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Release No: 079-04
February 05, 2004

Death of Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Thomas M. Moorer

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Thomas Moorer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 1970to June 1974 and chief of naval operations from 1967 to 1970, died today at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He was 91.

The 41-year Navy veteran retired from active duty in 1974, ending a distinguished career that included service as the seventh chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 18th chief of naval operations.

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Gordon England, praised the admirals distinguished service by saying, Admiral Thomas Moorer served his country with honor, courage and commitment throughout his active and dynamic life. His bravery in combat, his dedication and strong leadership as chief of naval operations and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff guided our Navy, and our armed forces, through some of the most turbulent years in America's history.

Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Admiral Tom Moorer. He served the United States Navy and our great nation with distinction. Admiral Moorers legacy, as both chief of naval operations, and as the seventh chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made a lasting impression on all of us who have followed. On behalf of General Myers, and all the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I offer our heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Moorer family during this difficult time. May you draw comfort from your memories, as we remember fondly how Admiral Moorer served his country--and all of us--so well."

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark added, Admiral Moorers leadership had a profound impact on our institution and a personal influence on many of us who were fortunate enough to serve under him. He displayed extraordinary courage both in combat and in the process of instituting positive change throughout our military.

Born Feb. 9, 1912, in Mt. Willing, Ala., Adm. Moorer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933. After completing naval aviation training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1936, he flew with fighter squadrons based on the carriers Langley, Lexington and Enterprise.

Adm. Moorer was serving with Patrol Squadron Twenty-Two at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked in December 1941. His squadron subsequently participated in the Dutch East Indies Campaign in the Southwest Pacific where he flew numerous combat missions. Moorer received a Purple Heart after being shot down and wounded off the coast of Australia in February 1942 and then surviving an attack on the rescue ship, which was sunk by enemy action the same day.

Moorer received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor three months later when he braved Japanese air superiority to fly supplies into and evacuate wounded out of the island of Timor.

Tours afloat included operations officer aboard USS Midway and on the staff of Commander Carrier Division Four, Atlantic Fleet. Moorer commanded USS Salisbury Sound.

Promoted to vice admiral in 1962, Moorer took command of the Seventh Fleet, and in June 1964 became commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet as a full admiral. One year later, he took command of NATOs U.S. Atlantic Command and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, becoming the first naval officer to command both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. President Johnson appointed himchief of naval operationsin 1967, and after serving almost three years, President Nixon selected him to be chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff--the first naval officer to hold this position in 13 years.

On July 2, 1974, Adm. Moorer retired from active duty. At his retirement ceremony, a second Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal was presented by Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger for extraordinary performance of duty and exceptional achievement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from January 1973 to June 1974. In this citation, the secretary of defense said, "I particularly note that Tom Moorer has always put his country's interests before anything else, and it is this quality I recognize in presenting him the only oak leaf cluster ever given to the Defense Distinguished Service Medal."

Adm. Moorer is survived by his wife, the former Carrie Ellen Foy, and their four children.

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