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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1945-1946, Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Naval Forces Africa (COMNAVEUR/COMNAVAF)
Service Years
1906 - 1946
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

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Home State
New Mexico
New Mexico
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember GLASSFORD, William, Jr., VADM.

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 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Military Order of World Wars (MOWW)
  1945, Military Order of World Wars (MOWW)

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

William Alexander Glassford, Jr.
Vice-Admiral, United States Navy

Vice Admiral William A. Glassford was a U.S. Navy officer who served during World War II. He commanded naval forces of the Asiatic Fleet during the first month of the war, and then relocated to Java to combine his forces with the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command ("ABDA"). His most notable battle was the Naval Battle of Balikpapan, in which he led a U.S. task force in an attack against Japanese forces that had occupied the port. When Glassford's flagships, the light cruisers USS Boise and USS Marblehead were disabled, he ordered his supporting destroyers to continue with the mission under Commander Paul H. Talbot. The attack came too late to prevent the capture of Balikpapan, and had little effect on the Japanese campaign to capture the resources of the Netherlands East Indies.

After the campaign, Glassford returned to the United States where he held a variety of positions in the Sixth Naval District and the Eighth Fleet.

Other Comments:
William A. Glassford, Jr., former commander of the Yangtze River Patrol in China, has been appointed on December 8th, 1941 to take command of the Task Force Five - the fighting unit of the US Asiatic Fleet, with USS heavy cruiser Houston as his flagship. 

The Balikpapan Raid, January 1942
Rhe ABDA command was the American naval force located at Timor in Koepang Bay. Known as TF.5, this force is commanded by USN Rear-Admiral William A. Glassford and consisted of the light cruisers  Boise and Marblehead and the destroyers of Destroyer Division 59: Parrott, Pope, John D. Ford, and Paul Jones.

He later set up his headquarters in Soerabaja in order to work with the Royal Dutch Navy in facilitating cooperation between the two naval forces. During the campaign he was promoted to Vice-Admiral and put in charge of "United States Naval Forces in the Southwest Pacific". He was evacuated from Java Island in March 1942.

Awards and Citations

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded for actions during World War I

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Commander William A. Glassford, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. SHAW upon the occasion of the collision between that vessel and H.M.S. AQUTANITA on 9 October 1918, when his presence of mind, prompt and courageous action and resolute persistence and further, as a result of the splendid discipline of those under his command, the SHAW was saved from becoming a total loss and was safely brought into port after her bow had been completely severed from the remainder of the ship, and the ship still further endangered by fire and by threatened explosion of ammunition.

Action Date: 9-Oct-18
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Shaw

Second Award:
Asiatic Fleet, 1941-1942. Commander Task Force 5, Rear Admiral William A. Glassford, Distinguished Service Medal.

Service record

1919 Commander Commander, DesDiv32
1940-11-1 Rear admiral     Commander,  Yangtze River Patrol, Asiatic Fleet
1941-12-5        Commander, Cruisers, Asiatic Fleet
1942-2-4 Vice admiral      Commander, Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific
1942-6-2        Commandant, 6 Naval District, Charleston, South Carolina
1943-5-14   Presidential representative to French West Africa
1944   Deputy commander, 12 Fleet
1945-4-11   Commander, 8 Fleet
1945-8   Commander, Naval Forces, Germany

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)US NavyCommander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
COMFIFTHFLTStrike Forces South (SFS), Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC)COMSEVENTHFLTCommander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Naval Forces Africa (COMNAVEUR/COMNAVAF)
  1902-1906, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1917-1918, USS Shaw (DD-68)
  1919-1920, USS Chauncey (DD-296)
  1919-1920, Commander, Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet, Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)
  1940-1941, Commander Yangtze Patrol (ComYangPat), Commander In Chief Asiatic Fleet
  1941-1941, Commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Pacific Fleet (ComBatCruPac)
  1941-1942, Commander, Task Force 51, COMFIFTHFLT
  1942-1942, Commander, Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area
  1942-1942, Strike Forces South (SFS), Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC)
  1942-1942, COMSEVENTHFLT
  1942-1943, 6th Naval District
  1944-1944, Commander, Twelfth Fleet
  1945-1945, Commander, Eighth Fleet
  1945-1946, Commander, Naval Forces France
  1945-1946, Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Naval Forces Africa (COMNAVEUR/COMNAVAF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 East Indies Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of Balikpapan (Makassar Strait)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1902-1906, United States Naval Academy
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