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Bennett, Floyd (25 October 1890–25 April 1928), aviator, was born at Truesdale Hill, Town of Caldwell (now Lake George), New York, the son of Wallace Bennett and Henrietta (maiden name unknown). At age nine he went to live with his uncle and aunt in Warrensburg, New York, where he attended public schools and did farm work. He left school at age seventeen and worked for a year in a lumber camp near Lake George to earn money to attend an automobile school in Schenectady. He then worked at the People’s Garage in Ticonderoga. He eventually became co-owner but later sold his share and moved to Hague, New York, where he was employed as a mechanic in R. F. Bolton’s garage. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 15 December 1917, serving at naval air stations at Bay Shore, New York; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Pensacola, Florida. In 1918 he married Cora Lillian Orkins of Ticonderoga; they had no children....

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Boorda, Jeremy Michael (28 November 1938–16 May 1996), admiral and chief of naval operations, was born in South Bend, Indiana, on 26 November 1938, the son of Herman Boorda, a clothing merchant, and Gertrude Frank Wallis Boorda. At the age of sixteen he dropped out of high school and enlisted in the navy after lying about his age. Thereafter he took readily to discipline and was assigned to the Naval Air Technical School in Norman, Oklahoma. In March 1957 he married Bettie Ray Moran; they had four children....

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Boyington, Gregory (04 December 1912–11 January 1988), Marine Corps fighter pilot, was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the son of Guy Boyington and Grace Hallenbeck, apple ranchers. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Washington in 1934, and that year he married Helene Clark. Before divorcing in 1941, they had three children, one of whom became an Air Force fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. After a year with Boeing Aircraft, Boyington entered the Marine Corps as an aviation cadet in 1936....

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Brown, Jesse Leroy (13 October 1926–04 December 1950), naval aviator, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the son of John Brown, a farmer. His mother’s name is not known. From the time he was a small boy, Brown was interested in flying: at the sight of an airplane flying above, he turned to a friend and said, “Some day I’m going to fly one of those” (Weems, p. 36). He held fast to his dream. He studied hard at the all-black Eureka High School, and his principal, recognizing that the school did not prepare students well for college, taught Brown and other promising students more advanced subjects. He was also an excellent athlete, participating in basketball and track and playing halfback on Eureka’s state championship football team....

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Buchanan, Franklin (13 September 1800–11 May 1874), U.S. and Confederate naval officer, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of George Buchanan, a prominent doctor and abolitionist, and Laetitia McKean. He entered the U.S. Navy as a midshipman in 1815, a few months after the end of the War of 1812, and was ordered to the new frigate ...

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Burke, Arleigh (19 October 1901–01 January 1996), admiral and chief of naval operations, was born Arleigh Albert Burke in Boulder, Colorado, the son of Oscar A. Burke and Claire Mokler Burke, farmers. After being educated at numerous preparatory schools, Burke gained admittance to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1919. He graduated four years later, 71st in a class of 413. On his graduation day in 1923 he married Roberta Gorsuch; they had no children. Over the next two decades Burke fulfilled routine naval service duties ashore and at sea; in 1931 he received a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. Following a two-year tour with the navy's bureau of ordnance in 1937, he became executive officer of the destroyer ...

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Byrd, Richard Evelyn (25 October 1888–11 March 1957), naval aviator and explorer, was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of Richard Evelyn Byrd, an attorney, and Eleanor Bolling Flood. The family had long been prominent in Virginia; Byrd’s brother Harry Flood Byrd served as governor and several terms as a U.S. senator. After traveling alone around the world at the age of twelve, Byrd attended the Shenandoah Valley Military Academy, Virginia Military Institute (1904–1907), the University of Virginia (1907–1908), and the U.S. Naval Academy, receiving his ensign’s commission in 1912....

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Dahlgren, John Adolphus Bernard (13 November 1809–12 July 1870), naval officer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Bernard Ulric Dahlgren, a merchant and diplomat, and Martha Rowan. Dahlgren received his early education at a Quaker school in Philadelphia. Because of his father’s position as Swedish consul, the Dahlgrens were a well recognized and respected family. When the elder Dahlgren died suddenly in 1824, the family was left in financial difficulty. Though initially denied entrance, thanks to family connections in February 1826 Dahlgren was granted an appointment as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy. His first assignment was to the frigate ...

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Davis, Charles Henry (16 January 1807–18 February 1877), naval officer and hydrographer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Davis, solicitor general of Massachusetts, and Lois Freeman, the sister of James Freeman, the first Unitarian minister in New England. Davis entered Harvard College in 1821 but left two years later to become a midshipman and did not complete his degree until 1841. From 1824 to 1840 Davis served in the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the West Indies, the South Atlantic, and the Pacific; made warm friends, including ...

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Dewey, George (26 December 1837–16 January 1917), naval officer, was born in Montpelier, Vermont, the son of Julius Yemans Dewey, a prominent physician and insurance company president, and Mary Perrin. His mother died when Dewey was just five years old. After study at Norwich University, Dewey entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1854. The rambunctious plebe accumulated 113 demerits during his first year at the academy, but he graduated in 1858, fifth in his class of fifteen. After a cruise in the Mediterranean on the new frigate ...

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Du Pont, Samuel Francis (27 September 1803–23 June 1865), naval officer, was born at “Goodstay,” Bergen Point (now Bayonne), New Jersey, the son of Victor Marie du Pont, an importer who had been consul of France in Charleston, and Gabrielle Joséphine de La Fite de Pelleport. He was the only grandson of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours to spell his name with a capital ...

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Elliott, Jesse Duncan (14 July 1782–10 December 1845), naval officer, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, the son of Robert Elliott, a soldier, and Ann (maiden name unknown). When his father was killed during General Anthony Wayne’s Indian campaign of 1794, Elliott was subsequently raised and educated in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He had contemplated a legal career, but on 2 April 1804 he joined the navy with a midshipman’s warrant. His first assignment was aboard the frigate ...

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Engen, Donald Davenport (28 May 1924–13 July 1999), naval officer, test pilot, public servant, was born in Pomona, California, the son of Sydney M. Engen, a stockbroker and later an Internal Revenue Service employee, and Dorothy Davenport Engen. Engen spent his childhood years in southern California, principally in Pasadena. When he was in fourth grade, he decided that he wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and become a naval officer....

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Evans, Robley Dunglison (18 August 1846–03 January 1912), rear admiral, was born in Floyd County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Andrew Jackson Evans, a country physician, and Sally Ann Jackson. At age eleven, following his father’s death, Evans moved to Washington, D.C., to live with his uncle. There he attended public schools and developed an interest in the sea. At age thirteen Evans moved to Utah to establish residence in that state and from there gained an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, which he entered on 20 September 1860. Resisting family pressure to join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War, Evans continued his studies and graduated with the class of 1864, whose graduation was accelerated to 1863 to meet the exigencies of the war. At age seventeen he was commissioned acting ensign....

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Farragut, David Glasgow (05 July 1801–14 August 1870), first admiral of the United States, was born James Glasgow Farragut at Campbell’s Station, a few miles southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of George Farragut, a ferryboat operator, and Elizabeth Shine. Appointed a sailing master in the U.S. Navy in 1807, the father moved his family to New Orleans where George became close friends with David Porter, Sr. When Porter became fatally ill, Elizabeth Farragut nursed him until she died of yellow fever on 22 June 1808. After helping George Farragut retire to a plantation on the Pascagoula River near Mississippi Sound, ...

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Goldsborough, Louis Malesherbes (18 February 1805–20 February 1877), naval officer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Charles Washington Goldsborough, the chief clerk of the Navy Department, and Catherine Roberts. As a result of his father’s political influence, Goldsborough was appointed midshipman in 1812, when he was only seven; however, he did not receive orders to sea until he was eleven. After being commissioned lieutenant in 1825, Goldsborough took a two-year leave of absence to travel and study in Europe....

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Halsey, William Frederick, Jr. (30 October 1882–16 August 1959), naval officer, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of William Frederick Halsey, an officer in the U.S. Navy, and Anne Masters Brewster. Always intending to follow in his father’s footsteps, Halsey, after a year at the University of Virginia, secured a place at the U.S. Naval Academy. He ranked forty-third of sixty-two graduates in 1904....

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Hobson, Richmond Pearson (17 August 1870–16 March 1937), naval officer and congressman, was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the son of James Marcellus Hobson, a lawyer, and Sarah Croom Pearson. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in May 1885. The youngest member of his class, he was put “in Coventry” (ostracism via the silent treatment) by his classmates for placing some of them on report and spent the balance of his second- and all of his first-class years under the ban. Never lower than third academically, he graduated in 1889 first in his class. The ostracism was to cast a long shadow on the active naval career of one who, in his own words, “ ...

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Jones, John Paul (06 July 1747–18 July 1792), revolutionary war naval officer and hero, was born John Paul in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, on the southwestern coast of Scotland, the son of John Paul, a gardener, and Jean MacDuff. After attending the local Presbyterian school, he apprenticed at age thirteen to a shipowner at the nearby port of Whitehaven. His first ship made several voyages that carried provisions to Barbados, thence rum and sugar to Virginia, and returned to Whitehaven with tobacco. The postwar economic slump ended his apprenticeship and sent him briefly into the slave trade, which he called “abominable.” At twenty-one Paul was master and supercargo of a ship sailing out of Kirkcudbright to the West Indies. Returning to Scotland from Tobago, he was briefly jailed in 1770 on a charge of murder, for having flogged a sailor who later died. Exonerated, Paul became the master of a large West Indies trader out of London. Again he found trouble in Tobago: during a mutiny he killed a sailor in what he claimed was self-defense. Perhaps in fear for his life, he fled to Virginia in October 1773 and became “Mr. John Jones.”...

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King, Ernest Joseph (23 November 1878–25 June 1956), naval officer, was born in Lorain, Ohio, the son of James Clydesdale King, a railroad shop foreman, and Elizabeth Keam. King earned an appointment through competitive examination to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1897. After brief duty on the cruiser ...