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First Name: William

Last Name: Blandy

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Henry Purnell

Date of Birth: 28 June 1890

Date of Death: 12 January 1954

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1913-1950
William Henry Purnell Blandy

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1913

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


William Henry Purnell Blandy

Admiral, U.S. Navy

William Henry Purnell Blandy was born on 28 June 1890 in New York City. Blandy graduated first in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1913. He participated in the occupation of Veracruz, Mexico in 1914 and served on board the battleship Florida (BB-30) with the British Grand Fleet during World War I.

During World War II, he was Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance from 1941-43; then Commander, Group 1, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet and commanded the pre-invasion bombardment group during the campaign for Iwo Jima. One account of Admiral Blandy during the Iwo campaign recalls:

The U.S.S. Estes was positioned about two miles off-shore during the bombardment, and Admiral Blandy, being the old Gunnery type, kept ordering the captain to come in a little closer so he could "..see the whites of their eyes..". About the time we would be within a little less than a mile from the beaches, a battery of shore guns up on the side of Mount Surabachi would start taking pot-shots at us. Geysers of water would erupt on either side of the ship, and the voice of Vice Admiral Turner in overall charge of the campaign on the U.S.S. Mount McKinley - a sister ship to the USS Estes, - would come in over the "TBS" ship to ship radio ordering Blandy to "..get your [censored] out of there before you get it blown off!". We would then back off to a safe distance, only to have the same thing happen a few hours later.

After the war he commanded Joint Task Force 1 during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. "I am not an atomic playboy" is a phrase attributed to Blandy while he was overseeing these tests.

Here is the complete quote:

"The bomb will not start a chain-reaction in the water converting it all to gas and letting the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy, as one of my critics labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim."

On the 3rd of April 2010, a photograph emerged on a popular website called "Picture is Unrelated" of him pictured with his wife and Rear Admiral Frank Louri. The picture somewhat contradicts the above quote.

He commanded the 2nd Task Fleet and later served as Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet from 1947-50. He was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral on 3 February 1947. Admiral Blandy retired in 1950.


In 1956, the destroyer USS Blandy (DD-943) was named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Admiral William Henry Purnell Blandy died on 12 January 1954 at the U.S. Navy Hospital in St. Albans, NY. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 463   Created by: MHOH




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