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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Washington

Birthplace: Goldsboro, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Date of Birth: 06 June 1865

Date of Death: 15 December 1954

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1889-1929
Thomas Washington

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1887

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


Thomas Washington

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Thomas Washington was born on 6 June 1865 in Goldsboro, NC. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy on 17 May 1883. He graduated on 10 June 1887 and, after the required two years of sea duty during which he served on the European Station in the sloops USS Enterprise and Lancaster, was commissioned Ensign in 1889. Over the ensuing three years, he briefly served in U.S. Coast Survey Ship Endeavor, followed by a tour in the gunboat Alliance to the Far East. He was assigned to the office of the Navy's Judge Advocate General in 1892.

Subsequently, after duty on several trial boards for general courts martial at the Norfolk and Washington Navy Yards, he was assigned to a succession of ships USS-Montgomery (C-9), Terror (BM-4) and Patterson (DD-36)-before joining the battleship Indiana (BB-1) in early 1898. He was on this ship when she helped to defeat the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera on 3 July 1898 in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. His younger brother and naval cadet, Pope Washington, was one of the survivors of the explosion of the Maine.

After a second tour of duty ashore in the office of the Judge Advocate General, Washington served on the General Board. Ordered to the Asiatic Station, he then joined the staff of Rear Admiral Robley D. "Fighting Bob" Evans, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, on 29 October 1902. Quartered on the battleship USS Illinois (BB-7), the Asiatic Fleet's flagship, he remained on Evans' staff until detached on 1 June 1904.

Special duty at the Bureau of Navigation followed his return from the Orient and preceded his assuming command of dispatch boat USS Dolphin (PG-24), the vessel which was then serving as the Secretary of the Navy's yacht. Washington next put in another tour with the Bureau of Navigation for duty before returning to sea in 1912 to command, in turn, the gunboat USS Yorktown and cruisers Charleston (C-22) and Denver (C-14) over the next two years.

World War I

On 20 April 1914, Washington-by then a Captain-assumed the duties of Hydrographer of the Navy. World War I broke out in Europe less than four months after Washington assumed the Hydrographer's duties, depriving the U.S. of its external sources of oceanographic and hydrographic information. Washington and his small staff responded by independently gathering the necessary data for use by the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine.

Relieved as hydrographer on 23 June 1916, Washington was given command of the battleship USS Florida (BB-30). A few months after the U.S. entered the war in the spring of 1917, Florida crossed the Atlantic with Battleship Division Nine to operate with the British Grand Fleet. The manner in which he carried out this assignment won Washington the Distinguished Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility."

Post-War Service

On 22 November 1918, eleven days after the Armistice, he assumed command of Flagship Division 3, Battleship Force 1, Atlantic Fleet, flying his "flag" alternately in yachts USS Aramis (SP-418) and Nokomis (SP-609). He subsequently commanded Divisions 2 and 4, successively, of the Atlantic Fleet. Detached from this duty on 9 August, he assumed the post of Chief of the Bureau of Navigation on 11 August, with the accompanying rank of Rear Admiral.

Less than a year later, Washington received orders to duty as Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF). He broke his flag in armored cruiser USS Huron (CA-9) on 11 October 1923 and commanded the Fleet until 14 October 1925. During his tour, the Asiatic Fleet provided support for the U.S. Army's round-the-world flight in the spring of 1924. Operating from the Kurils to Calcutta, the destroyer squadrons of the Fleet sailed on plane-guard stations, transported supplies and spare parts, and provided radio bearings and communications services for the planes, and thus contributed greatly to the success of the flight.

Relieved as CINCAF on 14 October 1925, Washington became Commandant of the Naval Operating Base, San Francisco, CA, on 19 November 1925, and filled the billet until his retirement on 6 June 1929.

Washington advanced on the retired list to the four-star rank of Admiral on 16 July 1942.

In Retirement

In the 1930s, Washington was the Governor of the Philadelphia Naval Home.


The oceanographic research ship USNS Thomas Washington (T-AGOR-10) was named for him.

Death and Burial

Admiral Thomas Washington died on 15 December 1954 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, and his grave is located in Section 3, Site 1738.

Honoree ID: 672   Created by: MHOH




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