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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
Service Years
1914 - 1954
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember HARRILL, William, VADM USN(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
May 11, 1962
Location of Interment
Rosecrans National Cemetery - San Diego, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: O.S., 280-A

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30 World War I Victory Button

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback US Navy Honorable Discharge Order of the Golden Dragon

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1954, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Vice Admiral William Keene Harrill, USN (Ret.)
Veteran of both World Wars and Korea

William Keene Harrill graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914 and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy. 

Harrill was a participant in World War I and was awarded the Navy Cross for his service. The following is an abbreviated version of the citation:

Action Date: World War I 
"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant William Keene Harrill, United States Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession. During the mine laying operations in the North Sea during World War I, Lieutenant Harrill, as Aide on my staff was responsible for the maintenance and operation of radio and signal communications of the mine laying vessels and naval vessels arriving in the north of Scotland. His energy, zeal, and foresight enabled the vessels to adjust themselves to the new conditions of operations and adopt the foreign codes and ciphers without mishap or interruption. On account of my very small staff it was necessary to utilize this officer for much additional duty in connection with the planning and execution of the mine-laying operations. Later, during the mine sweeping operations as the Senior Officer present on my staff, he was charged with the details of the administration of a force consisting of 50 to 75 vessels. His devotion, zeal, and relentless efforts in this responsible position highly merit the award recommended."

Harrill underwent flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1921.

From the fall of 1941 through the spring of '42, Captain Harrill was Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier USS Ranger (CV-4), the largest carrier in the Atlantic fleet. During his command of the Ranger, the carrier was primarily on patrol duties and there was no record of combat operations. As a Commodore, Harrill was Commander of Patrol Wing 1 from June 1942 to March 1944.

By June 1944, Harrill had been promoted to Rear Admiral and was assigned command of Task Group 58.4, consisting of three carriers; Essex, Langley, and Cowpens. Task Force 58 (the Fast Carrier Task Force), was under the command of Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. Harrill was teamed with Task Group 58.1, under the command of the aggressive Rear Admiral Joseph J. "Jocko" Clark, for air interdiction strikes against Iwo Jima early in the Marianas campaign. Harrill lacked aggression and had to be prodded into action by "Jocko" Clark, who flatly told him that: "If you do not join me in this job, I will do it myself." Harrill, who was four-years senior to Clark, responded to the ultimatum by joining him in the strikes. When Harrill had an attack of appendicitis on 28 June, it provided Mitscher with an excuse to gracefully ease him out of his combat command.

Vice Admiral William Keene Harrill received the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit (three times). 
Other Comments:
Not Specified
 Photo Album   (More...

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Command at Sea

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyFormal Schools and Training CoursesNAS PensacolaUSS Langley (CV-1)
NAS AnacostiaUSS Saratoga (CV-3)Naval Attache/Asst Naval Attache, CNO - OPNAVCommander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
USS Ranger (CV-4)Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
  1917-1918, 111X, NAS Eastleigh, England
  1918-1919, 114X, USS Black Hawk (ID# 2140)
  1921-1921, 139X, Naval Flight Training
  1922-1923, 131X, NAS Pensacola
  1926-1927, 131X, USS Langley (AV-3)
  1928-1930, 131X, Bureau of Aeronautics
  1930-1932, 131X, USS Langley (CV-1)
  1932-1933, 131X, NAS Anacostia
  1934-1936, 131X, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1937-1938, 131X, Naval Attache/Asst Naval Attache, CNO - OPNAV
  1939-1940, 131X, USS Wright (AV-1)
  1940-1941, 131X, Commander Patrol & Reconnaissance Wing 1, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Pacific
  1941-1942, 131X, USS Ranger (CV-4)
  1943-1944, 131X, Carrier Division 12 (COMCARDIV 12)
  1944-1945, 131X, Fast Carrier Task Force
  1946-1948, 131X, COMFAIRWESTCOAST
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 World War I/Atlantic Convoy
  1917-1918 World War I
  1943-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Pacific Air Offensive (1942-45)
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1910-1914, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  General Photos7
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