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November 20, 1899 - November 27, 1984

Rear Admiral Alvin C. Thorson was born November 20, 1899, in Hatton, North Dakota. He alvin thorsonattended the University of North Dakota where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in June 1924. Following his graduation he was appointed as a Deck Officer and on December 2, 1925, he was commissioned as an Ensign.

During his career, his assignments included serving aboard the following ships: RANGER, DISCOVERER, SURVEYOR as Junior Officer and later in his career as Commanding Officer, he also was Commanding Officer of the wire drag vessels PARKER, BOWEN, and STIRNI, of the PATHFINDER and at time of his retirement in 1956, was serving as Commanding Officer of the NOAA Ship EXPLORER. His other assignments included Chief of Party on numerous precise level parties, Junior Officer at the N.W. District Office in Seattle, Washington; Chief of Party in triangulation; and on the Director's staff at Headquarters.

Admiral Thorson was transferred to the Department of the Army from February 24, 1942 until April 20, 1946. During this time, he served in the following battles and campaigns: Naples Foggia, Rome Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. For his service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Ribbon, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Battle Stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Army of Occupation Medal with the German Clasp.

Based on the Act of June 1942 (33 USC 864E) as amended, Admiral Thorson, although retired in the rank as Captain, was given the honorary rank of Rear Admiral. This Act provided:

"All Officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey who have been specially commended for their performance of duty in actual combat by the head of the executive department under whose jurisdiction such duty was performed, shall, upon retirement, be placed on the retired list with the rank of the next higher grade: Provided, that the provision of this section shall not apply in the case of any officer who has been so commended if the act or service justifying the commendation was performed after December 31, 1946."

Admiral Thorson is survived by his wife, Hattie Mae.


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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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