Blandy, William Henry Purnell “Spike”.

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Blandy, William Henry Purnell “Spike”, born on 28-06-1890 in New York City, the son of Charles G Blandy and Elizabeth Harwood Blandy. William graduated first in his class from the United States Naval Academy

in 1913, age 23. He participated in the occupation of Veracruz, Mexico in 1914 and served on board the battleship Florida (BB-30)   with the British Grand Fleet during World War I. During World War II he was Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance from 1941 to 1943. Here he had a controversial role in the infamous torpedo scandal involving the initially practically useless Mark 14 torpedo, and the long delays incurred on the work testing and launching the electric Mark 18 torpedo.

The Mark 14 torpedo was the United States Navy’s standard submarine-launched anti-ship torpedo of World War II. This weapon was plagued with many problems which crippled its performance early in the war. It was supplemented by the Mark 18 electric torpedo in the last two years of the war. From December 1941 to November 1943 the Mark 14 and the destroyer-launched Mark 15 torpedo had numerous technical problems that took almost two years to fix. After the fixes, the Mark 14 played a major role in the devastating blow U.S. Navy submarines dealt to the Japanese naval and merchant marine forces during the Pacific War.

By the end of World War II, the Mark 14 torpedo was a reliable weapon ultimately remaining in service for almost 40 years in the U.S. Navy, and even longer with other navies.

In December 1943 William became Commander, Group 1, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet, and commanded the pre-invasion bombardment group during the campaign for Iwo Jima.known to friends as ” Spike Blandy was most known for overseeing the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Island in the Pacific Ocean.  One of Blandy’s pronouncements is : I am not an atomic playboy, as one of my critics labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim. As said after the war he commanded Joint Task Force 1, during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, Operation Crossroads.

Vice Admiral Blandy and his wife cut the cake celebrating Operation Crossroads as Rear Admiral Frank Jacob Lowry looks on. After the war, Lowry served on the General Board from 1945 to 1947, and then in the office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He served in this capacity until he retired in March 1950, at which point he received a tombstone promotion to vice admiral due to his combat decorations. Lowry died on 26-03-1955, age 67..In 1956, the destroyer USS Blandy (DD-943) was named in his honor.

Death and burial ground of Blandy, William Henry Purnell “Spike”.

  Admiral Blandy retired in 1950 and died on 12-01-1954, at the age of 63, at the U.S. Navy Hospital in St. Albans, New York and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2. Close by the graves of General, Commander 92nd “ Negro Division”, Edward “Ned” Almond, Major General, Commander 8th Bomber Command Europe, Frederick Anderson, Rear Admiral, Commander Destroyer GreysonFrederic Bell, General, Commander 32nd Infantry Division, Clovis Byers, Navy Admiral. Battle of the Leyte Gulf, Robert Carney, Air Force General Lieutenant, Claire Chennault, Lieutenant General, Commander 4th Corps, Italy Campaign, Willis Dale Crittenberger, Brigadier General, First African-American General, Benjamin Davis, Quartermaster Lieutenant General, John Lesesne De Witt, Major General and Head OSS, William Donovan, Brigadier General, Speck Easley, Brigade General, Assistant Commanding General 45th Division, nickname “Thunderbird”  Over the course of its history, the 45th Infantry Division sustained over 25.000 battle casualties, and its men were awarded nine Medals of Honor, twelve campaign streamers, the Croix de Guerre. Also buriedJohn Huston Church. Marine Corps Major General, Commander 1st Raider Battalion,Merrit “Red Mike” Edson
 , Lieutenant General, VIII Army, Robert Eichelberger, Navy Admiral, Commander Nord Pacific Fleet, Frank Fletscher and Navy Admiral, Commander VII Forces, William Fechteler, Admiral, U.S. Chief of Naval Material, John Gingrich and U.S. Brigadier General, “ Merrills Marauders “ in Burma, Frank Dawn Merrill, U.S. 4* Navy Vice Admiral, Commander U.S.S. Hornet, Doolittle Raid, Marc Mitscher.

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