Obituary for Captain Allan P. Slaff
Captain Allan P. Slaff, a resident of Naples Florida since 1979, died on February 5, 2019 at the age of 96.
After graduating from the Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School he entered the Naval Academy in 1941 and because of the U.S. entry into World
War II he graduated a year early in 1944 although he was a member of the class of 1945. He joined the Pacific Fleet as a 16 inch gunner and officer of the
deck on board the Battleship Massachusetts, a unit of the famed Fast Carrier Task Force 38 and 58. During his service on board, the Massachusetts fought
at Leyte Gulf, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Japanese homeland. After the war he served in several fleet commands and combatant ships,
among them was an officer on Commander Cruiser Division 12’s staff and aide to Commander Cruiser Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet. He had the distinction of
commanding four of the Navy’s newest and best combatant ships; the Destroyer Escort Lester (DE1022), the Fleet Destroyer Davis (DD937), the
Guided Missile Destroyer Leader Luce (DLG 7) and the Heavy Guided Missile Cruiser Albany (CG 10). He was the first naval officer ordered to the Korean
War where for the first year and a half of the war he headed up the Navy’s Special Intelligence effort. He was chosen to accompany Vice Admiral Turner
Joy to Munsan-Ni as his special intelligence briefer when Admiral Joy was appointed to command the United Nations negotiating team at Panmunjon. In
1967 he was ordered to Vietnam to reorganize and command the U.S. Navy’s advisors in country. The Tet Offensive in Saigon commenced with an
unsuccessful attack by a VC sapper company on his headquarters which he shared with the Vietnamese Navy command staff. When he was Captain of the
Davis, she was designated as a unit of the Cuban Blockade Force incident to the Cuban missile crisis and in 1964, when in command of Luce in the Sixth
Fleet he was designated as Commander, Cyprus Patrol Force when the Turks invaded Cyprus.
He was particularly proud to have been selected by the Navy’s distinguished Admiral Arleigh Burke to be his Personal Aide during Admiral
Burke’s tenure as Chief of Naval Operations and latter to be selected by Secretary Paul Nitze for duty in his immediate office.
Of particular pride to Captain Slaff was his conception and acceptance by the Secretary, of the Navy Marine Corps Retention Task Force. Captain Slaff
was appointed Executive Secretary and the representative of the Navy surface line community. He brought forth his trilogy for the surface combatant officers
viz: A pre-reporting Division Officers School, a qualification program for surface combatant officers and an insignia for those surface combatant officers who
qualified under the qualification program..
Captain Slaff did his graduate work at the Navy Post Graduate School, the Senior Course at the Naval War College, and at the Harvard Business School.
Upon retiring from the Navy in 1970 he received an appointment as a Dean and Member of the Faculty at the Harvard Business School. He served for ten
years on the Harvard Faculty and after he resigned, at Harvard’s invitation, for three additional years as a consultant to the school.
After leaving Harvard, Captain Slaff was Chairman and principle stock holder of a distribution company in Pennsylvania and a high tech company
engaged in electo-optics in New Hampshire. He maintained his business interests in subsequent years by serving on the Boards of Directors of several
corporations. In addition he served on more than a score of other Boards in the political, professional, social, religious, educational, and civic fields. His
club affiliations were myriad and in many of these clubs he served on their Boards and as an officer. In Naples, he was a member of the Board of
Directors of The Port Royal Club, the Port Royal Property Owners Association, the Naples Yacht Club, the Harvard Club, The Forum Club, The Chaine des
Rotisseurs, and Citizens to Preserve Naples Bay. In addition, he was a member of the Royal Poinciana Golf Club. The English Speaking Union, The
U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association of Naples, the Explorers Club of Naples, as a National Fellow of the Explorers Club of the United States, and
Trinity by the Cove Episcopal Church Captain Slaff was a prolific writer, having published numerous magazine articles about the Navy and the sea. In 2004 he published a very successful book “A Sailor’s Story,” which chronicled his exciting and many faceted life.
His wife, Mary Lee, predeceased him in 2012 after a wonderful marriage of 64 years. He is survived by his son Randolph and his daughter Valerie, four
grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Allan Slaff loved his family and friends dearly. He was an American patriot, an American hero, and an American treasure. He will be missed by
many. He lived every day of his life with one guiding mission: “The pursuit of Excellence is man’s greatest endeavor. The attainment of
that Excellence is man’s greatest achievement.” Mission accomplished! BRAVO ZULU
"Captain Slaff will be interned with his wife in our iconic National Cemetery at Arlington Virginia. A short burial service will be held at graveside."