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First Name: William

Last Name: Pratt

Birthplace: Belfast, ME, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Veazie

Date of Birth: 28 February 1869

Date of Death: 25 November 1957

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1889 - 1933
William Veazie Pratt

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1889

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


William Veazie Pratt

Admiral, U.S. Navy

William Veazie Pratt was born on 28 February 1869 in Belfast, ME. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1889 and then served in several cruisers and gunboats, visiting Europe, South America and Asia. During 1895-97, Ensign Pratt had the first of three tours as an instructor at the Naval Academy.

He was assigned to the gunboat USS Mayflower during the Spanish-American War and to the cruiser USS Newark afterwards. While in the Newark, he returned to Asiatic waters, where he saw action in the Philippine-American War. A second Naval Academy assignment followed during 1900-02, after which he served in the North Atlantic Fleet flagship USS Kearsarge.

From 1905 to 1908, Lieutenant Commander Pratt's final Naval Academy tour took place. After that, he served as Executive Officer of the cruisers USS Saint Louis and California. Promoted to the rank of Commander in 1910, Pratt was an Instructor at the Naval War College in 1911-13 and spent the next two years in the Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla, much of that as Commanding Officer of its flagship, the scout cruiser USS Birmingham. Captain Pratt was assigned to the Army in Panama and at the Army War College in 1915-17. During the First World War, he served in Washington, DC, as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations in 1918.

Pratt was at sea in 1919-21 as Commanding Officer of the battleship USS New York and as Commander Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. Following a promotion to Rear Admiral in mid-1921, he was a member of the General Board in Washington, and served as a technical advisor during the negotiations that led to the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty of February 1922. He commanded a battleship division in 1923-25 and was President of the court of inquiry that examined the 8 September 1923 Honda Point Disaster. Assignments followed to the General Board and as President of the Naval War College. In 1927, he returned to sea as Commander Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet.

On 26 June 1928, he was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and became Commander Battle. During 1929-30, he was Commander-in-Chief U.S. Fleet.

Admiral Pratt's work with the U.S. Fleet was interrupted in early 1930 by a trip to England to participate in the London conference that further limited the size of the world's major navies. He became Chief of Naval Operations in September 1930 and spent nearly three years in that post, during a time when Depression-era demands for economy made it very difficult to maintain the Navy's size and readiness. During his tenure, he also helped Coast Guard Commandant Harry G. Hamlet in discouraging President Franklin D. Roosevelt from merging the Navy and Coast Guard.

Admiral Pratt retired at the beginning of July 1933.

In Retirement

After retirement from the Navy, Pratt lived in Maine and New York City. During the World War II years, he wrote a regular column for a nationally-circulated magazine and spent several months on active Navy Department duty in 1941 studying measures to counter the German submarine threat.


In 1960, the destroyer USS William V. Pratt (DLG-13, later DDG-44) was named in honor of Admiral Pratt.


Admiral William Veazie Pratt died on 25 November 1957.

Honoree ID: 621   Created by: MHOH




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