Sunday, January 08, 2017

Admiral William Lowndes Calhoun

My father served in the Navy during the latter portion of World War II. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor. My niece very kindly put together a very attractive album containing photographs and other momentos of his military service. One of the photographs is an 8x10, personally autographed by a Vice Admiral whose name appears to be H. L. Calhoun. I searched for him on the internet and could not come up with anything. However, one site reference a William Lowndes Calhoun, and after looking more closely at the signature, and then at photographs, that is who it is.

On 13 March 1945, Vice-Admiral W. L. "Uncle Bill" Calhoun was named Commander of the South Pacific Area (COMSOPAC), which would have been his command during the latter part of Daddy's enlistment. Prior to that time he had been Commander Service Force, Pacific Fleet, and as such he played a pivotal role in establishing the supply system for the South Pacific. In his book, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, author S. E. Morison said, "A man who inspired deep affection from those who came in contact with him, he allowed no difficulties to daunt him. As Admiral [Raymond] Spruance said, 'There was nothing the fleet wanted that Uncle Bill wouldn't get.'"

W. L. Calhoun retired 1 December 1946.  On 14 January 1954, Calhoun was given a combat promotion to Admiral, USN, Retired, with his commission dated 7 August 1947. Fleet Admiral Chester. W. Nimitz flew from Berkeley. CA, to Coronado, CA, to make personal delivery of this commission at the Naval Air Station, San Diego.

Photograph of William L. Calhoun

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