Edward F. Welch Jr.; Led Naval War College

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Edward F. Welch Jr., 83, a Navy rear admiral who served as president of the Naval War College and as deputy U.S. commissioner of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Standing Consultative Commission in Geneva, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 2 at his home in Alexandria.

Over a career of more than 39 years that included service on a destroyer and on submarines, Adm. Welch held positions of increasing authority. From 1977 to 1979, he was deputy director of international negotiations on the joint staff with responsibility to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for arms control talks.

In addition, he played a key role on the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Standing Consultative Commission in 1977-78. He was a member of the delegation that accompanied President Jimmy Carter to the SALT II summit in Vienna in June 1979.

Later that year, he became the 40th president of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and he served there until he retired in 1982.

Adm. Welch was a native of Barrington, R.I., and attended the University of Rhode Island and MIT. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Md., before graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1947. He received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1962.

After his commissioning in 1947, he served in the Pacific and in occupied Japan before attending submarine school in 1949 and serving in the submarines USS Sea Cat and USS Balao from 1949 to 1954.

In the mid-1950s to early 1960s, he was personal aide to the commander submarine force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; executive officer when the submarine USS Grenadier was awarded the Admiral Wright Award for forcing a Soviet Zulu-class missile submarine to surface; and commanding officer of the submarine USS Odax.

He later served in the strategic plans division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and on the staff of the commander submarine force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He graduated from the National War College in 1967 and commanded Submarine Division 42.

From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in NATO affairs and subsequently assumed the duties of the deputy director for NATO nuclear planning; headed regional negotiations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was responsible for participation in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on mutual and balanced force reductions; and attended conferences in Helsinki and Vienna.

He was assigned to the staff of Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr., who was supreme allied commander in Europe, in Belgium from 1975 to 1977.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and three awards of the Legion of Merit.

He was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, the SHAPE Officers' Association, the Naval War College Foundation, the National War College Alumni Association, the Submarine League and the Retired Military Officers Association.

His wife of 44 years, Rachael Linehan Welch, died in 1994.

Survivors include two children, Mary Rider of Spotsylvania and James E. Welch of Kennett Square, Pa.; a brother; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

-- Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb

© 2008 The Washington Post Company