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Capt. William Arthur Kennington Sr., USN (Ret.)

CAPT. William Arthur Kennington Sr., USN (Ret.)

“Bill” Kennington passed away peacefully on 26 November 2016 at the Luther Crest in Allentown,

Pennsylvania.  He was 87 years old.  Bill was born the eldest of six children and raised in Jackson, Mississippi by Warnie and Wilma Kennington.  After obtaining a BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University (1951), he entered the Naval Academy, where he sang in the Protestant choir and served as business manager for the Lucky Bag.  After graduation with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1955, he was assigned to Willard Keith (DD-775).  He then returned to USNA for five months, assisting in training the Olympic crew team, utilizing his experience gained as a varsity coxswain and member of USNA’s Gold Medal crew team of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, “The Great Eight.”  He subsequently commenced submarine training in New London, Connecticut, and earned his Dolphins aboard Tiru (SS-416) in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Admiral Hyman G. Rickover selected him for the nuclear power program, and he served on numerous submarines including commanding officer and plank owner of SAND LANCE (SSN-660).  He served aboard the first nuclear submarine to fire a guided missile, HALIBUT (SSGN-587); was a member of the first Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board; established and served as the first Director of the Advanced Tactics Department at the Submarine School; was Chief of Staff of Submarine Group Eight in Naples, Italy, and was Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Among his awards are the two Legions of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals, the Expeditionary Medal, and the National Defense Medal. 

He retired in 1985 and settled with his wife, Sabra, in Crownsville, Maryland in close vicinity to his alma mater, where, for the next 30 years, he enjoyed all the activities surrounding Annapolis, including USNA sporting events, tailgating with his USNA classmates and sailing on his beloved 35’ Endeavor sailboat, Clean Sweep, named in recognition of all four of his sons graduating from USNA. 


Survivors: his beloved wife of 59 years, the former Sabra Keene Grant of Hartford, Connecticut, their children; Robert ’81 (married to Lili) (surface line), William Jr. ’82 (married to Linda) (submariner), Bruce ’86 (married to Virginia) (submariner), CDR Eric Kennington ’88, USN (Ret.) (married to Dayna) (aviator), and seven grandchildren, William III, Elena, Ryan, Arthur, Tristen, Reese and Ethan. He is also survived by three brothers, Warnie, Roy, and Bruce and a sister, Hallie.  He was predeceased by a fourth brother, Robert.  

Services: Inurnment and memorial services with military honors will be held at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Monday, the 30th of January 2017.  The inurnment will start at 1:30pm at the USNA Columbarium with parking on Ramsey Road immediately adjacent to the columbarium.  Memorial services will be held at the USNA Chapel at 2:00pm immediately following the inurement.  A reception will be held at the USNA Officer Club immediately following the memorial service. 

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