The Undersea &
Hyperbaric Medical Society is sad to inform you that Dr. Christian Lambertsen,
MD has passed away at the age of 94. He was one of the six individuals
responsible for forming, the then, Undersea Medical Society on April 10, 1967.
Dr. Lambertsen, as the only civilian, as the other were all US Navy Officers,
was given the job of writing its constitution and was a member of the first
Executive Committee. The first annual meeting of the Society followed on May 8,
1968 with 88 charter members. There are few who will not have known Chris
Lambertsen in the first 30 years of the Society. Below is a brief background for
the more recent members.
Dr. Christian J. Lambertsen
UMS Founding Father, Rebreather Development
"The Father of U.S. Combat Swimming"
Died February 11, 2011 at age of 94
Lambertsen, M.D., D.Sc. (Hon): Dr. Christian J. Lambertsen received a B.S.
Degree from Rutgers University in 1938 and a M.D. Degree from the University of
Pennsylvania in 1943 During his medical school period, he invented and first
used forms of the initial U.S. self-contained closed circuit oxygen rebreathing
apparatus, for neutral buoyancy underwater swimming and diving. As a student, he
aided the early Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in establishing the first
cadres of U.S. military operational combat swimmers. Dr. Lambertsen became a
U.S. Army medical officer on graduation from medical school in early 1943, and
immediately joined the O.S.S. Maritime Unit on active duty through its period of
function in World War II. He joined the University of Pennsylvania Medical
Faculty in 1946, and became Professor of Pharmacology in 1952. While a faculty
member he combined diving research and further underwater rebreathing equipment
developments for the Army and Navy. In 1967 he served as Founding President of
the Undersea Medical Society (now Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.) Dr.
Lambertsen is recognized by the Naval Special Warfare community as “The Father
of U.S. Combat Swimming.” His hand has touched every aspect of military and
commercial diving. Dr. Lambertsen’s active contributions to diving began during
WWII and became even more progressive in the post-war period through the
evolutions of the U.S. Navy Deep Submergence and Naval Special Warfare
Those who would
like to send condolences may send them to:
The Lambertsen Family
c/o Chris Lambertsen
3500 West Chester Pike, Suite 129
Newtown Square, PA 19073-4101
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