Last Known Activity|
Captain Thomas S. Gates, Jr.
Secretary of the Navy & Secretary of Defense
Gates was a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve since 1935, he was called to World War II active duty in April 1942, and commissioned a Lieutenant. He graduated from the Quonset Point Air Intelligence School in Rhode Island and was assigned to the staff of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Theater to help organize the Naval Air Intelligence Center under that Command. During this tour, he participated in the North African "Casablanca" landings as an observer in the aircraft carrier USS RANGER.
In the summer of 1943, Gates joined the new light carrier USS MONTEREY as Air Combat Intelligence Officer. As part of the Fast Carrier Task Force, Pacific Fleet, MONTEREY supported amphibious landings at Tarawa and Kwajalein, and participated in strikes against New Britain, New Guinea, and the Island of Truk. Gates returned to the United States in the early summer of 1944 to join the staff of Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin as Flag Lieutenant and Air Intelligence Officer, and participated in Operation DRAGOON, the planned invasion of Southern France.
Upon the successful completion of DRAGOON, Durgin's American carriers redeployed to the Pacific, where on the USS MAKIN ISLAND, Gates participated in the invasions of Lingayen, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. For service in these operations, Gates received the Bronze Star Medal. After three additional months of combat operations in support of the Okinawa Invasion, Gates completed his service and arrived in San Francisco on V-J Day, where he reverted to the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander.
Gates resumed civil life as a partner in Drexel and Co. in the fall of 1945, and shortly thereafter was elected a director of several corporations in the Philadelphia area. Continuing in the reserves, Gates was promoted to Captain and continued to take an interest in local reserve activities, being a founder of the "Reserve Officers of Naval Service." In addition to serving as National Vice President and Director of the Navy League of the United States, he served on the naval advisory council of the Bureau of Aeronautics, in Washington.
Thomas Sovereign Gates Jr. (April 10, 1906 – March 25, 1983) was United States Secretary of Defense from 1959 to 1961 under President Eisenhower. He was promoted from deputy secretary of defense. During his tenure, he established a task force to set nuclear target priorities. He also authorized U-2 reconnaissance flights, including the flight of Francis Gary Powers.
Early life and career
He was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas S. Gates Sr., an investment banker who was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1930 to 1944. Gates graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1928, then joined the investment banking firm of Drexel and Company in Philadelphia and became a partner in 1940. During World War II he served in the Navy, rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, and participated in campaigns in the Pacific and Mediterranean areas. He was released from active duty in October 1945.
President Eisenhower appointed Gates Under Secretary of the Navy in October 1953 and Secretary on 1 April 1957, positions in which he earned the president's approval. It was a foregone conclusion when Gates became Defense Secretary Neil McElroy's deputy on 8 June 1959 that he would succeed him. He entered office with an impressive background of active military experience and more than six years in the Department of Defense.
On January 18, 1961, Gates was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Eisenhower.
CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF
THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM
THOMAS S. GATES
FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE
AND DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTION
TO THE SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES
Through nearly seven years of service in the Department of Defense-as Under Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and currently Secretary of Defense--Thomas Gates has worked with selfless dedication for the security of the United States and the Free World. He has brought experienced leadership, sound judgment, and unswerving loyalty and courage to the heavy responsibilities assigned to him.
Through his effective leadership in the direction of the United States military forces, and his statesmanship and diplomatic skill in numerous international conferences on security affairs, he has made outstanding contributions to the constant effort of our Nation to attain the goal of world peace with freedom and honor. It is with great pleasure that I award to him the Medal of Freedom.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER