A short biography of William Lowndes Calhoun,
(13 July 1884 - 19 October 1963)
USNA (Fla.) 1906 (13/116)
Vice Admiral Calhoun was a good friend of Dad's during the war, ever since
the incident with the Admiral's war room door.
Calhoun held an important post in the Pacific war effort, so he must have been
a competent officer or he'd have been replaced. But personally, he appears
to have been more than a little eccentric! Senile, as Dad puts it.
says that Admiral Calhoun was "[t]he premier logistics
commander of the war in the Pacific." When my father heard that
description, his comment was "He must have had a cracker-jack staff!"
Since we're mainly interested in ADM Calhoun during WWII, I'll be
brief on his career up to that time.
From the reference:
- Graduated 13th in a class of 116 from the US Naval Academy in 1906.
- 1906-1913: Served as ordnance officer aboard Chattanooga (C-16),
New Jersey (BB-12), and Maryland (ACR-8)
- 1913-1915: Inspecting ordnance and instructing naval militia
in the Connecticut area.
- 1915-1917: Training in, serving on, and fitting out submarines and monitors:
Columbia (C-12), Tonopah (BM-8), Cheyenne (BM-10),
and the submarine L-7 (SS-46).
- 1917: Inspecting naval machinery contractors in the Los Angles
and San Francisco area. Instructing naval militia in LA and Santa Barbara.
Commanded the militia training ship Farragut (TB-11).
- 1918: Commanded Submarine Flotilla One, Atlantic War Zone.
Also took over the sub base and naval air station in the Panama Canal Zone.
- 1919: Became the award winning gunnery officer
on the Mississippi (BB-41).
- 1921-1923: Inspector of Ordnance at Mare Island,
and was the commanding officer of the destroyer Young (DD-300),
which was wrecked in 1923 at Point Honda, CA, "the responsibility
for which he was exonerated." [From the Refernece]
- 1923-1925: Attached to the destroyer tender Melville (AD-2)
and the battership Maryland (BB-46).
- 1925-1927: Mare Island ordnance inspector, again.
- 1927-1929: As commander of Destroyer Division 31, pennant aboard
Farragut (DD-300), he won efficiency awards in both oceans.
- 1929-1930: Took the senior course at the Naval War College,
and headed the Navigation Department and the Naval Academy.
- 1932-1933: Captain Calhoun commanded the old armored
cruiser Rochester (ACR-2) in cruise with the Yangtze Patrol.
- 1937: Briefly commanding officer of the California (BB-44).
- 1938: Chief of Staff to Commander Battleships.
Promoted to Rear Admiral.
"Admiral Calhoun, after attending the advanced course at the Naval War college,
in December 1939 became Commander Base Force, U.S. Fleet (changed to Base
Force, Pacific Fleet, in February 1941), with additional
duty from August 1941 as Commander Train Squadron Two.
With the beginning of hostilities in the Pacific, he became Command Service Force
Pacific Fleet in the rank of vice admiral and in which capacity he successfully
directed, from Pearl Harbor, the entire logistics effort (except for
aviation) in the war against Japan, including the revolutionary and
crucial at-sea replenishment squadrons. In March 1945 Calhoun transferred
to command the backwater south Pacific Area, the logistics of which he had
personally established during the trying Guadalcanal campaign of late 1942.
Relieved in October, he spent several months as Inspector General of
the Navy and then General Inspector of the Western Sea Frontier,
retiring in April 1946. He was advanced to full admiral in January 1954."
Oh, yes. Much later, about 1960, we found that our neighbor's brother
(also an admiral) had known, or known of, Admiral Calhoun. ADM Beardall said
that Calhoun also had the nickname of "Windy Bill." From Dad's descriptions, it fits!
Here's a mini-index to the Admiral Calhoun stories:
Famous American Admirals,
by Clark G. Reynolds,
Van Norstrand Reinhold Company,
1978. ISBN 0-442-26068-7
Hawaii Stories Index
Bill Innanen's Home Page
Bill Innanen's Guest Book