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First Name: Jeremy

Last Name: Boorda

Birthplace: South Bend, IN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Michael

Date of Birth: 26 November 1939

Date of Death: 16 May 1996

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1956-1996
Jeremy Michael Boorda

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Kosovo War (1998 - 1999)


Jeremy Michael Boorda

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Jeremy Michael Boorda was born on 26 November 1939 in South Bend, IN, to Gertrude and Herman Boorda, a Jewish family, and had a bar mitzvah at the age of 13. His family moved to Momence, IL, where his father had a dress shop. His grandparents had immigrated from Ukraine.

Boorda dropped out of high school to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 1956 at the age of 17; it provided a structure he at first disliked but came to use. He attained the rank of Personnelman First Class. Boorda served a variety of commands, primarily in aviation. His last two enlisted assignments were in Attack Squadron 144 and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 11.

Advancement to Naval Officer

Boorda was selected for potential commissioning under the Integration Program in 1962, where non-commissioned men were admitted to the Navy's Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. After graduating, Boorda was commissioned in August 1962. He first served aboard USS Porterfield (DD-682) as Combat Information Center Officer at the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. After attending Naval Destroyer School in Newport in 1964, he was assigned as Weapons Officer in USS John R. Craig (DD-885). His next tour was as Commanding Officer, USS Parrot (MSC-197).

Boorda's first shore duty was as a Weapons Instructor at Naval Destroyer School in Newport. In 1971, after attending the U.S. Naval War College and also earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island, he assumed duties as Executive Officer, USS Brooke (DEG-1). That tour was followed by a short period at the University of Oklahoma and an assignment as Head, Surface Lieutenant Commander Assignments/Assistant for Captain Detailing in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC.

From 1975-77, Boorda commanded USS Farragut (DDG-37). He was next assigned as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), Washington. He relieved the civilian presidential appointee in that position, remaining until 1981, when he took command of Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Two.

In 1983-84, he served as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training. In December 1984, he assumed his first flag officer assignment as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, remaining until July 1986. His next assignment was Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Eight in Norfolk, VA; he served as a Carrier Battle Group Commander embarked in USS Saratoga (CV-60), and also as Commander, Battle Force Sixth Fleet in 1987.

In August 1988, Boorda became Chief of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training. In December 1991 he became Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH - Naples, Italy) and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR - London). He received his fourth star on 2 March 1992. As CINCSOUTH, Boorda was in command of all NATO forces engaged in operations enforcing United Nations sanctions during the Yugoslav wars.

On 1 February 1993, while serving as Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Europe, Boorda assumed the additional duty as Commander, Joint Task Force Provide Promise, responsible for the supply of humanitarian relief to Bosnia-Herzegovina via air-land and air-drop missions, and for troops contributing to the UN mission throughout the Balkans.

On 23 April 1994, Boorda became the 25th Chief of Naval Operations. He was the first CNO who was not a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Medal and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3 Awards)
Legion of Merit (3 Awards)
Meritorious Service Medal (2 Awards)
Navy Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
Navy Good Conduct Medal (3 Awards)

Stan Arthur incident

In the wake of the Tailhook scandal, Boorda faced unrelenting hostility from a majority of Naval flag officers who believed he had betrayed the Navy by allying himself with Clinton administration demands for reform of the Navy's officer corps. Naval aviators, in particular, were incensed by the treatment of Stan Arthur (Vice Chief of Naval Operations and senior Naval aviator), whose nomination for the post of Commander, U.S. Pacific Command was withdrawn by President Clinton at the behest of Senator David Durenberger of Minnesota. Durenberger raised questions over Arthur's possible mishandling of sexual harassment allegations brought by one of the Senator's constituents, Rebecca Hansen, a female student naval aviator who was attrited from flight training.

The administration expected protracted hearings to ensue over Arthur's nomination, and the Pacific Command position to remain unfilled during this period; Arthur decided to retire from the Navy on 1 February 1995 as a four-star admiral. Boorda issued an unusual public defense of Arthur and his decision not to fight for the nomination, saying

"Stan Arthur is an officer of integrity ... who chose to take this selfless action ... in the interests of more rapidly filling a critical leadership position. Those who postulate other reasons for the withdrawal are simply wrong."


Boorda married at age 19 to Bettie Moran, a Protestant. Their first son David was born with severe disabilities. They had two more sons, Edward and Robert, and a daughter, Anna. The children were reared as Protestants.

Boorda was born into a Jewish family, but did not practice his religion or assert Jewish descent while in the Navy. As is customary for servicemen and women known to be Jewish, he was buried with a tombstone marked with the Star of David.

Boorda has two sons and one daughter-in-law who are naval officers. He has three grandsons who served in the U.S. Military: Peter Boorda was a Petty Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, Andrew Boorda is an Armor Officer in the Army, and Phillip Boorda is an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Officer in the Marine Corps. Andrew and Phillip are twins, and like their grandfather, both graduated from the University of Rhode Island. In addition, Boorda has a step-grandson who also graduated from the University of Rhode Island and is a Field Artillery Officer in the Army.

Death and Burial

Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda died 16 May 1996 a suicide, having apparently shot himself in the chest. The autopsy results were not released to the public. He reportedly also left two suicide notes; neither was released publicly, but they were said to have been addressed to his wife and to his Public Information Officer.

He was reported to have been disturbed over a news media investigation, led by David Hackworth of Newsweek, into Valor device enhancements he wore on his Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal (small bronze "V" devices, signifying valor in combat), which the media report claimed he was not entitled to wear. He was said to be worried this issue would cause more trouble for the Navy's reputation. Former CNO Elmo Zumwalt, who was Boorda's commander in Vietnam, wrote a letter to the effect that Boorda's wearing of the devices was "appropriate, justified and proper." Wearing a "V" to denote that a medal was awarded for in combat actions applied only to medals that could be awarded for meritorious service or for valor in combat (e.g. Bronze Star or Commendation Medal), as opposed to medals inherently distinguishing valor in combat (e.g. Silver Star and higher), and wearing the "V" device on the ribbon was not authorized unless the "V" device was specifically noted in the award citation.

In 1998, one of Boorda's sons requested a review of his service record. The Board for Correction of Naval Records, the ultimate arbiter of whether Boorda was entitled to wear the Combat "V" on both medals, determined that he was not.

Boorda is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, and his grave is located at Section 64, Lot 7101, Grid MM-17.

Boorda was survived by his wife, Bettie Moran Boorda, four children, and 11 grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 466   Created by: MHOH




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