In Memoriam: Rear Admiral Albert Eugene “Al” Rieder, U.S. Naval Reserve (Ret.)

Feb. 25, 2022 | By By Sam Cox (Rear Adm. USN, Ret.), Director, Naval History and Heritage Command
It is with deep regret I inform you of the passing of Rear Admiral Albert Eugene “Al” Rieder, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired) on 17 January 2022 at age 87. Rear Admiral Rieder enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1952 and served as a surface line officer until his retirement in 1989 as Commander, Naval Base Philadelphia. His commands included Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center Lansing, USS Steinaker (DD-863,) USS Bryce Canyon (AD-36,) and Naval Surface Reserve Force. He was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for service with River Assault Flotilla ONE (RIVAFLOT 1) in Vietnam. 
 
Al Rieder enlisted in the Selected Reserve–U.S. Naval Reserve on 4 November 1952. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1956, he reported for active duty on 15 October 1956. On 27 February 1958, he was honorably discharged. The next day he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Reserve and continued on active duty, reporting to Naval Schools Command, Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, for duty under instruction. He was commissioned an ensign via Officer Candidate School on 1 March 1957.
 
In April 1957, Ensign Rieder reported to the Long Beach-based destroyer USS Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752,) serving as damage control assistant, first lieutenant and weapons officer for two Western Pacific deployments, escorting Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and Shangri-La (CVA-38.) He was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) in September 1958. In February 1960, Lieutenant (j.g.) Rieder reported to Service Schools Command, Naval Training Center (NTC,) San Diego, and then Recruit Training Command, NTC San Diego, where he served as battalion commander and receiving and outfitting officer. He was promoted to lieutenant in March 1961. 
 
In January 1962, Lieutenant Rieder reported to the Army Language School, Presidio of Monterey, for Russian language training. In January 1963, he was assigned to the National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, as an intelligence research analyst. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in October 1965. 
 
In January 1966, Lieutenant Commander Rieder reported to the Naval Amphibious School, Coronado, California, for duty under instruction. In March 1966, he reported to attack transport USS Bexar (APA-237) as she was transiting the Pacific en route Vietnam, serving as navigator, first lieutenant and operations officer. Bexar made multiple transits between the West Coast, Okinawa, and Korea, transporting U.S. Marines, including disembarking Marine reinforcements in Da Nang to counter the Communist Tet offensive in early 1968. Bexar subsequently supported River Assault Flotilla ONE, which was conducting riverine operations at Vung Tao in the Mekong Delta. Rieder was awarded at least one Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and entitled to wear the Naval Unit Commendation for RIVAFLOT 1.
 
In May 1968, Lieutenant Commanser Rieder assumed command of the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, Lansing, Michigan. He was promoted to commander in January 1971. In July 1971, he reported to the Damage Control Training Center, Philadelphia, before assuming duty in August 1971 as executive officer of fleet oiler USS Mississinewa (AO-144), deploying to the Mediterranean from her homeport of Newport, RI. In August 1973, Commander Rieder was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, DC, as assistant of Support Activities, Fleet Command Support Branch, in Officer Detailing.
 
In December 1976, Commander Rieder assumed command of destroyer USS Steinaker (DD-863,) in Destroyer Squadron TEN, Naval Reserve Forces, with a homeport in Baltimore, Maryland, serving as a training ship for reserves. He was promoted to captain in August 1978. 
 
In December 1978, Captain Rieder reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as assistant director, Naval Reserve Plans, Policy and Programs Division (OP-09R22.) In April 1979, he reported to the Bureau of Naval Personnel for duty under instruction before assuming command of destroyer tender USS Bryce Canyon (AD-36) in September 1979, homeported in Pearl Harbor. Captain Rieder was the last commanding officer of Bryce Canyon. In July 1981, Rieder reported to the Naval Military Personnel Command as assistant commander for Naval Reserve, with additional duty to the Office of the CNO as special assistant for Naval Reserve Matters. In March 1984, he was designated a rear admiral (lower half) for duty in a billet commensurate with that rank.
 
In February 1985, Rear Admiral (lower half) Rieder assumed command of the Naval Surface Reserve Force. He was promoted to rear admiral (lower half) on 1 September 1985. He was promoted to rear admiral (two-star) on 1 September 1987 and assumed command of Naval Base Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rear Admiral Rieder retired on 1 September 1989.
 
Rear Admiral Rieder’s awards include the Legion of Merit (four awards); Navy Commendation Medal (three awards, at least one with Combat “V”); Naval Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Gallantry Cross Color; and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device. 
 
I can find no information on what Rear Admiral Rieder did after retiring from active duty. 
Services at Arlington National Cemetery will be held 30 June 2022 (1045 mass at Fort Myer Old Post Chapel and 1130 graveside). 
 
Although Rear Admiral Rieder was in what was then called the U.S. Naval Reserve (now U.S. Navy Reserve), he remained on active duty for his entire career. Many of his assignments focused on the training and readiness of reserves, while others included seamless integration into active forces, including combat in the Vietnam War. He also demonstrated considerable versatility, such as learning Russian and working in what was then the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA—also known as “No Such Agency”), going wherever the Navy needed him, to include unglamorous troop transport, oiler, and a destroyer tender at the end of her service life. Nevertheless, he excelled in all assignments. His highly effective but humane leadership style had deep impact on those who worked for him, as indicated by comments from former crewmen on his obituary page. Rear Admiral Rieder’s chosen path required great sacrifice on the part of his family, but truly made a difference to our Navy and nation. He served with great dedication and distinction, and he will be missed. 
 
Rest in Peace, Admiral Rieder.