Retired Navy Vice Adm. Marshall R. Greer, 85, a naval aviator who was decorated for his escort carrier and aircraft carrier task group commands in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at Fernwood House nursing home in Bethesda.
From May to October 1943, Adm. Greer commanded an escort aircraft carrier task group -- consisting of his command vessel, the escort carrier Core and its 21 aircraft and three destroyers -- against hostile submarine forces in the central Atlantic. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for this command for "the sinking of an outstanding number of enemy submarines" without the loss of a single convoy vessel.
In October 1944, he assumed command of the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill, one of the units of Adm. Marc A. Mitscher's famous Task Force 58. He commanded the Bunker Hill during the battle for the Philippines and the Formosa straits. He received the Silver Star medal for bringing his carrier through "determined and sustained attack by enemy aircraft " without damage while continuing to inflict damage on the enemy.
Adm. Greer was awarded a second Legion of Merit for his command in 1945 of a fleet air wing during long-range search, photographic and reconnaissance missions in Japanese waters, strikes on the Japanese mainland and the air-sea rescue of hundreds of air and surface craft survivors.
After the war, Adm. Greer was appointed chief of the Navy Department's Pan-American Division. He later held several command positions and was chief of Air Technical Training in Memphis, Tenn., when he retired in 1953.
Adm. Greer was born in Riverside, N.C. He was a 1918 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and was assigned to escort duty in the Atlantic during the last year of World War I. He became a naval aviator in 1921.
He moved to Washington in 1953 and was a member of the Army & Navy, the Chevy Chase, the Sulgrave and the N.Y. Yacht clubs.
His wife of 45 years, the former Catherine French, died in 1977.
Survivors include two daughters, Grace Schettino of Connecticut, and Elinor Constable of Washington; a son, Marshall R. Jr. of Bethesda; two brothers, George of Marion, Va., and Stanley of Florida; two sisters, Ruth Crane of Elmhurst, Ill., and Fay Sharp of Pikeville, Ky., and seven grandchildren.