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First Name: Dennis

Last Name: Blair

Birthplace: Kittery, ME, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Cutler

Date of Birth: 04 February 1947

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1968-2002
Dennis Cutler Blair

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1968


Dennis Cutler Blair

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Dennis Cutler Blair was born on 4 February 1947 in Kittery, ME, the son of Abbie Dora Ansel and Captain Carvel Hall Blair. He is a sixth generation naval officer and the great-great-great-grandson of Confederate Chief Engineer William Price Williamson of North Carolina, credited with first suggesting that the hull of the USS Merrimack be used to build the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia.

Blair attended St. Andrew's School (1964) and, as a classmate of Oliver North and James H. Webb, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968.

Following his graduation from the Naval Academy, he was assigned to the guided missile destroyer USS Tattnall (DDG-19). He then received a Rhodes Scholarship, majoring in Russian studies at Oxford University, attending during the same time that future president Bill Clinton studied there (Clinton did not complete the program). He served as a White House Fellow from 1975-76 with Wesley Clark and Marshall Carter, who later became chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.

Blair spent over 34 years in the U.S. Navy. He served on guided missile destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and commanded the Kitty Hawk Battle Group.

On 1 May 1999, Blair was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and assumed his last assignment in the Navy as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, the highest-ranking officer over most of the U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

Previously, he was Director of the Joint Staff in the Office of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and served in budget and policy positions on several major Navy staffs and the National Security Council staff. He was also the first Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support.

Admiral Blair retired from the Navy in 2002.

Blair is somewhat renowned in U.S. Naval circles for attempting to water ski behind his destroyer the USS Cochrane (DDG-21) when he was the Skipper.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4 Awards)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

In addition to numerous other campaign and service awards, he received medals and awards from the governments of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Reports of Disobeying Orders

According to journalist Alan Nairn, Blair disobeyed orders from civilians in the Clinton Administration during the 1999 East Timorese crisis during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. Amid growing international concern over violence against the independence movement in Indonesian-occupied East Timor, Blair was ordered to meet with General Wiranto, the commander of the Indonesian military, and to tell him to shut down the pro-Indonesia militia. According to Nairn, two days after the Liquiçá Church Massacre, Blair failed to deliver this message; instead he presented Wiranto with an offer of military assistance and a personal invitation to be Blair's guest in Hawaii. Consequently, Wiranto's "forces increased the Timor killings." During his confirmation hearing as Director of National Intelligence, Blair responded to the accusations: "In our conversations with leaders of Indonesia, both military and civilian, we decried and said that the torture and killing that was being conducted by paramilitary groups and some military groups in East Timor had to stop;" "those who say that I was somehow carrying out my own policy or saying things that were not in accordance with American policy are just flat wrong."

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, Blair held the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the General of the Army Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College. He was also the President of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a U.S. Government think tank in the Washington, DC, area focused on national security. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Project on National Security Reform.

[For information on complaints regarding Blair's behavior and his ultimate dismissal from post-military government service, see Wikipedia.]

Honoree ID: 462   Created by: MHOH




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