Walter F. Schlech Jr., 69, a retired Navy rear admiral who was a submarine skipper in the Pacific in World War II and who later commanded the first Polaris submarine squadron stationed at Holy Loch, Scotland, died of cancer Jan. 25 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.
Adm. Schlech, who lived in Annapolis, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1936.
His service during World War II was largely aboard submarines and he was captain of the Tilefish in the Pacific at the end of the war. He later held a number of command and staff jobs, including that of officer in charge of the Submarine School at New London, Conn.
After commanding Submarine Squadron 14 at Holy Loch, the first Polaris squadron stationed there, he commanded Submarine Flotilla 6. He also had duty as U.S. representative to the Joint U.S. Military Mission to Turkey. He was commander of the Military Sealift Command for the Atlantic Fleet when he retired in 1970.
Adm. Schlech's military decorations include two Silver Star medals and the Legion of Merit.
In private life, he was chairman of the United Seamen's Service, the service organization of merchant seamen, and a founder and president of the National Maritime Historical Society at Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. He was a member of the maritime committee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Adm. Schlech also was active in alcohol and drug abuse programs in Maryland and was a founder of Raft House, a refuge for alcoholics in Annapolis.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, of Annapolis; four children, Dr. Walter F. III and Kristen Elizabeth Schlech, both of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Peter Victor Schlech of San Diego, and Katherine Ann Schlech of Washington, and three grandchildren.