Notable People

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Rear Admiral Arnold I. Sobel


Chicago industrialist Arnold I. Sobel was born on August 14, 1914, at Chicago, Ill., and graduated from New Trier High School at Winnetka, Ill., in 1932 and then attended the University of Michigan for two years.

In civilian life Sobel rose from laborer trainee in May 1936 to Vice President in charge of marine operations at the Material Service division of General Dynamics Corp., Chicago.  After 31 years of association, he left that post in July 1967 to take his present positions as Vice President of Henry Crown and Company, Chicago, and Chairman of the Executive Committee and Director of the Great Lakes Towing Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

He entered the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve with a commission as Lieutenant (jg) on May 2, 1942, during World War II.  His first war-time assignment was as Assistant Captain of the Port of Chicago for seven months, followed by a brief stint as Captain of the Port of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  From June 9143 to February 1954, he served first as Executive Officer and then as Commanding Officer of LST 24 in the amphibious landings at Guam, Morotai and Leyte in the Pacific.  During the closing months of the war and until August 1946, he served as Executive Officer of the cargo ship USS Eridanus (AK-92) with the Pacific Amphibious Forces.

While returning to his civilian post, he still maintained a commission in the Reserve.  He commanded a Voluntary Training Unit (No. 9-2) in Chicago from July 1949 to December 1950.   At that time he established and then commanded the Coast guard Organized Reserve Training Unit (ORTAUG 09-592) at the Naval Armory, Evanston, Ill., until June 1953.

Since then he has served continuously in Coast Guard Reserve activities, and is presently commanding a Coast Guard training unit at the armed Forces Training Center, Forest Park, Ill.  In addition to various two-week periods of active duty aboard ship, he has attended the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., and the National War College, Washington, D.C.

During the summer of 1967, the five units of the Coast Guard Reserve in the Chicago area were mobilized for a simulated Port Security exercise.  The Coast Guard Cutter Courier was sent in to serve as the operating base.  CAPT John Natwig, USCG, the regular Captain of the Port of Chicago commended the exercise while the then CAPT Sobel served as his counterpart for the Reserve.

RADM Sobel advanced in rank from Lieutenant (jg), May 2, 1942, to Lieutenant, January 29, 1943; Lieut. Commander, July 20, 1945; Commander, November 24, 1952; Captain, February 1, 1962.  By nomination of the President on November 28, 1967, and subsequent approval of the Senate, he was promoted to Rear Admiral in the Reserve to rank from January 1, 1968.

His World War II campaign service medals and ribbons include the following: American Area, American Defense, Asiatic-Pacific (with three combat stars); Philippine Liberation (with two stars); World War II Victory.  He also has the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

Active in waterway organizations for many years, RADM Sobel has served as President of the Illinois River Carriers’ Association, President of the Propeller Club, Port of Chicago, and as former President and now as Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Valley Association.  He holds memberships on the Harbor & Waterways Committee, Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, the Western Rivers Panel, and in the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

His hobbies are fly fishing and sailing.  He is a member of the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club.

RADM Sobel’s wife is the former Bette K. of Manistee, Mich.  They have two sons, Michael A. and James D.

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