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Subject: E.J. Carroll, 79, Antinuclear Admiral

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Date Posted: March 04, 2003 12:26:10 EDT

Eugene J. Carroll Jr., a retired rear admiral of the Navy who became an outspoken expert witness for opponents of nuclear weapons, high military budgets and new armaments, died on Feb. 19 in Washington. He was 79.

The cause was a heart attack, said his wife, Margaret. He lived in Alexandria, Va.

As deputy director of the Center for Defense Information, a research and lobbying organization, after he retired from the Navy in 1980, he criticized missile defense as counterproductive, the military budget as uncontrollable and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons as ludicrous.

In speeches to peace organizations, at academic conferences and before Congressional committees, he often used dramatic language and personal criticism, upbraiding President Bush as having "sat out the Vietnam War" and saying that the Reagan administration's calling the MX missile a peacekeeper was "like calling the guillotine a headache remedy."

When President Ronald Reagan went to Moscow in June 1988 to reduce tension in meetings with Soviet leaders, Admiral Carroll pointed out the apparent contradiction that the president was followed by a military officer carrying a case with the codes to authorize a nuclear attack.

Recently, Admiral Carroll was a vocal critic of a possible war with Iraq, saying an invasion was doomed to a disaster comparable to that of the Bay of Pigs.

Eugene James Carroll Jr. was born in Miami, Ariz., on Dec. 2, 1923. When he was 6 months old, his family moved to Long Beach, Calif., and later to East Los Angeles. He graduated from George Washington University and then earned a master's degree in international relations there.

He joined the Navy in 1945 and flew Skyraider dive bombers from an aircraft carrier during the Korean War, eventually commanding two Skyraider attack squadrons. In the Vietnam War, he commanded an amphibious assault ship and the aircraft carrier Midway.

He was later the first naval officer to serve as director of American military forces in Europe, where he was responsible for 7,000 nuclear weapons. He came to the conclusion that the weapons could never defend Europe, and was troubled when the United States wanted to augment them with neutron bombs, Pershing II missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles.

"It is from these up close and personal experiences that I came to understand that nuclear weapons are truly unusable, worthless for any rational military purpose," he wrote in an article in The Turtle River Press, a newspaper devoted to spiritual concerns.

Margaret Carroll said she could not remember exactly when or why her husband decided the military was drifting in directions that he considered wrongheaded and dangerous. She mentioned his uneasiness about carrying a bomb in his airplane that could kill 600,000 people in a Soviet city that was not particularly important as a military target, an example he used in many speeches.

His final assignment was as a planner of military policy and operations in the Pentagon. He helped devise complex scenarios for conventional or nuclear warfare.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Dennis, of Alexandria.

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