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First Name: Norvell

Last Name: Ward

Birthplace: Indian Head, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Gardiner

Date of Birth: 30 December 1912

Date of Death: 19 July 2005

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
Norvell Gardiner Ward

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Norvell Gardiner Ward
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Norvell Gardiner Ward was born on 30 December 1912 in Indian Head, MD.

In 1931, Ward received a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Following graduation in 1935, he was commissioned as an Ensign and assigned to the submarine fleet. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II as Commanding Officer of the USS Gato and the USS Seadragon. In May 1943, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the USS Guardfish. Serving on patrol during the following months of June and July, he successfully engaged and sank eight Japanese ships totaling in excess of 38,000 tons, earning him the Navy Cross.

In 1958, he entered the Polaris nuclear missile program as Commander of Submarine Squadron 14 as part of an overseas deployment strategy aimed at providing the U.S. with a long-range nuclear strike capability. Prior to joining the Polaris program, he had been assigned as Commanding Officer of a submarine squadron assigned in test firing the surface launched Regulus missile.

In 1963, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. In 1965, he was assigned to South Vietnam as Chief of the Naval Advisory Board and later as Commander of U.S. Naval forces in Vietnam. As Commander, he headed a squadron of patrol boats assigned to prevent the North Vietnamese from moving weapons and ammunition along the country's river and coastal waterways. In 1968, he suffered the personal tragedy of losing his son, Marine Captain Alexander K. Ward, from combat wounds suffered fighting in the Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam. Following Vietnam, he saw his last combat operations during the Korean War as Commander of the destroyer USS Yarnall.

In 1973, he officially retired from the U.S. Navy as Commander of the Caribbean Sea frontier and Commander of the 10th Naval District based out of Puerto Rico.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal (3 Awards)
Legion of Merit (5 Awards) 

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral Norvell Gardiner Ward died on 19 July 2005 in Atlantic Beach, FL. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 3191   Created by: MHOH




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