Dick Pittenger was born in Nebraska during the worst of the Dust Bowl/Depression era of the mid-1930s. His family moved west, eventually settling in Tacoma, Wash. Pittenger was attracted to the sea and actively participated in the Sea Scouts and Sea Cadets. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserves during the Korean War and earned an appointment to the Naval Academy through the Reserves. Graduating in 1958, Dick was commissioned an ensign and went on to serve for 32 years, rising to the rank of rear admiral. He earned a master’s degree in physics (underwater acoustics) at the Naval Postgraduate School. His duties included mostly destroyers, and he specialized in anti-submarine warfare (ASW). He commanded a minesweeper in Vietnam, a fast frigate that was a member of the then-revolutionary “ASW Squadron,” and a destroyer squadron. His last duties in the Navy were as director of ASW for the Chief of Naval Operations, and as the Oceanographer of the Navy. Upon retirement, Pittenger came to WHOI where he led the Institution’s Marine Operations Division. His era at WHOI saw the addition of Atlantis to the WHOI fleet, the retirement of Atlantis II, the mid-life conversions of Knorr and Oceanus, the construction of the coastal research vessel Tioga, the revitalization of deep submergence, including bringing the tethered vehicles Argo/Medea/Jason/DSL-120 into the National Deep Submergence Facility and, in 2004, the award of a grant to build a replacement for Alvin.
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