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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Ghormley

Birthplace: Portland, OR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 15 October 1883

Date of Death: 21 June 1958

Rank or Rate: Vice Admiral

Years Served:
Robert Lee Ghormley

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1906

•  Occupation of Nicaragua (1912 - 1933)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert Lee Ghormley
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy

Robert Lee Ghormley was born on 15 October 1883 in Portland, OR.

Ghormley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1906 and served in cruisers during the next five years. From 1911-13, Lieutenant Ghormley was Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, participating in the 1912 campaign in Nicaragua. That was followed by duty at the U.S. Naval Academy. Lieutenant Commander Ghormley spent most of World War I in the battleship USS Nevada and as a Flag Aide. Late in the conflict, he became Assistant Director of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. In 1920-22, he commanded USS Niagara and the destroyer USS Sands, including Mediterranean Sea duty in the latter.

Promoted to the rank of Commander in July 1921, Ghormley served as Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during 1923-25 and as Executive Officer of the battleship USS Oklahoma for the next two years. In 1927 he became Secretary of the Navy's General Board, in Washington, DC. Captain Ghormley was Chief of Staff to the commanders of the Battle Force and U.S. Fleet during the early 1930s. After working with the Chief of Naval Operations, he became Commanding Officer of USS Nevada in 1935 and a year later returned to the U.S. Fleet staff. In 1938 he completed the senior course at the Naval War College.

Rear Admiral Ghormley was Director of the War Plans Division and Assistant Chief of Naval Operations until August 1940, when he went to the Britain as a Special Naval Observer. In the rank of Vice Admiral, he served as Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force in June-October 1942, during the critical early stages of the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Dismayed by Ghormley's pessimism, Admiral Nimitz replaced him.

After a few months' duty in Washington, DC, he returned to the Pacific to become Commandant of the 14th Naval District in Hawaii. In December 1944, Vice Admiral Ghormley became Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Germany, and served in that position until December 1945. He spent his last months of active duty as a member of the General Board, at the Navy Department, and retired in August 1946.

Death and Burial

Vice Admiral Robert Lee Ghormley died on 21 June 1958. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2550   Created by: MHOH




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