United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


Release No: 191-96
April 06, 1996


Retired Vice Admiral John Bulkeley, the most renowned PT boat commander of World War II, and recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in that war,passed away today at his home in Silver Spring Maryland. He was 84.

Born August 19, 1911 in New York City, Vice Admiral Bulkeley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June of 1933. He retired from the Naval Service in1974 as President of the Navy Board of Inspection and Survey but was thenretained on active duty and continued in that position until 1988, serving 55years in the Navy.

"Our nation has lost a true hero and our Navy has lost a very dear shipmate,"said Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton. "VADM Bulkeley's World War IIservice in both the Pacific and Atlantic was legendary. When I was a youngMidshipman at the Naval Academy, I looked up to him as an inspiring leader andwarrior; he was both fearless and tireless in his pursuit of freedom for ourcountry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

"He was a great leader who loved his Navy and the people in it." said Chief ofNaval Operations Admiral Mike Boorda. "VADM Bulkeley's many years of peacetimeservice, especially his duty as the President of the Board of Inspection andSurvey, touched nearly every Navy person who went to sea during more than twodecades. For a ship to have passed a `John Bulkeley' inspection with highmarks was truly the pinnacle of excellence at sea."

He was known for the breakthrough of the Japanese lines during World War IIfor the transportation of General Douglas MacArthur and his Staff fromCorregidor and Bataan, Philippine Islands, to Mindanao Island, where GeneralMacArthur was flown to Australia to assume command of the Allies in theSouthwest Pacific. For his service over a four month period in defense of thePhilippine Islands, VADM Bulkeley was awarded the Medal of Honor. His otherawards included the Navy Cross, two Army Distinguished Service Crosses,Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Star Medals, two Legion of Merits withcombat "Vs", and the Purple Heart, among others.

He served his country in a number of assignments to include several commandsat sea, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 12, Commander Naval Base Guantanamo BayCuba, Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Eight, and ended his career asPresident, Navy Board of Inspection and Survey. He is survived by the formerHilda Alice Wood and their five children.

Additional Links

Stay Connected