- Leahy, William Daniel
U.S. 5* Fleet Admiral, Chief of Staff.
- 06-05-1875, Hampton, Iowa.
- 20-07-1959, old age, 84, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Arlington Cemetery, Virginia USA. Section 2-Grave 932 WH.
William Leahy, born 06-05-1975 in Hampton, Iowa, was assigned to USS Oregon, then in the Pacific. He was in that battleship when she made her famous dash around the horn in the Spring of 1898 to participate in the battle of Santiago on July 3.Having completed the two years' sea duty, then required by law, he was commissioned Ensign on 01-07-1899. At that time, he was on the Asiatic Station, where, during the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer uprising in China, he served in USS Castine, USS Glacier and commanded the gunboat USS Mariveles. He returned to the United States in 1902, and for the next five years did duty in USS Tacoma and USS Boston which was stationed in Panama during the early period of construction of the canal. His first shore cruise was at the Naval Academy. Beginning in 1907, he served as instructor in the Department of Physics and Chemistry for two years. He went to sea in 1909 and served as navigator of the armed cruiser USS California in the Pacific Fleet. During the American Occupation of Nicaragua in 1912, he was Chief of Staff to the Commander Naval Forces there.Late in 1912, he came ashore in Washington as Assistant Director of Gunnery Exercises and Engineering Competitions. In 1913, he was assigned to the Bureau of Navigation as a detail officer where he served until 1915. At that time, he took command of the dispatch gunboat USS Dolphin, and established a very close friendship with the then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt (see Roosevelt), who cruised with him on the ship. When he returned to the U.S. and from 1923 to 1926, he served as Director of Officer Personnel in the Bureau of Navigation, and then had one year in command of the battleship USS New Mexico. In 1927, he reached flag rank and became Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. After almost four years, he went to sea in 1931 as Commander Destroyers Scouting Force.He was appointed Chief of Naval Operations, took the oath of office in January 1937 to serve until August 1939 when he was placed on the retired list. On that occasion, President Roosevelt said "Bill, if we have a war, you're going to be right back here helping me run it. "Immediately following his retirement, Admiral Leahy was assigned the duties of Governor of Puerto Rico in September 1939. He served in that capacity until November 1940 when he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to France where he served from January 1941 until recalled in May 1942. In July of that year, he was called back to active duty as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Army and Navy, the President of the United States. As such, he presided over the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, when our country was host, over the combined Chiefs. In December 1944, he accepted the appointment and was confirmed as the newly created rank of Fleet Admiral. Leahy died at the U.S Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, 20-07-1959 at the age of eighty-four. He was given a Special Military Funeral on the following July 23rd The body of Leahy was viewed at the Bethlehem Chapel at the Washington National Cathedral from July 22 at noon until noon on the 23rd The funeral service was held in the cathedral at 1400 on July 23rd and the burial with his wife Louise, born Harrington, who died age 60 in 1942, was in Arlington National Cemetery. The gravesite was in Section 2, about midway between Memorial Gate and the Memorial Amphitheater. Honorary pallbearers were Fleet Admiral Chester W Nimitz (see Nimitz), Admiral Thomas C Hart (see Hart), Admiral Charles P Snyder, Admiral Louis E Denfeld (see Denfeld), Admiral Arthur W Radford (see Radford), Vice Admiral Edward L Cochrane (see Cochrane) and Rear Admiral Henry Williams all retired from service. Active military servicemen who were honorary pallbearers were Admiral Jerauld Wright, Admiral Robert L Dennison. Rear Adm. Joseph H. Wellings, and a close friend William D. Hassett. Close by in Section 2 the graves the Generals Edward Almond (see Almond), Frederick Anderson (see Anderson), Frederic Bell (see Bell), William Blandy (see Blandy), Clovis Byers (see Beyers), Robert Carney (see Carney) and Claire Chennault (see Chennault).