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Bernard L. Austin Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 1971

Biographical History

Bernard Lige Austin (1902-1979) was an American Navy officer who retired with the rank of Vice Admiral. Notable offices held include chairmanship of the Inter-American Defense Board and President of the Naval War College.

Born in Wagener, South Carolina on December 15, 1902, Austin attended The Citadel Military College and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1920. From 1934 to 1937 Austin commanded a submarine, and late in 1937 he became the Navy's Press Relations Officer in the Navy Department in Washington, D.C.

During World War II Austin commanded the destroyers USS Woolsey and USS Foote, receiving the Bronze Star with combat V, the Navy Cross, and a Gold Star for "meritorious service and extraordinary heroism." In 1944 he became assistant chief of staff for administration to Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas. He also served as Navy Secretary of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee while in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Austin attended the U.S. National War College (1946-1947) and the British Imperial Defense College (1949), after which he was appointed Deputy to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Politico-Military Affairs, and was the first Navy member of the National Security Council staff. In later assignments, Austin was Assistant Director and later Director of the International Affairs Division for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans and Policy); and President of the U.S. Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island. For his contributions in the latter office, he was awarded the Gold Star. He received numerous other medals and citations during his career.

Admiral Austin retired from active duty in 1964 after more than 44 years of naval service. He was recalled to active duty in August 1964, with the rank of Vice Admiral, to assume the chairmanship of the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bernard L. Austin Papers contain writings, photographs, and memorabilia.

Writings include speeches from Admiral Austin's tenure as President of the Naval War College and from his time as chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board.

Photographs cover various activities of the Admiral's career as well as photographs of others.

Memorabilia consists of biographical material and newspaper clippings.

Arrangement of the Collection

Writings are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Austin, Bernard L. (Bernard Lige), 1902-1979.

Corporate Bodies

Inter-American Defense Board.
Naval War College (U.S.)
United States. -- Navy. -- Officers.


Admirals -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bernard L. Austin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bernard L. Austin, 1966.

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