Ferdinand J. Schiavi – Navy Official
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Ferdinand J. Schiavi, 91, a retired Navy official who specialized in guided missile launching systems died on March 2 of 2010 at Heritage Park Assisted Living. He had been a resident of Virginia since 1941. He relocated to Carbondale, Colorado in 2009.
Ferd, who was born in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, worked at the Navy Department Bureau of Ordnance Research and Development Division. During World War II he worked on the design of anti-aircraft guns and mounts. In 1947, he began work on shipboard missile launching systems for the Terrier, Talos and Tarter anti-aircraft guided missile launching systems. From 1950 to 1955, he was the Project Manager for the first anti-aircraft missile launching systems introduced into the Fleet with the conversion of the cruisers USS Boston and USS Canberra.
In 1954, he received the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award for having conceived the basic mechanism and configuration of a widely used launcher for guided missiles. He joined the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program at its onset and was involved in the initial research for the submarine-launched Polaris Missile. In 1958, he was selected as the Bureau’s Research and Development Chief Engineer for Operations.
He served on a number of study groups, one of which in 1959 resulted in the merger of the Bureau of Aeronautics and the Bureau of Ordnance into the Bureau of Naval Weapons. Ferd was designated the Director of the Engineering Division. In July of 1964, he was a Navy member on a Reliability and Maintainability study for the President’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Military Aircraft Panel. In 1965, as the Department of the Navy changed from a Bureau structure to a Command structure, he was again called upon to assist in the planning of the Naval Ordnance System Command.
He was appointed Executive Director and Chief Engineer for the Technical and Systems Engineering Office of the Naval Ordnance Systems Command. In 1972, he became the Executive Office of the Logistics Support Division. In October 1972, while off the coast of Vietnam, the cruiser USS Newport News suffered a gun turret explosion in which 19 men died; Schiavi chaired the Material Review Board that established the cause of the accident. He retired in June 1973, after 32 years of service.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Navy Federal Credit Union from 1954 to 1968 and was President in 1967 and 1968. During his tenure, the field of membership was expanded from the Navy Department, Washington D.C. area to Navy personnel worldwide.
In 1974, Ferd joined VSE Corporation where he was responsible for the Engineering Division Program Management. He left in 1984 as a Senior Vice President. He then went with the Jonathan Corporation, Norfolk, Virginia, a Navy ship overhaul and modernization company as the Technical Manager of their Washington, D.C. office and retired in 1995.
Schiavi held several launching system patents. He attended Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, and the residential program of the Federal Executive Institute. He was a member of the American Society of Naval Engineers and the Washington Society of Financial Analysts.
His wife, Barbara Kendall Schiavi, and daughters, Mary K. Schiavi and Patricia S. Kendall preceded him in death. He is survived by his daughter Kathleen M. Schiavi of Carbondale, Colorado; three grandchildren, Jeffrey Haight (Cathi), Hayley and Beau Harris, and two great grandchildren, Ivy and Ethan Haight.
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