Charles Robert Larson (November 20, 1936 – July 26, 2014) was a four-star Admiral of the United States Navy.
A 1958 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Larson twice served as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He also served as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command (CINCPAC).
His classmates at the Academy included future U.S. Senator John McCain and Vice Admiral John Poindexter.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in 1958 he reported to Pensacola, Florida, to enter flight training. Upon completion, as a pilot, he reported to Attack Squadron 176 aboard the aircraft carrier USS SHANGRI-LA (CVA-38 where he served until April 1963.
He commenced nuclear power training in 1963 and upon completion reported to the USS NATHAN HALE (SSBN 623), where he qualified in submarines.
His next tours of duty were on USS NATHANAEL GREENE (SSBN 636 and USS BERGALL (SSN667).
Admiral Larson was the first naval officer selected as a White House Fellow and served his fellowship in 1968 as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. From 1969 to 1971, he served as Naval Aide to the President of the United States. He reported back to sea duty as executive officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Sculpin (SSN-590).
Then from 1973 to 1976, he served as commanding officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Halibut (SSN-587). In 1976, Admiral Larson assumed duties as Commander, Submarine Development Group ONE in San Diego, California, in which he headed the Navy’s worldwide deep submergence program.
Admiral Larson was promoted to four-star rank in February 1990 upon being assigned as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet-the Navy component commander in the Pacific theater. After one year in this position, Admiral Larson was nominated by the President and assumed duties as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command.
Larson’s major military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal (7 awards), Legion of Merit (3 awards), the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal. He has also been decorated by the governments of Japan, Thailand, France and Korea.
Larson was a founder, director and chairman of the board of ViaGlobal Group. As of 2002, he also served on the Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Board of Directors and the Board of Esterline Corporation.
He also served on three corporate boards in the fields of electrical power generation and distribution, oil exploration and production and international service and construction.
In 2002, after switching parties to become a Democrat, Larson ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, on the ticket with Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. He and his wife, Sally, resided in Annapolis until his death.
Larson became an Eagle Scout in 1950 and as an adult was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
His public service boards include the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, The White House Fellows Foundation, The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, The Board of Trustees of the Anne Arundel Health System, Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the US Naval Academy Foundation.
Larson died of pneumonia at his home in Annapolis, Maryland, after being afflicted with leukemia for two-years on July 26, 2014.