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Robert Ghormley

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Robert Ghormley

Robert L. Ghormley
VADM Robert L. Ghormley, 1942
Born (1883-10-15)October 15, 1883
Portland, Oregon
Died June 21, 1958(1958-06-21) (aged 74)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Template:Country data United States Navy
Years of service 1906–46
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held USS Niagara (SP-136)
USS Sands (DD-243)
USS Nevada (BB-36)
Assistant Chief of Naval Operations
Commander South Pacific Area
Commandant 14th Naval District

World War I
World War II

Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal

Vice Admiral Robert Lee Ghormley (15 October 1883 – 21 June 1958) was an admiral in the United States Navy, serving as Commander, South Pacific Area, during the Second World War.


Ghormley was born in Portland, Oregon, on 15 October 1883. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1906 and served on cruisers during the next five years. In 1911–13, Lieutenant Ghormley was Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, participating in the 1912 campaign in Nicaragua. That was followed by duty at the U.S. Naval Academy. Lieutenant Commander Ghormley spent most of World War I on the battleship Nevada and as a flag aide. Late in the conflict, he became assistant director of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. In 1920–22, he commanded Niagara and the destroyer Sands, including Mediterranean Sea duty in the latter.

Promoted to the rank of commander in July 1921, Ghormley served as Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during 1923–25 and as executive officer of the battleship Oklahoma for the next two years. In 1927 he became Secretary of the Navy's General Board, in Washington, D.C., Captain Ghormley was Chief of Staff to the commanders of the Battle Force and U.S. Fleet during the early 1930s. After working with the Chief of Naval Operations, he became Commanding Officer of Nevada in 1935, and a year later returned to the U.S. Fleet staff. In 1938 he completed the senior course at the Naval War College.

Rear Admiral Ghormley was Director of the War Plans Division and Assistant Chief of Naval Operations until August 1940, when he went to the United Kingdom as a Special Naval Observer. In the rank of Vice Admiral, he served as Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force in June–October 1942, during the critical early stages of the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Dismayed by Ghormley's pessimism, Admiral Nimitz replaced him with Vice Admiral William F. Halsey.[1]

After a few months' duty in Washington, D.C., Ghormley returned to the Pacific to become Commandant of the 14th Naval District in Hawaii. In December 1944, Vice Admiral Ghormley became Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Germany, and served in that position until December 1945. He spent his last months of active duty as a member of the General Board, at the Navy Department, and retired in August 1946. Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley died on 21 June 1958; he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


A small park in Moscow, Idaho, near the University of Idaho, is named for Admiral Ghormley.[2]

See also


External links

  • Robert L. Ghormley
  • Robert L. Ghormley Papers, Special Collections Department, East Carolina University.

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