composed of former naval aviation enlisted pilots, three of whom rose from apprentice seaman to flag rank.

After retirement and serving actively in his community, Art served as chairman of the Coronado Recreation Department at a crucial time – the passing of Prop 13.   He helped in the formation of Tidelands Park and the building of the Meridien Hotel (now the Coronado Marriott Resort.)

Price was introduced to the San Diego Girl Scouts through his wife when she invited him to accompany Troop on a camping trip.  He was so impressed with their patrol management and ability to handle tasks independently he took an active part as Board Member, Chairman of the Finance Committee and was very instrumental in the construction of the Girl Scout Camp Winacka in Julian.  During the first summer session of overnight camp he had the US Navy provide the mobile kitchen.  He also provided a pop-up camping trailer for the first infirmary.  For his many services to Girl Scouts he was awarded the prestigious “Thanks Badge,” the highest award given to adults serving the Girl Scout Council.

Family and Mayor Tanaka at November 2015 Veterans Day Dedication ceremony
Family and Mayor Tanaka at November 2015 Veterans Day Dedication ceremony

Rear Admiral Price was also a member of Adult Protective Services and of the United Way. He was a life member of the Friends of the Library and for 10 years enjoyed his job as one of the cashiers at the annual book fair. He was a hero his entire life in service to his country, his family and his community.

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