It was in the chaos of World War II when a young man from a tiny town – Mounds, Ill., population: 800 – enlisted in the Navy. Edward Travers was just 17.For the next 41 years, he served with honor, distinguishing himself as a man of integrity and eventually rising to the rank of Vice Admiral. “He was as proud of the white hat he got when he enlisted,” says his son, Ed, Jr. “as the white hat he got when he became an Admiral.”
Travers was proud of his status as a “mustang,” an enlisted man who becomes a commissioned officer. He served in World War II on a Pacific Fleet aircraft carrier, and was later assigned to submarine duty, serving on the USS Razorback, USS Argonaut, and USS Hawkbill, and he commanded the USS Spikefish in 1960.
“World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis – he was there for all of it,” his son says. “During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dad was commanding the USS Spikefish, and they got the order to stand down. But my Dad said, ‘This is a United States Navy submarine. We never stand down. We always stand ready.’’”
After serving as Commander, Submarine Squadron 82, Travers attended the Industrial College for the Armed Forces, and earned a Master of Science degree in business administration from George Washington University. After that, he served in several budget and logistics assignments, and as Vice Chief of Navy Material, from 1980 – 1983 before retiring.
Ed Jr., his brothers, and his mom accompanied Travers to duty stations around the world where his father served. “It wasn’t just the Navy that my Dad valued. Family was important too. “I remember Dad coming home for 48 hours to be there for my wedding,” his son says, “then it was back to Vietnam.”
During his service, Travers always advocated for Sailors and their families, pushing for medical care, housing, day care, and more. “Coming up through the ranks,” his son says, “there were times when we called on the Society for help. My Dad was very aware of the challenges military families face.”
So, once he retired from the Navy, it was natural for Travers to become President of the Navy Relief Society, where he had the vision to add “Marine Corps” to the name.
In 1991, to recognize his hands-on leadership and commitment to service, the Society’s Board of Directors honored Edward by creating the Vice Admiral E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program. Because of this special program, Navy and Marine Corps children have the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve, just as Admiral Travers did. So far, more than 21,000 recipients have received $47 million in educational assistance through the Travers Scholarship and Loan Program.
This is the difference Admiral Travers made in people’s lives. With a gift in a will, trust, or from an insurance account, you can help sustain this program and other Society programs that will help Sailors, Marines, and their families for generations to come.
“That’s what my Dad was all about,” his son says. “Be prepared and always stand ready.” This is the legacy of service that you honor and uphold with your generous support for the Society. Admiral Travers would be proud.
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso