Admiral William Floyd Bringle, a highly decorated aviator who commanded naval air forces in Europe and the Pacific in World War II, died on March 19 at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. He was 85 and lived in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Admiral Bringle, who was born in Covington, Tenn., graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1937 and completed flight training at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., in 1940. He was a dive bomber pilot and a squadron commander in the invasion of Italy in 1943 and southern France in 1944, and later took part in the landings on Leyte Island in the Philippines and on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
He was awarded the Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor for valor, as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with five gold stars and the Croix de Guerre.
In 1953, after serving as an aide to the superintendent of the Naval Academy, he returned to sea as the executive officer of the aircraft carrier Hornet. In the early stages of the Vietnam War, Admiral Bringle commanded Carrier Division 7, a part of the Pacific Fleet whose fighter-bombers raided enemy targets in South Vietnam and North Vietnam. He then commanded the air forces of the Seventh Fleet, which saw combat as part of the Pacific Fleet, and later led the air forces of the Pacific Fleet, which comprised nine aircraft carriers, 1,600 combat and support aircraft and 85,000 military and civilian personnel.
Admiral Bringle received his fourth star in 1971 and became chief of United States naval forces in Europe before retiring in 1974.
After his retirement he spent several years in Britain working for two aircraft companies, Grumman International and Lear Siegler.
Admiral Bringle is survived by his wife of 60 years, Donnie Godwin Bringle; a daughter, Lynn Riegle of Thompsons Station, Tenn., and a son, Donald G., of San Diego.
© 1998 by Neil Mishalov
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