Bruce Linder

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” Ernest Hemingway

The journey for Captain Bruce Richard Linder, USN (ret.) ended with a stroke on his favorite beach Sept. 8, 2021. A beloved husband, father, “grandaddy,” son and uncle; the love for his family, quick wit, unique sideways smiles and thoughtful guidance will not be forgotten. He will be remembered as an outstanding leader, mentor and educator and leaves behind an enduring legacy through his military and community service and dedication to the historical community.

Bruce Linder was an active maritime and naval historian who wrote, lectured, and researched across a wide spectrum of historical topics primarily focused on American history in the Pacific. He published four books; including “San Diego’s Navy” (2001), “Tidewater’s Navy” (2005), “The Navy in San Diego” (2007); and over 200 articles in magazines and journals all over the world. His last book is about the ship that discovered California, “San Salvador: Cabrillo’s Galleon of Discovery.” Starting a tradition of service to local history, Bruce served with the Maritime Museum of San Diego as a guest curator, commentator and lecturer; as well as a faculty member of the museum’s National Endowment of the Humanities nationwide course for educators.

An Annapolis graduate, Bruce commanded a guided missile frigate and two major naval bases as well as a special assignment serving as a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Upon retiring from the Navy, Bruce joined Booz, Allen and Hamilton (management consulting firm) followed by Executive Director of the Coronado Historical Association, dedicating himself to the inspiration, education and preservation of Coronado’s history. While in that role, Bruce developed the popular Wine and Lecture series, was one of the founding members of the Avenue of Heroes program, curated the Inspired! 100 years of Coronado Schools exhibit, and published the article series: Field Guide to Coronado History.

While born in Pensacola, he spent his early life moving back and forth between coasts as a Navy junior. He is a 1967 graduate of Coronado High School, a 1971 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and a 1977 Masters of Oceanography graduate from the University of Michigan.

Bruce served in the Navy proudly for 26 years. Initially assigned to the USS Worden (CG-18) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, Bruce served as Missile Officer. Subsequent tours included duty as Operations Officer on the USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8), Operations Officer and Executive Officer on the USS Elliot (DD-967) and then command of the USS Elrod (FFG-55). Under his command, the USS Elrod was named one of President George HW Bush’s Thousand Points of Light.

He also led several tours ashore, primarily in areas supporting Navy program planning and policy formation; including three tours on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations; speech writer for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations; and Assistant Chief of Staff for warfare requirements, readiness and training on the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

While serving in command of Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, in San Diego, CAPT Linder also assumed command of the Naval Training Center (NTC), holding down both positions simultaneously.  In addition to various campaign, service and unit medals, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, twice.

CAPT Bruce R. Linder is the son of ADM and Mrs. Isham Linder, USN (Ret.). Bruce lives on through his wife of 48 years, Deborah Ann Reynolds; two daughters, Terri Linder Scriven and Kelly Linder Ernst; three grandchildren, Arabella Scriven, Matthew Ernst and Avery Ernst and his father Admiral Linder.

He will remain the compass to guide us.

A memorial service will be held Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 700 D Avenue, in Coronado. The service will be streamed live,, and RSVPs collected for in-person attendance (805-991-7041) due to COVID sensitivities.

Memorial donations may be made in Bruce’s name to the Maritime Museum of San Diego at or the Coronado Historical Association at

To plant a tree in memory of Bruce Linder as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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