Browning, Miles Rutherford, born 10-04-1897, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey to stock broker Oren Fogle Browning, Jr., and poet Sarah Louise Smith Browning. In 1914, he enrolled in the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland,
, and graduated on 29-06-1917, age 20
. He served aboard the American battleship Oklahoma and then the French cruiser Lutetia during WWI. On 07-12-1941, Oklahoma was sunk by several torpedoes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
A total of 429 crew died; survivors jumped off the ship 50 feet (15 m) into burning hot water or crawled across mooring lines that connected Oklahoma and Maryland
During the inter-war years, Browning served aboard battleship Pennsylvania and destroyers McKean, Crane, Howard, Badger, and Kidder; he served as the executive officer with USS Kidder. On 10-05-1922, he married Cathalene Isabella Parka,
stepdaughter of Vice Admiral Clark Howell Woodward
. Clark Howell Woodward died a widower in Arlington, Virginia on 29-05-1967, age 90, a decade after the death of his wife in a fire. Between 1922 and Jan 1924, Browning served aboard cruiser Charleston and then destroyer Thompson. In Jan 1924, Browning began flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida,
, earning his wings on 29 Sep. Aboard carrier Langley, minelayer Aroostook, and battleship Idaho, he piloted observation aircraft. In the late 1920s, he served two years as the Operations Officer of Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. In Jul 1929, he received his first command as the commanding officer of Scouting Squadron 5S aboard light cruiser Trenton. In Jul 1931, he joined the Bureau of Aeronautics in the Material Division, in which role he contributed to the direction of American naval aircraft of in the 1930s. In 1932, he was injured as a test pilot as his aircraft crashed, putting him in a San Diego, California, United States hospital. Between Jun 1934 and Jun 1936, he was the commanding officer of Fighting Squadron 3B aboard carrier Langley
, later transferred to carrier Ranger. Between Jun 1936 and 1937, he studied at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. In 1937, he became an instructor at the US Army Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field. In late 1937, he became Admiral William F. Halsey’s Air Tactical Officer.
In Jun 1938, he was transferred to carrier Yorktown as the air wing’s commanding officer. In 1940, as Halsey became the commander of Air Battle Forces, Browning was selected as Halsey’s Operations and War Plans Officer.
In Jun 1941, he became Halsey’s chief of staff aboard Enterprise.
In the summer of 1942, Browning had an affair with the wife of a fellow officer. Together with his known problem with alcoholism, he was temporarily removed from command due to his ungentlemanly conducts. He returned to the front lines in Oct 1942, and once again became a member of Halsey’s staff. Browning’s careful planning of air strikes against Japanese installations played a role in the eventual victory in the Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands campaigns. In a letter to Admiral Chester William Nimitz on 01-01-1943, Halsey wrote, “Miles has an uncanny knack of sizing up a situation and coming out with an answer”, largely in attempt to save Browning’s career, which by now starting to become rather uncertain as the temperamental Browning made more and more political enemies, including Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox
and Admiral Ernest King.In Jul 1943, Browning became the commanding officer of carrier Hornet. In this role, he was instrumental in major air strikes against Japanese garrisons at Truk and Palau islands, as well as participating in the Battle of the Philippine Sea near the Mariana Islands. In the spring of 1944, during a showing of a film on Hornet’s hangar deck, someone discharged a carbon dioxide canister, triggering a stampede that threw two sailors overboard, and one of them drowned. Browning’s political opponents took the opportunity to attack him, successfully removing him from front line command in May 1944. He was transferred to the General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as an instructor, in which role he remained through the rest of WW2.
Death and burial ground of Browning, Miles Rutherford.
After the war, Browning toured Japan in 1949, noting that long term radiation damage from the atomic bombs was a “myth”. On 01-01-1947, he retired from service, and was retroactively promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. Between 1950 and 1952, he was appointed the Civil Defense Director of New Hampshire, United States. American comedian and actor Chevy Chase is his grandson, the son of Browning’s only daughter Cathalene Parker Browning . Miles Browning passed away of systemic lupus erythematosus at Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, on 29-09-1954, age 57. He was buried on 06-10-1954 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States. Section 2, Site: 4942 – 1 – 2