Felix Xerxes Gygax was born March 30, 1884, in Hancock Township, Osborne County, Kansas. After failing to join the United States Military Academy, Gygax obtained an appointment to join the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1903. After graduating in 1906 he was assigned to the U.S.S. Kearsag, which was part of the Great White Fleet organized by Theodore Roosevelt. In 1909 Gygax was assigned to the U.S.S. Minnesota. Gygax married Estelle Ise November 16, 1911, and they had two sons. A week after his wedding Gygax became a naval inspector in Winterthur, Switzerland, and while he was stationed in Switzerland he was appointed as a naval attaché in Bern.
In 1920 Gygax returned to the U.S. to become the first officer in charge of the submarine school in New London, Connecticut, and he helped establish a submarine base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Gygax was appointed admiral and in 1933 he became a professor of naval science and tactics at the University of California at Berkley. In 1942 Gygax became the commandant of the First Naval District in Boston, Massachusetts, and later the Norfolk Naval Yard.
On August 1, 1946, Gygax retired from the military after being awarded the Legion of Merit and Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Gygax died February 24, 1977, in San Diego, California and is buried with full honors at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Entry: Gygax, Felix
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
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