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Captain I. E. Rittenberg

A native Bostonian received his degree in civil engineering at Tufts College in 1923. Immediately following his graduation he entered the Coast and Geodetic Survey where he has made progressive advancement from Ensign to his present rank of Captain.

During his 33 years in the Bureau Ritt, has served in various phases of the Survey's work, both in the field and in the office. Field assignments have included surveys along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of the United States, the Philippine Islands and Alaska, on various vessels, some of which are no longer in our service such as the BACHE, GUIDE, FATHOMER, DERICKSON, and the old PIONEER, and on others still in our fleet.

Throughout his career he has made important contributions in the field of hydrographic and geodetic surveying. In 1943 he received a commendation from the Commandant of the 5th Naval District for valuable services in connection with wire-drag operations in locating and charting a sunken vessel which was a hazard to shipping in the Norfolk area. During October 1936, he rendered valuable service in locating by wire-drag a sunken transport airliner of the Standard Oil Company of California, which had crashed in Great Salt Lake, Utah.

While all through his service Captain Rittenburg has served in an outstanding manner and has always successfully met any operational problem which has confronted him, his high quality of performance has reached its climax since his appointment as the Bureau's first Assistant Director for Administration. He was selected for his assignment because of his familiarity with all phases of our Bureau's operations and his demonstrated ability in administrative matters. The many difficulties naturally associated with the establishment of a new position of such key importance were overcome with ease and dispatch. He has been most effective in budget, personnel and management matters, some of which entail frequent liaison with the Bureau of the Budget on technical and operational aspects of the Bureau.

Captain Isidor Edward Rittenburg - February 5, 1901 - September 11, 1982.

Captain Rittenburg was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 5, 1901. After receiving a degree in civil engineering at Tufts College in 1923, he immediately entered on duty with the Coast and Geodetic Survey. He was appointed as Deck Officer on June 25, 1923, and served initially on a nautical charting operation in Maine, followed by orientation in Washington, D.C. He was commissioned as an Ensign on February 25, 1924. He devoted his entire professional career to the Survey where he advanced from Ensign to Captain, retiring with 36 years of service in 1959.

His 36-year career included assignments to the following ships: BACHE, PIONEER (first as 2nd officer and later as Executive Officer in the Aleutian Islands); FATHOMER, PATHFINDER GILBERT as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer; and GUIDE as Executive Officer. He served as Command Officer aboard the MITCHELL and OGDEN, COWIE, WAINWRIGHT, and the DERICKSON in the Aleutian Islands. His shore and field party assignments included current surveys in Alaska, tides and currents party on the East Coast, and chief of party for both currents and hydrographic surveys in New York Harbor. His Washington, D.C. assignments included Junior Officer in the Division of Coastal Survey; Chief of the Nautical Chart Branch; Assistant Chief, Division of Coastal Surveys; and at the time of his retirement (August 1, 1959), he served 7 years in the Office of the Director as Assistant Director for Administration.

Captain Rittenburg rendered valuable service by employing wire-drag methods tolocate a sunken transport airliner of the Standard Oil Company of California, which had crashed in Great Salt Lake, Utah, during October 1936. Hereceived a Certificate of Service, World War II, for honorable service during the period April 14, 1942 to September 1, 1945, and was awarded the Atlantic Zone Ribbon. In 1956 he was presented the Commerce Meritorious Service Award.

He was the author of various technical articles based upon his field experiences and was a member of Phi Epsilon Pi, the Institute of Navigation, and the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping.

Captain Rittenburg had led an active retired life. He never seemed to tire of working for the Corps. Many of us remember his intense interest in "H.R. 212" of 1970. The eventual passage of this legislation, which provided veterans benefits as well as other rights for NOAA Corps Officers, was due to his considerable effort on behalf of the Association of Commissioned Officers. His testimony in support of the Corps, its proud heritage, and its relation to the military in the past, was entered in the Congressional Record and provides a new appreciation for those who have preceded us. He was a member of the Cosmos Club; National Association for Uniformed Services, Past Commander of Montgomery County Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars; Life Member of the Retired Officers' Association; Canyon Lodge No. 13, F.& M. Midvale, Utah; Keystone Royal Arch Chapter 32, Hyattsville, Maryland, and Past President of Bethesda Chapter No. 445, National Sojourners Inc. (Member in Perpetuity).

He was predeceased by his wife, Mable R. in 1966, and is survived by his son, John G., of Roswell, Georgia, and four grandchildren.


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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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