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First Name: Noel

Last Name: Gayler

Birthplace: Birmingham, AL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Arthur Meredyth

Date of Birth: 25 December 1914

Date of Death: 14 July 2011

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1935-1976
Noel Arthur Meredyth Gayler

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1935

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Noel Arthur Meredyth Gayler

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Noel Arthur Meredyth Gayler was born on 25 December 1914 in Birmingham, AL. Gayler entered the U.S. Naval Academy on 6 June 1931, and was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on 6 June 1935. His first assignment was as an Engineering Officer on the battleship USS Maryland, then the destroyer USS Maury, followed by service as the Gunnery Officer on the destroyer USS Craven.

In March 1940, Gayler entered Flight Training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, and was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1940. He was assigned to fighter squadron VF-3 in November 1940, and was credited with destroying five enemy aircraft in aerial combat. Between February and May 1942 Gayler was awarded the Navy Cross three times, the first person to achieve this.

He was transferred to NAS Anacostia in Washington, DC, in June 1942 to serve as a VF Project Officer. From June 1943-June 44, Gayler served as a test pilot at NAS Patuxent River, MD. He next served as Commanding Officer of VF-12 from June 1944 to February 1945. Gayler was Air Operations Officer for the 2nd Carrier Task Force from March-November 1945.

He then served as Executive Officer, and then Deputy Director of Special Devices Center from February 1946 to April 1948. Gayler was Operations Officer on the carrier USS Bairoko from April 1948 to September 1949, before heading the Fighter Design Branch in Washington from October 1949 to June 1951.

He was Commanding Officer of the Navy's experimental jet fighter squadron VX-III (VX-3) at Atlantic City, NJ, from June 1951 to January 1954. Gayler served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations from January 1954 to January 1956, and then became Commanding Officer of the seaplane tender USS Greenwich Bay from January 1956 to February 1957. He was Operations Officer for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, from February-June 1957, and then served as a Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy from June 1957 to April 1959.

Gayler commanded the aircraft carrier USS Ranger from May 1959 to June 1960, and then served as the U.S. Naval Attaché in London, England, from August 1960 to August 1962. Gayler was Commander of Carrier Division 20 from August 1962-August 63, and then served as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Development from August 1963-August 67. He was Deputy Director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff at Offutt Air Force Base, NE, from September 1967 to July 1969.

Gayler became the 6th Director of the National Security Agency in July 1969, serving in that position until 1 September 1972, when he was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC).

Gayler served as CINCPAC until his retirement from the Navy on 31 August 1976. As the CINCPAC, Admiral Gayler had the honor of personally welcoming the Prisoners of War from Vietnam as they arrived at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. They reported back to duty to him as they walked off the plane.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross (3 Awards)

Death and Burial

Admiral Noel Arthur Meredyth Gayler died on 14 July 2011 in Alexandria, VA.

Honoree ID: 521   Created by: MHOH




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