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Home Town San Francisco
Last Address Arlington County, Virginia Arlington National Cemetery
Date of Passing Jul 08, 1991
Location of Interment Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity
William McCombe Callaghan
Vice Admiral, United States Navy
Vice Admiral William McCombe Callaghan (August 8, 1897 - July 8, 1991), born in San Francisco, California, was a U.S. naval officer and the first commander of the USS Missouri (BB-63).
Callaghan graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1918. After commanding the USS Reuben James (DE-153) in 1936, he joined the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1939.
In 1944, Captain Callaghan was named the first commanding officer of the Missouri, the Navy's newest battleship.
On April 11, 1945, USS Missouri was struck by a kamikaze off the coast of Okinawa. The damage was minor, and no one died aboard this battleship except the Japanese pilot, Setsuo Ishino, whose body was recovered. Captain Callaghan insisted that the young Japanese airman had done his job to the best of his ability and with honor and deserved a military funeral. The following day, April 12, 1945, the pilot was given a military funeral at sea.
During the Korean War, Callaghan commanded U.S. naval forces in the Far East. He retired in 1957.
In 1946, Callaghan held the rank of Rear Admiral, and in that year gave a presentation to the Naval War College on his experience in the Naval Transportation Service before the war. On October 1, 1949, he was appointed as the first commander of the Military Sea Transportation Service, which would later become the Military Sealift Command. He was promoted from Rear Admiral to Vice Admiral around this time. From 1953 to 1954, during the Korean War, he commanded the Amphibious Force of the US Pacific Fleet. From 1954 to 1956, he served as Commander, US Naval Forces Far East. He then replaced retiring Vice Admiral Francis Low as Commander of the Western Sea Frontier. He retired from the US Navy at the rank of Vice Admiral in 1957.
Admiral Callaghan died July 8, 1991, at Bethesda Naval Hospital after suffering a stroke.
William M. Callaghan a retired Navy Vice Admiral, 93, who served as Commanding Officer of the USS Missouri in World War II, died July 8, 1991 at Bethesda Naval Hospital after suffering a stroke four weeks ago.
The California native graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1918 and served aboard a destroyer in World War I. He later assumed command of the USS Reuben James in 1936. After joining the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1939, he was war plans officer for logistics for the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet. For his performance, was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In 1944, Admiral Callaghan commissioned the USS Missouri and commanded it in operations against Tokyo, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
During the Korean War, he served as commander of Naval forces in the Far East.
Years of service: 1918–1957 Rank: USN-O9, Vice Admiral Commands held:
USS Reuben James (DD-245)
USS Missouri (BB-63)
Military Sea Transportation Service Battles/wars:
World War I
World War II, Battle of Okinawa
Korean War Awards:
Legion of Merit
Order of the Rising Sun
Order of the White Elephant
Order of Boyaca Namesake: A transport ship named the GTS Admiral Wm. M. Callaghan (AKR-1001).