Admiral Edward Clifford Kalbfus


Edward Clifford Kalbfus was Born at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, November 24, 1877. Son of Dr. Daniel and Mary E. Jones Kalbfus. Edward Kalbfus married Syria Brown. They had no children. 

Edward Kalbfus died September 6th 1954 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Mary Kalbfus died on February 22nd 1960 and is buried alongside Edward.


Edward Kalbfus attended Selwyn Hall in Reading Pennsylvania before enrolling in the United States Naval Academy. Active in sports, he played football and was captain of the baseball team during his first class year. Edward graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1899.

Naval war college 1926 to 1927


Military Service

Rank and Date



Ensign, July 27 1901

Lieutenant JG, unknown

Lieutenant, unknown

Lieutenant Commander, unknown

Commander, unknown

Captain, unknown

Commodore, unknown

Rear Admiral, 1931

Vice Admiral, 1937

Admiral, 1942


Ships and Dates

June 9 to August 30 1895, U.S.S. Monongahela

June 6, to August 26 1895, U.S.S. Monongahela

June 5 to 28 August 1897, U.S.S. Monongahela

June 25 1898, U.S.S. Oregon (BB-3)

July 12 1898, Transferred to the U.S.S. Wasp

July 20 1898, Reported to the U.S.S. Lancaster

August 1 1898, Reported to the U.S.S. Newport

February 1 1899, Reported to the U.S.S. Indiana

January 15 1900, Reported to the U.S.S. Scindia

March 21 1900, Transferred to the U.S.S. Petrel

April 15 1900, Transferred to the U.S.S. General Alava (AG-5)

November 14 1902, Reported to the U.S.S. Cincinnati (C-7)

April 25, 1904, Reported to the  U.S.S. Albany

September 5 1904, Reported to the U.S. Naval Academy

May 30 1905, Reported to the U.S.S. Newark (C-1) as Senior Engineer Officer

September 18, 1905, Reported to the U.S. Naval Academy

May 26, 1906, Reported to the U.S.S. Newark (C-1) as Senior Engineer Officer

November 14, 1906, Reported to the U.S.S. Kansas (BB-21) as Senior Engineer Officer and later as Gunnery Officer, Great White Fleet cruise.

May 14, 1910, Reported to the Bureau of Navigation

November 12, 1913, Reported to the U.S.S. Arkansas

1914, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Fleet Engineer and Aide to CIC

1914, Reported to the U.S.S. Wyoming (BB-32) as Navigator

1915, Navy Department, Gunnery Exercises and Engineering Competitions, Assistant Director.

1916 to 1918, Reported to the U.S.S. Pocahontas (SP-3044) as Commanding Officer

1918 to 1919, Reported to the U.S.S. Iowa (BB-4) as Commanding Officer

May 14, 1925, Reported to the U.S.S. Trenton (CL-11)

March 21 1929, Reported to the U.S.S. California (BB-44) as Commanding Officer


Career Outline

1904-1906, U.S. Naval Academy, Instructor- Department of Marine Engineering and naval Construction

1919 to 1921, Commander Destroyers, Atlantic, Staff

1921 to 1924, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Maintenance Division as Department Head.

1927 to 1929, Naval War College, Staff

1930, Commander Battleships, Battle Fleet, Chief of Staff

1931, Director of War Plans, Navy Department

1931 to 1934, Commander, Destroyers, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet

1934 to 1936 and 1938 to 1939, President of the Naval War College

1941, Transferred to retired list

1942 to 1946, Member of the Navy General Board

1944, Court of Inquiry to investigate Pearl Harbor Attack, board member (details below)

1944 to 1945, Director of Naval History

1947 to 1952, Member of the American Battle Monuments Commission



Campaigns and Expeditions

1898, Spanish American war on board the U.S.S. Oregon where he participated in the Battle of Santiago Bay, witnessed the sinking of the Reina Mercedes and served on the Havana Blockade.

1900 to 1902, Philippine Insurrection

1905, Cuban Pacification

1914, Mexican Occupation, occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico and took charge of the Mexican railway system during the naval occupation.

1918, WW1




Navy Cross, 1918

Legion of Merit, 1947

Sampson Medal, 1901

Spanish Campaign Medal

Philippine Campaign Medal

Cuban Pacification Medal

Mexican Service Medal

World War One Victory Medal

American Campaign Medal

American Defense Medal

World War Two Victory Medal

Military Order of the Avis (Portugal)


Details from the Pearl Harbor Court of Inquiry


The Navy Court of Inquiry was appointed pursuant to the provisions of 

Public Law 339, Seventy-eighth Congress, approved June 13, 1944, and by 

order dated July 13, 1944, of the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. 

The court was ordered to thoroughly "inquire into the attack made by 

Japanese armed forces on Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 

December 1941 * * * and will include in its findings a full statement of 

the facts it may deem to be established. The court will further give its 

opinion as to whether any offenses have been committed or serious blame 

incurred on the part of any person or persons in the naval service, and 

in case its opinion be that offenses have been committed or serious 

blame incurred, will specifically recommend what further proceedings 

should be had." The court held sessions beginning July 24, 1944, and 

concluded its inquiry on October 19, 1944. The record of its proceedings 

and exhibits covers 1,397 printed pages. Members of the court were 

Admiral Orin G. Murfin, retired, president; Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, 

retired, and Vice Adm. Adolphus Andrews, retired.  

The Navy Court of Inquiry, consisting of Orin G. Murfin, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), President; Edward C. Kalbfus, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret), Member; Adolphus Andrews, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Member; Harold Biesemeier, Captain, U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate, met between 20 July 1944 and 20 October 1944. The net result of the Courts inquiry is the complete exoneration of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel while serving as Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet on 7 December 1941. We single out for special mention this portion of the Opinion.

Based on Findings XVIII and XIX, the Court is of the opinion that Admiral Harold R. Stark, U.S.N., Chief of Naval Operations and responsible for the operations of the Fleet, failed to display the sound judgement expected of him in that he did not transmit to Admiral Kimmel, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, during the very critical period 26 November to 7 December, important information which he had regarding the Japanese situation and, especially, in that, on the morning of 7 December, he did not transmit immediately information which appeared to indicate that a break in diplomatic relations was imminent, and that an attack in the Hawaiian area might be expected soon.




Photographs of Admiral Kalbfus and a Formal Dress uniform belonging to Admiral Kalbfus

Click picture for larger view

Caption from this photograph reads "The first bombs dropped by Japanese aviators on the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River, December 12, 1937, disabled the commander and elevated Leiut. Arthur Ferdinand Anders of Indiana to the command. Few moments later, flying shrapnel ripped his throat. Unable to give orders orally he wrote them on the deck with chalk until both hands were wounded. When all survivors were ashore he collapsed on the riverbank. After months of hospitalization, Leiut. Anders returned to duty aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi. On August 27th Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus pinned on his emancipated chest the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism."

Photo of Cadet Kalbfus, circa 1900

Captain Kalbfus, circa 1918

Captain Kalbfus, circa 1929

Captain Kalbfus, circa 1925

Admiral Kalbfus, circa 1935

Admiral Kalbfus awarding the Navy Cross to Leiut. Arthur Ferdinand Anders for action aboard the U.S. gunboat Panay (details listed above)

Adm. Kalbfus's Formal Dinner Uniform.

Another picture of the Formal Dinner Uniform.

Side photo.

Back with tails.

Cuff rank of full Admiral.

Epaulette for full rank of Admiral. These epaulettes were phased out around 1943. 

Detail of the mini bar showing his medals.

Front view of an Admiral's Fore-n-Aft hat.

Side view of an Admiral's Fore-n-Aft hat.


Headstone of Admiral Kalbfus in Arlington National Cemetery.