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First Name: Lynde

Last Name: McCormick

Birthplace: Annapolis, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Dupuy

Date of Birth: 12 August 1895

Date of Death: 16 August 1956

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1915-1956
Lynde Dupuy McCormick

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1915

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


Lynde Dupuy McCormick

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Lynde Dupuy McCormick was born in Annapolis, MD, on 12 August 1895 to the former Edith Lynde Abbot and U.S. Navy Surgeon Albert Montgomery Dupuy McCormick. He attended St. John's Preparatory School and College, a military school in Annapolis. In 1911, he was appointed by President William Howard Taft to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played lacrosse and soccer and, as a first classman, was business manager of the Academy yearbook, the Lucky Bag. He graduated second in a class of 183 and was commissioned Ensign in the U.S. Navy in June 1915.

World War I

His first assignment was aboard the battleship USS Wyoming, operating in the Caribbean Sea and along the eastern seaboard. In November 1917, following the U.S. entry into World War I, Wyoming and the rest of Battleship Division 9 (USS New York, Delaware, and Florida) joined the British Grand Fleet as its Sixth Battle Squadron and were present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in the North Sea after the armistice.

In April 1919, McCormick was assigned as Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the staff of Commander Battleship Division 4, U.S. Fleet. He served aboard the battleship USS South Carolina from June to September, then became Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Commander Destroyer Squadron 4, Pacific Fleet, aboard the squadron flagship USS Birmingham. He transferred to the destroyer USS Buchanan in December 1920.

Inter-War Service

In August 1921, he briefly commanded the destroyer USS Kennedy, before going ashore in October as an Instructor in the Department of Navigation at the Naval Academy.

He began a long association with submarine warfare in June 1923 when he became a student at the Submarine School in New London, CT. He then served until June 1924 in the submarine USS S-31, operating with Submarine Division 16 in the Pacific. After short assignments with the submarine USS S-37 and submarine tender USS Canopus, he commanded the submarine USS R-10, based at Honolulu, HI, from August 1924 until June 1926, when he was detailed to the Naval Academy as a member of the Executive Department. In August 1928, he began almost three years as Commanding Officer of the fleet submarine USS V-2, operating with Submarine Division 20 in support of the U.S. Fleet in maneuvers off the West Coast, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Caribbean Sea.

In May 1931, he began a three-year tour at the Naval Academy as Aide to the new Superintendent, Rear Admiral Thomas C. Hart. When Hart finished his tour as Superintendent in June 1934, McCormick rejoined the fleet as Navigator of the light cruiser USS Marblehead. He took command of the fleet oiler USS Neches in April 1936.

In June 1937, he was enrolled as a student in the senior course at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. After completing the course in May 1938, he remained at the Naval War College for an additional year as a member of the staff.

World War II

In June 1939, he became Operations Officer on the staff of Vice Admiral Charles P. Snyder, Commander Battleships, Battle Force, aboard Snyder's flagship USS West Virginia. When Snyder was elevated to command of the entire Battle Force in January 1940, McCormick followed him to the Battle Force flagship USS California as Operations Officer on the Battle Force staff. Snyder requested early relief in January 1941 after his superior, Admiral James O. Richardson, was summarily replaced by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the new Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. Upon assuming command in February 1941, Kimmel recruited McCormick to be Assistant War Plans Officer on the Pacific Fleet staff, in which post McCormick was serving during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

After the Pearl Harbor disaster, Kimmel was relieved by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who retained Kimmel's entire staff. McCormick became Nimitz' War Plans Officer in April 1942, serving in that capacity during the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. On 30 June 1942, McCormick was injured in a seaplane accident while accompanying Nimitz to Alameda Naval Air Station. Despite suffering a fractured vertebra, McCormick never went on the sick list, choosing to continue on active duty while wearing a plaster cast for three months.

He was promoted to Rear Admiral on 15 July 1942, and, upon completing his tour on Nimitz' staff, was awarded the Legion of Merit. He was detached in February 1943 to take command of the battleship USS South Dakota, operating off the Atlantic coast and later with the British Home Fleet.

From October 1943 to March 1945, he was assigned to the staff of Chief of Naval Operations Ernest J. King as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Logistics Plans, with additional duty as Chairman of the Joint Logistics Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which capacity he accompanied King to the second Quebec and Yalta conferences. His logistics work earned him a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. He would later be quoted as saying, "I am tempted to make a slightly exaggerated statement: that logistics is all of warmaking, except shooting the guns, releasing the bombs, and firing the torpedoes."

In March 1945, he returned to the Pacific theater as Commander of Battleship Division 3, serving as Task Group Commander for two months at the Battle of Okinawa. He was awarded a second Gold Star for his Legion of Merit.

Post-War Service

After the war, he participated in the initial occupation of Japan until November 1945, when he was assigned as Chief of staff and Aide to Admiral John H. Towers, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPAC/CINCPOA). McCormick was named Deputy Commander-in-Chief in December, and was advanced to the temporary rank of Vice Admiral on 13 February 1946.

He served as Commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, from February 1947 until November 1948. In January 1948, he led a mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina, aboard the heavy cruiser USS Albany to establish cordial relations with the Argentine military. He reverted to his permanent rank of Rear Admiral upon being assigned as Commandant, Twelfth Naval District, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, on 8 December 1948.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations

In 1949, Chief of Naval Operations Louis E. Denfeld was fired for his participation in the Revolt of the Admirals and replaced by Admiral Forrest P. Sherman. Because the new Chief of Naval Operations was a naval aviator, he was expected to select a new Vice Chief of Naval Operations, since the incumbent, Vice Admiral John D. Price, was also an aviator and it was established practice to have only one aviator in the two top staff positions. Sherman selected McCormick, whose long experience with undersea warfare was regarded as significant by naval observers because submarine and anti-submarine warfare were expected to be the Navy's principal role in the event of another war.

Upon relieving Price as Vice Chief, McCormick was again promoted to Vice Admiral, with date of rank 3 April 1950. On 20 December 1950, President Harry S. Truman nominated McCormick for the rank of Admiral, increasing the number of full Admirals in the Navy to five. Truman's declaration of a national emergency had lifted the legal limits on the number of three- and four-star officers, and McCormick was promoted to grant him equal standing with the Vice Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force. He was confirmed in his new four-star rank of Admiral on 22 December 1950.

Sherman died unexpectedly on 22 July 1951, while on a diplomatic trip to Europe. As Acting Chief of Naval Operations, McCormick was one of six candidates considered to succeed Sherman, along with Admirals Arthur W. Radford, Robert B. Carney, and William M. Fechteler; and Vice Admirals Richard L. Conolly and Donald B. Duncan. During the selection process, McCormick took himself out of the running by loudly expressing "his desire for a fleet command." Fechteler was named Chief of Naval Operations on 1 August 1951, and McCormick was selected to replace Fechteler as Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. When the change was announced, press reports noted that this would be McCormick's first fleet command, and speculated that the lack of a fleet command in his record had eliminated him from consideration as Sherman's successor.

Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet

He became Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) and Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) on 15 August 1951. A month later, at the re-commissioning ceremony for the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, McCormick aroused comment by indicating that atomic bombs had been developed that were small enough to be carried by the light bombers deployed on aircraft carriers. "Eventually, I think every carrier will be equipped with atomic bombs. Since their reduction in size they have become more available for carrier use." His remarks were consistent with his previous statement while acting Chief of Naval Operations that atomic weapons use should be treated more normally: "It is in our interest to convince the world at large that the use of atomic weapons is no less humane than the employment of an equivalent weight of so-called conventional weapons. The destruction of certain targets is essential to the successful completion of a war with the U.S.S.R. The pros and cons of the means to accomplish their destruction is purely academic."

As Fechteler's CINCLANT successor, McCormick inherited Fechteler's long-delayed appointment as the first Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Naval Forces in the Atlantic. Fechteler's nomination for the post was announced on 19 February 1951, but had been stalled by British opposition led by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who took offense at the concept of subordinating the Royal Navy to an American Admiral and demanded that a British Admiral be appointed instead. Incumbent Prime Minister Clement Attlee confirmed Fechteler's nomination in July, but Fechteler almost immediately vacated command of the Atlantic Fleet to become Chief of Naval Operations, giving Churchill the opportunity to reopen the issue when he resumed the premiership in October. Churchill now argued that there was no need for a single supreme naval Commander, suggesting that the Atlantic instead be divided into American and British sectors, but the U.S. insisted on unity of command and Churchill ultimately had to yield to American pressure, reluctantly consenting to McCormick's appointment in January 1952.

Despite his distaste for the idea of any American as Supreme Atlantic Commander, Churchill had no objection to McCormick personally, declaring that McCormick would "inspire the highest confidence" as that Commander. To assuage British sensitivities, McCormick said that he regarded the Royal Navy as a model for his men, that he knew London better than New York, and that he was equally at home in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Portsmouth, NH.

Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic

McCormick was appointed Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) on 30 January 1952, and opened SACLANT headquarters in Norfolk, VA, on 10 April. As SACLANT, he reported directly to the NATO Standing Group, and was coequal in the NATO military hierarchy with General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). McCormick's new command extended from the North Pole to the Tropic of Cancer and from the shores of North America to those of Europe and Africa, with the exception of the English Channel and British coastal waters. It was said to be the largest naval command given an individual since Christopher Columbus had been appointed Grand Admiral of the Ocean Seas in the fifteenth century. It was also said that McCormick was an Admiral without a fleet, since he would only command allied forces during wartime. However, as Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, he exercised peacetime control over most of his actual striking power.

Soon after becoming SACLANT, McCormick traveled to every NATO capital seeking pledges of contributions from allied navies. He hoped that the European allies could begin by preparing to secure their own national waters in the event of war, but quickly found that the smaller nations viewed SACLANT as a concern primarily for the U.S., Britain, and Canada, the major NATO seapowers. He complained to the NATO Standing Group that Europe treated his appointment as an excuse for complacency: "Now that SACLANT is appointed, we no longer have any naval worries, he will take care of everything for us...we need not do anything now."

In September 1952, NATO held its first major naval exercise, Operation Mainbrace, commanded jointly by McCormick and SACEUR General Matthew B. Ridgway. Operation Mainbrace involved 160 allied ships of all types and tested SACLANT's ability to "provide northern flank support for a European land battle." The exercise assumed that Soviet forces had already swept through West Germany and were moving into Denmark and Norway, and was intended in part to "reassure the Scandinavian signatories that their countries could be defended in the event of war." At the conclusion of the exercise, McCormick and Ridgway stated that Operation Mainbrace had highlighted several weaknesses in NATO for future correction. "Many questions have been asked during the exercise as to whether any great lessons were learned from it. The answer is no....A test of this sort enables us to determine our weaknesses and the corrective measures we must take. Thus far certain weaknesses have been revealed, but we regard none of them as insurmountable. Mainbrace is not an ending--it is merely a beginning."

The next year, NATO conducted a follow-up exercise, Operation Mariner, from 16 September to 4 October 1953. McCormick called Operation Mariner "the most complete and widespread international exercise ever held," involving 500,000 men, 1,000 planes, and 300 ships from nine navies. The exercise tested a variety of allied naval capabilities, ranging from command relationships to mine warfare and intelligence, although "there was no strategic concept other than Blue was fighting Orange." Convoys crossed the Atlantic while defending against submarines and surface ships. In order "to keep us all atomic minded," both sides launched and defended against simulated nuclear attacks. McCormick viewed the exercise as a qualified success, showing that ships and aircraft of the disparate NATO navies could cooperate effectively even under adverse weather conditions, although there had been problems with communications and logistical support. After the exercise, McCormick told a dinner of the American Council on NATO on 29 October 1953, that the Kremlin was "well aware" of the importance of the transatlantic sea lane and was readying submarines to fight another possible Battle of the Atlantic. While Operation Mariner had demonstrated that NATO could control the Atlantic given sufficient forces, he warned, "The forces we have available at present to counter the potential underseas menace would be spread precariously thin for this task."

At the end of McCormick's tour, Chief of Naval Operations Robert B. Carney looked for a successor who would be better at standing up to the British staff at SACLANT headquarters. "I had felt a great deal of concern about the handling of the U.S. interests down there and in the Atlantic, vis-à-vis the British...I had felt that the U.S. viewpoint had been handled rather naively in some previous instances and that it was imperative that we put somebody down there who could take care of these interests." Carney selected Admiral Jerauld Wright, who relieved McCormick on 12 April 1954.

President, Naval War College

After stepping down as SACLANT, McCormick was appointed President of the Naval War College in the rank of Vice Admiral on 3 May 1954.

The most significant event of his presidency was the establishment in 1956 of the Naval Command Course, a new course for senior naval officers from up to 30 allied and friendly nations, organized and directed by Captain Richard G. Colbert at the behest of Chief of Naval Operations Arleigh A. Burke. The Naval War College staff was initially unenthusiastic about the new course, worrying that it would detract from the regular courses. However, McCormick had already witnessed the difficulties caused by a lack of inter-allied understanding during large-scale SACLANT operations like Operation Mainbrace, and he gave Burke his full cooperation. Burke recalled, "[McCormick] was absolutely correct that this new course should not reduce the caliber of the other work the War College was doing. The president and his staff made many helpful suggestions right from the start and after it was going awhile, their enthusiasm grew, perhaps due to the quality of the foreign officers assigned."

On 16 August 1956, McCormick suffered a heart attack in his quarters around 3 a.m., and died four hours later at the Naval Hospital in Newport at the age of 61; the day before the start of classes for the 1957 course year. Students and faculty were stunned, since he had appeared to be in excellent health. Greeting the incoming students the next day, McCormick's Chief of Staff and acting successor, Rear Admiral Thomas H. Robbins, Jr., stated that McCormick would not have wanted his death to interfere with college routine, declaring, "The Admiral's love and devotion to this college could not be excelled. He spent his last days here devoting himself selflessly of his energies, broad experience, and wisdom to keep this college in the forefront of the military education field and in preparing officers to better serve our country in these perilous times."

Medals, Awards and Badges

Legion of Merit (3 Awards)
World War I Victory Medal with Grand Fleet Clasp
American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal Naval Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal

Submarine Warfare Officer Badge


He was the namesake of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lynde McCormick.


The scion of an old Navy family, McCormick was remembered as a man of extreme reserve of manner who was viewed by associates as the precisely correct quarterdeck Admiral. A SACLANT subordinate recalled him as "a delightful, smart clean-cut gentleman."

He married Lillian Addison Sprigg Graham on 2 October 1920. Lillian was the widow of McCormick's best friend at the U.S. Naval Academy, Lieutenant Ivan Montrose Graham (Honoree Record ID 218504), also in the class of 1915. Ivan fathered a son, Montrose Graham, but died of Influenza on 21 September 1918 in Quebec, Canada, while on duty in World War I, without ever having the opportunity to see his son. McCormick adopted Ivan's son and renamed him Montrose Graham McCormick (Honoree Record ID 210300). Navy Lieutenant Commander Montrose Graham McCormick, who commanded a submarine during World War II, was killed in a plane crash near Perth, Australia in 1945. His body was not recovered.

Lynde and Lillian had two sons together: Navy officer Lynde Dupuy McCormick, Jr., and Marine 1stLt James Jett McCormick II (Honoree Record ID 218503), who was severely wounded at the Battle of Okinawa.

His father, Rear Admiral Albert Montgomery Dupuy McCormick, was a Spanish-American War veteran and former fleet surgeon for the Atlantic Fleet.

Death and Burial

Admiral Lynde Dupuy McCormick died of a heart attack on 16 August 1956. He is buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

His wife was buried with him after her death on 25 July 1981.


Honoree ID: 594   Created by: MHOH




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