Courtesy of the U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy Seal

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military

Rear Admiral Morris Smellow:
A Naval Hero Who was Wounded

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Rear Admiral Morris Smellow was a highly decorated hero of World War II, who was in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Smellow was born in New York City and his parents moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, when he was one year old. He was raised here and he was an outstanding athlete in Atlantic City High School. After he graduated ACHS, in 1919, he was accepted into the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis. He graduated in 1923 and was commissioned as an ensign, which began his Naval career.

At the beginning of his Naval career, Smellow was on duty aboard the light cruiser, U.S.S. Marblehead in the Chinese waters during the Nanking occupation. His wife, Minnie and their 5-year-old son lived in Shanghai, while he was at sea, prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The civilians were ordered back to the United States and his family moved to Atlantic City.

In 1941, the U.S.S. Marblehead and ten other allied ships were off the coast of Java to evacuate Dr. Wassell. Morris Smellow was then a Lt. Commander, third in command and a supply officer aboard the U.S.S. Marblehead, when the Japanese Air Force attacked the 11 ships in February 1942. During this battle Smellow was wounded and he received the Purple Heart.

Rear Admiral Morris Smellow received many decorations during his Naval career. He retired as a Rear Admiral, in 1954. His son Edwin chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy. He retired as a Navy Captain.

He died when he was 87 years old in Merion, Pennsylvania, and military services were held at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery.

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