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Admiral Stephen B. Luce, United States Navy.

Stephen Bleecker Luce (25 March 1827 – 28 July 1917) was a U.S. Navy admiral. He was the founder and first president of the Naval War College, between 1884 and 1886.


Born in Albany, New York, Stephen Luce was one of the Navy's outstanding officers in many fields, including strategy, seamanship, education, and professional development. Entering the naval service 19 October 1841 as a midshipman, he served with the Atlantic coast blockaders during the American Civil War, and commanded the monitor Nantucket at the siege of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1862, while serving as head of the Department of Seamanship at the U.S. Naval Academy, he prepared one of the first seamanship textbooks used by the Academy.

After the war Luce organized the Navy's apprentice training program to prepare seamen and petty officers for fleet duty. From 1878 to 1881 Captain Luce was inspector of training ships and, as commodore, he commanded the U.S. Training Squadron from 1881 to 1884.

Based on Luce's urgings and exhaustive reports, the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, was established 6 October 1884 with Luce as its first president. He was also instrumental in starting the U.S. Naval Institute and its publication, Proceedings. He again served at sea before retiring 25 March 1889. He returned to the War College in 1901 and served for a decade as a faculty member.

Luce is buried at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

He published Seamanship (new edition, 1905), which was used as a textbook at the Naval Academy, and edited The Patriotic and Naval Songster (1883).New International Encyclopedia


Three ships have been named USS Luce in his honor. The United States Naval Academy and the Naval War College both have buildings named Luce Hall in his honor. There is also an auditorium at the former Naval Training Center, San Diego, California named Luce Auditorium And the library at the State University of New York Maritime college is the Stephen B. Luce Library.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.