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Homer Norman Wallin Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Homer Norman Wallin passes away in 1984.

Homer Norman Wallin was an American naval officer.

Wallin was born on December 6th, 1893 in Washburn, North Dakota. After graduating high school he spent one year at the University of North Dakota and one year with the North Dakota National Guard. He then received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1917 and was commissioned as an Ensign.

During World War I, Wallin served on the battleship USS New Jersey. The following year he was transferred to the United States Navy Construction Corps. He was sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or postgraduate education in Naval Architecture. He received his Master of Science degree in 1921.

Wallin spent four years at the New York Navy Yard starting in 1921. He was later assigned to the Bureau of Construction and Repair in Washington, D.C., serving from 1925 to 1929. The Bureau was responsible for supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of ships and other naval craft.

In the 1930's Wallin was assigned to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California and in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Pennsylvania. Later in the decade he returned to the Bureau of Construction and Repair which was renamed in 1940 to the Bureau of Ships.

In 1941, Wallin, now a captain, was the Material Officer for Commander, Battle Force, the United States Pacific Fleet and was serving in the position on December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Early in 1942, Wallin was put in charge of the Pearl Harbor Naval Yard's Salvage Division. Throughout 1942, Wallin directed the salvage operations for the ships damaged during the December 7th attacks. Under his command, three battleships were recovered, repaired and put back in service.

Through the rest of World War II, Wallin held various positions around the Pacific fleet, up and down the west coast of the United States. He was also promoted to Rear Admiral by the end of the war.

After the war, Wallin took command of the Philadelphia and Norfolk Naval Shipyards. In 1951 he was made the Chief of the Bureau of Ships. In 1953 he took command of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard before retiring in 1955.

In 1968, Wallin wrote the book "Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal" an account of his time in service and the efforts to salvage damaged and destroyed ships after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Wallin passed away on March 6th, 1984.

Wallin was a member of Republic Lodge No. 690 in New York City, New York. He was a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in both the Northern (New York City) and Southern Jurisdiction (Seattle, Washington). He received the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) in 1947. He was the President of the National Sojourners, an organization open to Freemasons who served in the military, in 1955. He often traveled, speaking to masonic organizations about "Americanism."

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.