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Neil C. Porter papers

Identifier: MSC-350

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of military service records, flight log books, photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials relating to Neil C. Porter’s life and career in the United States Navy including his time as an instructor at the Naval War College. Also included in this collection is a diary from Porter’s father-in-law, Lt. Cdr. Charles H. Ritt, in which he details his experiences working at the Naval Training Station in Newport, R.I. before starting his tour of duty on the USS New York as an assistant paymaster.


  • Creation: 1919-1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found within ( 1933-1962)


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical note

Captain Neil Claiborne Porter, USN (Ret.) was born on January 17, 1913 in Coalgate, Oklahoma to Irvine Craig (1886-1921) and Alethea Wallace Porter (1888-1968). Porter grew up in Homewood, Alabama and after going to the Birmingham Southern College, he joined the U.S. Army and attended U.S. Military Academy, West Point. He later joined the U.S. Navy in 1936 after serving as a civil service engineering aid with the U.S. Army Engineers in the Atchafalaya Hydrographic Survey. In 1939, he was commissioned an ensign and began his career as a naval aviator. He started first as a naval aviation cadet at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida and was later an instructor pilot there from 1940-1943.

During World War II, he served as executive officer and later commanding officer of a four engine landplane bomber-photographic squadron in the Pacific, seeing action in the Marshal-Gilbert campaign, and the Mariana campaign. He later served as Ships Officer on the aircraft carrier, Yorktown, and seeing action in the Philippines, and in the Caroline Islands. He was selected as Air Operations Officers for the Commander, Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) T. C. Kinkaid.

Following the war, he held a variety of assignments including executive officer of the USS Gilbert Islands (CVE-107) stationed at Quonset Point, commanding officer of a Naval Air Transport Squadron of DC-6 aircraft (VR-22) in Norfolk, Virginia, and commanding officer of the Naval Air Facility at Lajes Field in the Azores. His final assignment with the Navy was at the Naval War College where he acted as the Assistant Head of the Academic Plans Department. In that role, he was in charge of long range academic planning and the College’s evaluation of function.

Porter retired from the Navy on June 30, 1962 and remained in Newport, RI with his wife and family. Throughout his naval career he earned the following: four Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, four Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Commendation, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Area Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Medal, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and various letters of commendation.

In retirement, Porter was active with the Trinity Church, Newport Art Association, Clambake Club, Newport Garden Club, and Redwood Library. Captain Neil C. Porter passed away on November 13, 2015 at the age of 102.

Neil C. Porter was married to Madeline Ritt Porter (1915-1998) for sixty years and they had two children: Neil C. Porter, Jr. and Charles R. Porter. Madeline was the daughter of Lieutenant Commander Charles Henry (1890-1965) and Emeline Vars Ritt (1892-1934). Her father served in the Navy for thirty years as a paymaster.

Chronology of Naval Service note

Born in Coalgate, Oklahoma
State Teacher’s College and Birmingham-Southern College
Served in U.S. Army
U.S. Military Academy, West Point
Engineering Aide, U.S. Army Engineers, New Orleans District, Atchafalaya Hydrographic Survey
Joined Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet in Pensacola, Florida
Commissioned as an Ensign and designated an aviator
Appointed Lieutenant Commander
General Line School, Newport, R.I.
Armed Forces Staff College
U.S. Naval War College student and later Head, Strategy and Tactics Department
Selected for captain
Commanding Officer, Naval Air Facility, Lajes Field, Azores
Earned Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland
Assistant Head of Academic Plans and Long Range Academic Planning Officer, Senior Command Duty Officer, U. S. Naval War College
Retirement from Navy
Died at age 102 in Newport, R.I.


3.34 Linear Feet (3 archival boxes, 2 half archival boxes, 1 oversize box)


This collection consists of papers detailing Captain Neil C. Porter’s (1913-2015) life and career in the U.S. Navy and at the Naval War College. It also includes the diary of Lieutenant Commander Charles H. Ritt (1890-1965), his father-in-law.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order by genre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Captain Neil C. Porter, June 2016; (Ms.Ac.2016.1) and gift of Robinson C. Porter, June 2021 (2021-01).

Separated Materials

Registers of graduates and former cadets of the United States Military Academy, 1802-1972, Association of Graduates U.S.M.A., 1972.

Registers of graduates and former cadets of the United States Military Academy, 1802-2008, Association of Graduates U.S.M.A., 2008.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described according to current archival standards by Elizabeth Delmage in 2018.

Guide to the Neil C. Porter papers1919-1986 (bulk 1933-1962)
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Delmage.
2018 Apr 27
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2021-06-29: This finding aid was revised in 2021 to include the latest accrual of materials to this collection.

Repository Details

Part of the Naval War College Archives Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US