From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Arthur Spring '30

Date of birth: December 25, 1908

Date of death: November 15, 1960

Age: 50

Lucky Bag

From the 1930 Lucky Bag:


From the December 1960 issue of Shipmate:


ART and Clare SPRING were killed on 15 Nov. 1960 when the amphibian plane in which they were returning to Subic from Manila crashed in the rugged Mariveles Mountains.

If two people ever died in line of duty, it was this dynamic, likeable couple. Ambassador John D. Hickerson, when he learned of the tragedy, said: "The people of the Philip pines have lost two staunch friends; the American government has lost a splendid public servant; and I have lost a valuable colleague." President Carlos P. Garcia of the Republic of the Philippines spoke of Art as "one of the ablest naval officers assigned to this country. He was loved and respected by all."

Art had command of the Naval Base at Subic but he and Clare devoted themselves especially to making Filipinos and Americans know and like each other better. They used their own brand of people-to-people program, employing the special talents which they possessed and none worked harder at the job they assumed. Their success came from the fact that they liked people and this was returned in kind.

Less than two weeks before his death, Art wrote in a letter : "I have been accepting invitations all over the country from northern Luzon to southern Mindanao. There isn't much I can talk about except the Navy, the Communist threat, and the theme of Fil-Am friendship. Thus far, I have been able to escape any bad quotes. I write all my speeches ahead of time and stick pretty close to the prepared text. They seem to receive the talks well; and as I gain experience, I have found I don't have to glance too much at the paper. Sometimes, the people don't realize that I have actually read the speech. I think I made my 71st speech since coming to the Philippines in Iloilo last week. I write them all myself and it is a lot of pressure, but the results are very gratifying."

Art and Clare were returning from just such a task when they met their deaths. Life for two engaging people had been one long "Well Done." They would have asked no more of its end than they face their God together.

The Springs are survived by their son, Arthur T. Spring '57, presently on duty under instruction in nuclear submarines at Windsor, Conn. They had a host of friends in all stations in life, in and out of the service. Art had an enviable service record but he liked best to be known as the first Navy player to make a touchdown against Notre Dame.

From "Subic Bay from Magellan to Pinatubo: The History of the U.S. Naval Station":

Also killed was the Admiral's aide Lt. (j.g.) Karl Ziegenhagen, Gary, Indiana; the pilot, LCDR Wade K. Smith, Clinton, Tennessee; the co-pilot, Lt. (j.g.) Kenneth Owles; and airman Cecil G. Johnson, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Springs attended a military dinner-dance at Manila Monday night. They were flying back to Subic Bay. The wreckage of the Albatross was found about 2,700 feet up Mount Mariveles on Bataan Peninsula.

Spring was generally recognized for having promoted friendly relations with Filipinos. He presided at the turnover of the town of Olongapo to the Philippine government. He was given the title of Honorary Mayor of Olongapo, and was recently cited by the governor of central Luzon as the outstanding American of 1960 in the Philippines.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


From USS Helena:

Among other positions of leadership, Captain SPRING served as Executive Officer aboard the USS MISSOURI and as Commanding Officer of the USS MOUNT KATMAI before promotion to the rank of Captain in July, 1949. He then served under the Joint Chiefs of Staff before assuming command of the USS RENVILLE in 1954. For fourteen months before reporting to his present duty, Captain SPRING served as Chief of Staff for Commander of Training Command, U. S. Pacific Fleet. In October 1956, he assumed command of the HELENA, now Flagship for the United States Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific.

Captain SPRING is married to the former Clare Murphy of San Francisco, California. They have one son, Arthur Thomas, who is presently beginning his Naval career as an Ensign serving in the Pacific Fleet.

(This short bio copied from the USS Helena CA-75 1957 cruise book.)


LACONIA — Rear Admiral Arthur F. Spring, 52, commander of the U.S. naval base at Subic Bay, his wife and four other persons were killed, Nov. 15, 1960, when their Navy patrol plane crashed into a Philippine mountain and burned,” The Citizen reported, 50 years ago.

Spring was a 1930 graduate of Annapolis, where he starred in football and lacrosse.

“He won the Navy commendation ribbon while a gunnery officer on the cruiser Louisville off Guadalcanal in World War II and later commanded the heavy cruiser Helena. He assumed command at Subic in February 1960, after serving as chief of staff of the 7th fleet.”

Early in his career, he was at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where he was chief of training command beginning in 1946. Previously he had been executive officer on the USS Missouri.

“While he was in Boston, from 1934 to 1936 at the time that the battleship was under construction at the Charlestown Navy Yard, he and Mrs. Spring came often to Laconia.”

The admiral was the son of longtime Laconia Fire Chief Arthur W. Spring.


The American Legion Post 4 in Olongapo, Philippines is named for him.

Memorial Hall Error

Arthur is not listed with his classmates in Memorial Hall. He was on active duty; in addition to every report confirming this, he is listed in the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1960.

Class of 1930

Arthur is one of 42 members of the Class of 1930 on Virtual Memorial Hall.