Hoskins, John, VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary Designator/NEC
113X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Special Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1957-1957, COMFLTAIR/Quonset Point, RI
Service Years
1921 - 1957
Vice Admiral Vice Admiral

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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven D. Loomis (SaigonShipYard), IC3 to remember Hoskins, John ( peg-leg admiral ), VADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Pineville, Kentucky
Last Address
Arlington National Cemetery

Date of Passing
Mar 27, 1964
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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Vice Admiral John Madison Hoskins
"The Peg-Legged Admiral"


After graduating from Pineville High School, Hoskins was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy graduating with the Class of 1921, and soon became a naval aviator. He served on the U.S.S. Memphis when Charles Lindbergh and his airplane The Spirit of St .Louis returned to the U.S. after their record-breaking flight across the Atlantic in 1927, and led the search for lost female aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart 10 years later. Captain Hoskins lost his right leg in the World War II action that earned him the Navy Cross, thereby earning the nickname, "The Peg-Legged Admiral." He retired as a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral.

Awards and Citations

    Navy Cross

    Awarded for actions during World War II

    The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain John Madison Hoskins, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Prospective Commanding Officer of the Light Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. PRINCETON (CVL-23), when that vessel was hit by a bomb from an enemy aircraft in Philippine waters during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, on 24 October 1944. With his ship blazing furiously and rocked by explosions as a result of a Japanese aerial bomb, Captain Hoskins gallantly remained on board, despite suggestions from the Commanding Officer that he leave with all personnel not required for salvage work. Persevering in his heroic efforts to save the PRINCETON, he repeatedly risked his life in a valiant attempt to control the raging flames. His exceptional valor and resolute courage in the face of graver peril served as an inspiration to both his officers and men and upheld the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    General Orders: Commander, 2d Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0959 (January 15, 1945)
    Action Date: October 24, 1944
    Service: Navy
    Rank: Captain
    Company: Commanding Officer
    Division: U.S.S. Princeton (CVL-23)

    Navy Distinguished Service Medal

    Awarded for actions during the Korean War

    The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Rear Admiral John Madison Hoskins, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Commander Carrier Division THREE, during operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Korean Area from 27 June to 17 November 1950. Applying tactical skill, aggressive leadership and broad experience to his assigned task, Rear Admiral Hoskins utilized his carrier units and flying squadrons to the greatest extent against the enemy. Establishing and maintaining a high degree of combat readiness, he brought to bear the full measure of fire power of his carrier-based planes to strike heavily at the enemy from the Yalu to the Naktong, and thus provide close air support for ground forces at the Pusan perimeter. In addition, the air landing at Inch'on in September contributed directly to the success of that difficult operation. By his outstanding devotion to duty as exemplified in the excellent performance of forces under his command, Rear Admiral Hoskins rendered distinguished and valuable service, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    General Orders: Board Serial 175 (February 26, 19451)
    Action Date: June 27 - November 17, 1950
    Service: Navy
    Rank: Rear Admiral

    Legion of Merit

    Awarded for actions during World War II

    The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Captain John Madison Hoskins, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Chief of Staff, Commander Fleet Air Quonset, from June 1943 to September 1944. Serving with distinction in an assignment of vital importance, Captain Hoskins succeeded in preparing training syllabi and schedules for all types of carrier aircraft, supervising the training of officers in landing signal duties and directing the indoctrination and training of carrier aircraft service division personnel. Working in close coordination with other Atlantic Fleet training activities, he developed efficient combat information center teams for new construction carriers and fighter direction officers for Atlantic Fleet ships. His expert professional skill, outstanding leadership and initiative were contributing factors in the development and maintenance of the high operational readiness of carrier air groups and squadrons destined for vital operation from aircraft carriers and reflect the highest credit upon Captain Hoskins and the United States Naval Service.

    Action Date: June 1943 - September 1944
    Service: Navy
    Rank: Captain

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Last Updated:
Nov 8, 2016


Vice Admiral John Madison Hoskins the Navy's only peg-leg Admiral, was born on 22 October 1898 in Pineville, KY. He was reared in Pineville graduated from Pineville High School. He was the youngest of six children born to Thomas Jefferson and Lucy Renfro Hoskins.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1921. Following a period of serving on surface ships he entered flight school in 1925. After earning his wings, Hoskins served in observation and scouting units. He attain squadron command in 1937. His ship was in charge of trying to find Amelia Earhart when she was lost. His ship Memphis brought Charles Lindberg and the Sprite of St Louis back from France after his famous flight. He was Air Officer and Executive Officer of USS Ranger (CV-4) during 1941-42. During 1943-44 he served in Washington D.C., and as Chief of Staff to Commander, Fleet Air, at Quonset Point Rhode Island.

Captain Hoskins was assigned as prospective commanding officer of USS Princeton (CVL-22) in September 1944 and lost a right foot when that ship was bombed on 24 October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Despite the loss of his foot, he continued on active duty, becoming commanding officer of the new USS Princeton (CV-37) in November 1945. Promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, he became Commander, Carrier Division Seventeen in December 1946. After serving as Chief of Staff to Commander, Air Force, Pacific Fleet he assumed command of Carrier Division Three in March 1950. He was the first person to take off and land a jet airplane on an aircraft carrier. The Navy said it couldn't be done because jets were too heavy. He proved them wrong and was place over out fitting all carriers to land jets.

When the Korean War broke out on 25 June 1950, Rear Admiral Hoskins' flagship USS Valley Forge (CV-45) was the only U.S. carrier in the Western Pacific and launched the first U.S. Navy air strikes of the conflict. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his action in Korea. He also was awarded the following medals: Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, China Service Medal, Order of Military Merit, from the Philippine Government, the Philippine Liberation Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, plus others.

In 1955 a movie was made of his 10 years of WW2 and Korea, The Eternal Sea. This was shown at the Bell Theater during the Mountain Laurel Festival.

Admiral Hoskins married the former Sue Waters of Gaithersburg, Maryland and had three children, John Madison Jr, Renfro Waters and Mary Sue. His brothers and sisters were Mrs Bess Williams of Cincinnati, Ohio, J.K. Hoskins of Pineville, Kentucky, Mrs Charles Gragg, Pineville, Mrs George Hodges, Pineville and Carl B. Hoskins, Williamsburg, Kentucky. His wife and children live in Falls Church, Virginia.

Admiral Hoskins died in March 1964, and after a funeral with full Military Honors was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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