Van Tol, John, CDR

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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 111X, Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center (Staff) Atlantic
Service Years
1944 - 1969
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Plank Owner

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Van Tol, John (Van), CDR 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
Charles Town, WV
Last Address
Born Wilkinsburg WV.
Raised in Shepherdstown WV.
Home of Records, Charles Town WV.
Last residence the Devonshire of Mt. Lebanon PA.

Date of Passing
Jul 14, 2010
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Gun Captain (pre-1969) US Navy Retired 20 Amphibious Forces Patch

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Emerald Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon Blue Star

Cold War Veteran Navy Officer Honorable Discharge

 Military Association Memberships
USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Association
  1970, USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Association

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Commander John Van Tol's naval career spanned from 1944 to 1969, during which he travelled to five continents and met several foreign dignitaries, including Juan and Eva Peron in Argentina and Prince Phillip aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.

John graduated from Shepherdstown High School West Virginia. He entered the Naval Service in the V-12 program in June 1944, attended Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and received his commission upon graduating as a regular NROTC student from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey in June 1947.
He received his bachelor's degree in naval science (political science) from Princeton University (as a member of the Class of 1948).

He was commissioned as an Ensign in 1947, became a Lieutenant Commander in 1958 and a Commander in 1963. John served sea duty aboard the USS Huntington; Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, FLEET MARINE FORCE, ATLANTIC, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; USS Wisconsin, Korean War; USS LSMR 520; Pre-commissioning Detail, USS Forrest Sherman; ASW Tactics Instructor at the Joint Anti-submarine School, HMS Sea Eagle (as Royal Navy Exchange Officer, stationed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland); USS Fred T. Berry and USS Josephus Daniels. He commanded the destroyers USS Rhodes, USS Borie and USS Beatty. In October 1962, as Commanding Officer of the USS Rhodes, John observed and tracked Russian merchant vessels removing missiles from Havana, Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served with Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Dam Neck, Virginia.

He was interviewed several times later in life by authors and journalists about his experiences during the missile crisis. Following his retirement in 1969, John and his family moved to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
Other Comments:


The farm property was at one time owned by Commander John & Alice (Blake) Van Tol, 1974-1984. See story listed under: Other News, Events and Photographs.


 Photo Album   (More...

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Command at Sea

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Advancement Schools and CoursesUS NavyUSS Wisconsin (BB-64)USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931)
USS Fred T. Berry (DD-858)USS Rhodes (DER-384)USS Josephus Daniels (DLG-27)Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center (Staff) Atlantic
  1944-1947, V-12 Navy College Training Program
  1947-1947, 000X, Reserve Officer Candidate School
  1947-1948, 000X, USS Huntington (CL-107)
  1949-1953, 000X, USS Wisconsin (BB-64)
  1953-1954, 000X, USS No Name (LSMR-520)
  1954-1955, 000X, Joint Manpower Exchange Program (JMEP)
  1955-1958, 000X, USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931)
  1958-1961, 111X, USS Fred T. Berry (DD-858)
  1961-1963, 111X, USS Rhodes (DER-384)
  1965-1968, 111X, USS Josephus Daniels (DLG-27)
  1968-1969, 111X, Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center (Staff) Atlantic
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II
  1950-1953 Korean War
 Colleges Attended 
Bethany College, West VirginiaPrinceton UniversityFranklin and Marshall College
  1944-1945, Bethany College, West Virginia
  1945-1947, Princeton University
  1945-1945, Franklin and Marshall College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  May 01, 1740, West Virginia WHITE HOUSE Farm History5
  Jul 12, 2000, Alice nee Blake Van Tol
  Jul 14, 2010, JOHN VAN TOL
  Jul 14, 2010, John Van Tol: Naval officer involved in Cuban Missile Crisis
  Aug 30, 2017, General Photos
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