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Albert Read

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Albert Read

"Albert Read" redirects here. For other uses, see Albert Read (disambiguation).
Albert Cushing Read
Albert Cushing Read
Born (1887-03-29)March 29, 1887
Lyme, New Hampshire
Died October 10, 1967(1967-10-10) (aged 80)
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1907 - 1946
Rank Rear Admiral
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
NC-4 Medal

Albert Cushing "Putty" Read (March 29, 1887 - October 10, 1967) was an aviator and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.


Read was born in Lyme, New Hampshire into a Boston Brahmin family. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in the Class of 1907. In 1915, he was designated Naval Aviator No. 24.

As a Lt. Commander in May 1919, Read commanded a crew of five on the NC-4 Curtiss flying boat, the first aircraft ever to make a transatlantic flight, eight years before Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo, non-stop flight, and a couple of weeks before Alcock and Brown's non stop flight. Read's flight started from Rockaway Beach, Long Island, took 23 days before arriving in Plymouth, England. The six stops included layovers at Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, the Azores, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Later in 1919, upon returning to the U.S., Read predicted: "It soon will be possible to drive an airplane around the world at a height of 60,000 feet and 1,000 miles per hour." The next day, The New York Times ran an editorial in reaction, stating: "It is one thing to be a qualified aviator, and quite another to be a qualified prophet. Nothing now known supports the Lieutenant Commander’s forecast. An airplane at the height of 60,000 feet would be whirling its propellers in a vacuum, and no aviator could live long in the freezing cold of interstellar space."

In 1929, Read and the rest of the flight crew of NC-4 were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.[1]

Read trained naval aviators through World War II. He was nicknamed "Putty Read" because his face rarely showed any emotion.[2]

He died in retirement in Coconut Grove, Florida in 1967,[3] and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[4]

See also


  • Cunningham, Charlie and Jackie. Putty and Bess. Alexandria,VA: Association of Naval Aviation, 1997.
  • Albert Read on Arlington Cemetery site
  • Albert C. Read and the NC-4 on early aviators site
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt(standing on right) on June 30, 1919

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