Ralph Earle Edit Profile
Student Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1892, honorary Doctor of Science, 1925. Graduated from the United States Naval Academy, 1896.
He served at sea in several ships, among them USS Massachusetts, Essex, and Hornet. He commanded USS Dolphin at the U.S. occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, and later commanded Connecticut. Ordnance expertise
Ashore, Earle had duty at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Proving Ground.
An expert on guns and explosives, he was made Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance shortly before the United States entered World War I.
Under his administration the North Sea mine barrage was conceived and executed using a new type of mine, and the plan of mounting naval 14-inch guns on railway cars for use as long-range artillery on the Western Front, was evolved and carried out. After his retirement in 1927, Rear Admiral Earle served as president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute until his death, 13 February 1939. Earle, well loved as WPI's sixth president implemented a five-year plan which brought the students a swimming pool and a new hall named after R. Sanford Riley among other needed campus improvements.
He also served as president of the Worcester Economic Club in 1931. The USS Earle, launched 10 December 1941 by Boston Navy Yard, was named in his honor. The launch was sponsored by Mrs.
John F. Hines, Jr., daughter of Rear Admiral Earle. The Naval Weapons Station Earle (New Jersey) was also named (in 1943) to honor the admiral because of his strong association with ordnance projects.
Served on United States Ship Massachusetts, 1896-1898. Member special board on naval ordnance, 1912-1913. Member of the United States Naval Institute.
Married Janet Turner, d. Children: Ralph, Mary Janet.