Courtesy of the U.S. Navy
Rear Admiral Herbert M. Bridge

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military


Rear Admiral Herbert M. Bridge:
A Veteran of Two Wars and 41
Years in the U.S. Navy

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Rear Admiral Herbert (Herb) M. Bridge was a veteran of World War II and of the Korean War. He was in the Navy for 41 years and he retired on March 14, 1985, when he was 60 years old. Herb Bridge and his wife, Shirley, are philanthropists, who are very active in civic and Jewish affairs.

Herb Bridge was born on March 14, 1925 in Seattle, Washington. His parents were Sally and Ben Bridge, who had immigrated to Seattle from Poland. They changed their name from Bryczkowski to Bridge. When America entered World War I, his father enlisted in the Navy. He was assigned to a submarine chaser as a chief petty officer electrician and he was in combat with the enemy in the Adriatic Sea.

Herb Bridge was educated in the Seattle education system. He graduated Franklin High School and then received his B.A. degree from the University of Washington. In the Navy he attended the Military War College.

Herb Bridge entered the Navy on September 3, 1942, when he was seventeen years old. In 1943, he was one 12 chosen to attend an officer’s training billet at the University of Washington. He earned his commission in 1945 and he served on the escort carrier USS Breton in the Pacific Ocean.

He was discharged in 1946 as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. He completed his studies at the University of Washington. When he was an undergraduate student, Herb Bridge won the intramural welterweight boxing title.

In 1943 when Herb Bridge was in the Pacific, he received a note from his father saying that he was a one-fourth owner of his jewelry store and that he should sign the enclosed papers and return it. Herb Bridge and his brother, also a one-fourth partner, developed the business in Seattle from one to over 70 stores in Hawaii, the west coast and parts of the neighboring states.

In 1948, he married Shirley Selesnick, who had just graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington as a pharmacist. She was one of the few female pharmacists in the State of Seattle. They had two sons, Jonathan, who graduated from the University of Washington Law School and joined the Naval Reserve, He later became a Captain in the JAG and served in the Vietnam War. Their other son, Daniel, graduated from the University of Washington and became a reformed rabbi.

Herb Bridge was awarded the Legion of Merit with a gold star, in lieu of a second award, the Naval Unit Citation and the Combat Ribbon. Herb and his wife, Sally, have been jointly awarded and recognized for their contributions by Fred Hutchnson Cancer Institute, the National Council of Christians and Jews, the Museum of History and Industry, the YMCA and the Jewish National Fund.

Shirley and Rear Admiral Herbert M. Bridge are currently living in Seattle, Washington.


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