North High Polar Bears North High School Wall of Honor
Robert Warren Niffenegger
Would have graduated Class of January, 1948
Joined US Navy in October, 1950

Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.

Robert Warren Niffenegger
Bob would have graduated from North High in January, 1948, but he left early. At the time, his next of kin was Mr. and Mrs.Warren Vernon Niffenegger, 1602 22nd Street, Des Moines, IA. His service number was 3236627.
Robert Warren Niffenegger
Year   Rank   Status
January, 1948   Graduated x Would have graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
Mar 15, 1950-Oct.15,1950 x Employment x Reed's Ice Cream, Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA
October 24, 1950 x Enlisted/
US Navy
x Enlisted in the US Navy at downtown *Old Federal Court House, Des Moines, IA. Single at the time of enlistment.
date x US Navy x Train from Des Moines to San Diego?
August, 1946 x Basic Training/
x **San Diego Naval Training Center. Twelve weeks.
date x Training x ***To Port Hueneme Naval Construction Battalion Center (Channel Islands, CA)
date x Enroute x ****USS Norton Sound (AVM-1). Foreign duty for one year, nine months, six days.
April 16, 1952 x Enroute x Promoted to AMS3 (Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class).
August 26, 1952 x US Navy/
Rank; AMS3
x Discharged at US Naval Receiving Station, San Diego, CA
June 22, 1954 x Family x Married Sally VanCleave at Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines
1952-1985 x Employment x Retired from Bridgestone Firestone after 33 years of service
1955 x Residence x City Directory shows residence as 3719 3rd Street in the Highland Park area
1993-2002 x Residence x City Directory shows residence at 4041 43rd Street in Des Moines
bef October 23, 2010 x Residence x Johnston, IA
October 23, 2010 x Deceased x In Des Moines, IA
aft October 23, 2010 x Burial x Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, IA; Block: J Section: Lot 01650
San Diego Unit. He was assigned to the USS Norton Sound (AVM-1) . His service number was 3236627. Bob is located in the second row up, the third in from the right side.
(left) about 1951
Click here for photo enlargement
Old Federal Court House, Des Moines, IA
*Old Federal Court House
Des Moines, IA
**Naval Training Center, San Diego Foreign duty.Where?
****USS Norton Sound (AVM-1)
USS Norton Sound (AVM-1) Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2)
Bottom Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal
***Port Hueneme, Channel Islands, CA
Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) is a United States Navy base located near Oxnard, California. The base was formed in 2000 through the merger of Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme. NBVC is a diverse installation comprising three main facilities—Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island—and serving as an all-in-one mobilization site, deep water port, railhead, and airfield. NBVC supports more than 100 tenant commands with a base population of more than 19,000 personnel, making it the largest employer in Ventura County.

The facility at Port Hueneme was built as a temporary depot in the early days of World War II to train, stage, and supply the newly created Seabees. The base was officially established and began operating May 18, 1942 as the Advance Base Depot. In 1945 the Advance Base Depot was renamed the Naval Construction Battalion Center.

During the Korean War, almost all Navy construction equipment and supplies for the war were routed through CBC Port Hueneme.

****USS Norton Sound (AVM-1)

USS Norton Sound (AV-11/AVM-1) was originally built as a Currituck-class seaplane tender by Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, San Pedro, California. She was named for Norton Sound, a large inlet in West Alaska, between the Seward Peninsula and the mouths of the Yukon, north-east of the Bering Sea.[

After Pacific shakedown, the new seaplane tender stood out from San Diego 26 February 1945 and steamed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She reported to Commander, Marshall-Gilbert Area for training in mid-March, and she arrived Saipan 1 April 1945 to provide seaplane tending services.

Norton Sound anchored 1 May 1945 at Aka Kaikyo, Kerama Retto, and by 21 June 1945 had assisted in downing three hostile air raiders. Air alerts continued until midnight, 14 August 1945. Word of the Japanese surrender arrived eight hours later, and into September the tender engaged in upkeep and air operations at Okinawa.

She steamed for Sasebo, Japan 21 September 1945, returning to Okinawa one week later. Norton Sound called at Shanghai, China 1 October 1945, and by the 23rd of that month she was at Tsingtao, where she tended seaplanes until 7 November 1945. The next day she anchored at Shanghai, and from then until April 1946, she remained on duty with the occupation forces between China and Japan.

Norton Sound departed Tokyo Bay 7 April 1946 for Norfolk, Virginia. After overhaul there she joined the Atlantic Fleet. She operated off the east coast until October 1947, when she steamed for San Diego to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.

Norton Sound received two battle stars for World War II service.

Later Norton Sound was converted to a missile-launching platform. She was in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1948 for seven months while equipment was installed for handling, stowing, launching, and controlling guided missiles.

Upon completion of her modifications in October 1948, Norton Sound steamed for her new homeport of Port Hueneme, California. En route she conducted tests with Skyhook balloons. Off the coast of Southern California she underwent a missile training program. Late that Autumn Norton Sound launched a training missile, marking the beginning of the Navy’s use of shipborne guided missiles.

After launching equipment for Aerobee rockets was installed[2] at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in February 1949, she steamed to equatorial waters off the South American coast and launched two Aerobees. These launchings provided information on the earth’s radiation belt.

On 1 July 1949, Norton Sound headed for the geomagnetic equator 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south of Hawaii, and conducted tests with seventeen Skyhook balloons and nine smaller balloon clusters, all carrying scientific instrumentation packages.

After modifications in February and March 1950 at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Norton Sound launched a five-ton Viking rocket 11 May in Project Reach. This rocket carried a 500-pound instrumentation package to an altitude of 106.4 miles (171 km), and provided data on cosmic rays. Project "Reach" concluded the first phase of Norton Sound's use as a missile platform.

In the fall of 1950 Norton Sound underwent a four-month overhaul at San Francisco Naval Shipyard. New Terrier missile handling, launching, stowage, and guidance systems were installed, and she was reclassified AVM-1 on 8 August 1951. This was the first of three extensive alterations accomplished through 1955. Test launchings of Terrier and Tartar missiles continued through 1958.

NOTE: A helicopter deck forward was fitted during the initial conversion in 1948 and removed in 1957. Also, in early 1950, the USS Norton Sound participated in the Aerobee cold weather trials.
Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, IA

US Navy Seal

<br>USS Norton Sound; patch 1<br>

Uss Norton Sound; patch 4
Robert Warren Niffenegger
Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class
9th Naval District
US Navy

Robert Warren Niffenegger

USS Norton Sound

US Navy Insignia

USS Norton Sound; patch 3

Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class

WWII Victory Medal

WWII Victory Medal
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Robert Warren Niffenegger's 1948 class page can be viewed at
Robet Warren Niffenegger
Died: October 23, 2010.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh" by the U.S Navy Band
Home | Back/allyears | WWI | WWII | Korea | Vietnam | Afghanistan/Iraq | Lyrics | Refs/Awards | Contact

©2023-csheddgraphics All rights reserved.
All images and content are © copyright of their respective copyright owners.