Arthur W. Radford

Arthur W. Radford

Infobox Military Person
name= Arthur William Radford
born= birth date|1896|2|27
died= Death date and age|1973|8|17|1896|2|27
placeofbirth= Chicago, Illinois
placeofdeath= Bethesda, Maryland
placeofburial= Arlington National Cemetery

caption= Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN (Ret.)
allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Navy
serviceyears= 1916-1957
rank= Admiral
commands= Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
battles= World War I World War II
awards= Navy Distinguished Service Medal (4) Legion of Merit (2)

Arthur William Radford (February 27, 1896 – August 17, 1973) was an United States Navy Admiral, Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Command and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Arthur Radford was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1896. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1916, Radford served on board the USS "South Carolina".

A career naval officer, Radford completed flight training in 1921 after serving in World War I and was appointed Chief of Aviation Training in 1941, shortly before World War II. During WWII, Admiral Radford commanded Carrier Division Eleven in the Pacific during 1943 and Carrier Division Six in 1944. In 1948, Radford was named Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the next year was appointed High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands.

In 1953, at the height of the Cold War, Admiral Radford became the third Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served in that position until 1957, when he retired. During his retirement, Radford still advised Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson from time to time and was selected as a member to the Draper Committee.

As Chairman of the JCS, Admiral Radford paid close attention to the fate of the French in Indochina, and especially during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. At Admiral Radford's urging, US air support (in the form of two B-26 bomber squadrons) was dispatched to defend the beleaguered French garrison. It is also reported that Radford discussed with the French the possibility of using atomic weapons in support of the Dien Bien Phu base.(3)

Admiral Radford died in 1973 at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. He was buried with full military honors in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.

The Spruance class destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford (DD-968) was named for him.


Obituary from an unknown and undated naval publication supplied by a niece of Admiral Radford to this writer:


Adm. Arthur W. Radford, USN (Ret.), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Eisenhower administration, died on 18 August of cancer at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Born in Chicago, young Radford entered the Naval Academy from Iowa in 1912 and graduated in 1916. His first assignments were to USS "South Carolina" and as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Commander Battle Division One during WWI. Foreseeing the future importance of naval aviation, Radford requested flight training, from which he was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1920. Following a tour in BuAer, he served with aviation units in the tender USS "Aroostook" and battleships USS "Colorado" and USS "Pennsylvania".

From 1927 to 1929 Adm. Radford was attached to the Naval Air Station in San Diego, then headed the Alaskan Survey Detachment investigating forest and mineral resources in Alaska by airborne surveys. He then joined USS "Saratoga", commanding Fighter Squadron One from July 1930 to May 1931 and then shifting to the staff of Commander Aircraft Battle Force. Another tour in BuAer was followed by duty as Navigator Of USS "Wright", further assignment to the staff of ComAirBatFor, command of NAS Seattle from 1937 to May 1940, and a year as Executive Officer USS "Yorktown".

Radford was then ordered to OpNav as Director of Aviation Training, to the Tenth Naval District to establish and commission NAS Trinidad, and returned to BuAer in December 1941.

In July 1943, Adm. Radford was appointed Commander of Carrier Division 11 and led it into action against the Japanese at Baker, Makin and Tarawa Islands. As a result of this campaign he was given the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation read in part:

"Through his courageous initiative and aggressive determination, the first carrier-borne Night Fighter teams were organized and trained at sea, later proving their value by effectively dispersing a hostile night torpedo attack."

The words, "courageous initiative and aggressive determination," could be applied to most of Adm. Radford's activities. His mind was a happy combination of the imagination necessary to conceive a plan and the ability to carry it out successfully.

For ten months in 1944 Adm. Radford served as Asst. DCNO (Air) in OpNav with additional duty on the Special Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on Reorganization of the National Defense, then returned to the Pacific as ComCarDiv 6 for the remainder of the war. In December 1945 he became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air) and, after a year in command of the Second Fleet, returned to the Navy Department as Vice Chief of Naval Operations. At the outbreak of the Korean War, he was serving as Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, and as High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In addition he was given increased responsibilities concerning Military Assistance Programs in Southeast Asia.

In June 1953, Adm. Radford was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the President and on August 15, 1955 was reappointed for a second term. He retired from Naval service August 1, 1957.

Throughout his career, Adm. Radford was a staunch advocate of a firm U.S. stand against Communist gains. Toward this end he pressed for establishment of a Naval Air Station in the Far East. He strived at all levels to make this vital link in the defense posture of Southeast Asia a reality. The Korean War soon made the need all too obvious and it was finally decided to build at Cubi Point. Construction companies, considering the feat impossible because of the tremendous amount of earth to be moved and the problems of maintaining a vast work force in jungle terrain, refused to bid. The Navy's SeaBees stepped in and completed the project in five years.

"Radford's folly" became a reality. In July 1956, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he returned to Cubi Point to commission the new station. President Magsaysay of the Philippines joined the U.S. officials in dedicating the field "to the peace and security of the Free World." Almost twenty years later, on 21 December 1972, the Cubi Point Naval Air Station honored Adm. Radford in ceremonies changing the name of its airfield to Arthur W. Radford Field. Adm. Radford had the unusual honor of being able to make the dedication speech himself. The plaque reads:

"Dedicated in honor of Admiral Arthur W. Radford, whose foresight in founding U.S. Naval Air Station Cubi Point has enabled the United States Navy to provide invaluable support to the Seventh Fleet and to carry out its obligations under the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty."

In addition to his Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Adm. Radford also received three gold stars in lieu of a second, third and fourth Distinguished Service Medal; the Legion of Merit with a Gold Star in lieu of a second medal; a Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Commendation; World War I Victory Medal with "Atlantic Fleet" clasp; American Defense Service Medal with "Fleet" clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; WWII Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star; and Companion of the Order of the Bath by the Government of Great Britain.

Since his retirement, Adm. Radford resided in Washington, D.C., where his wisdom and counsel were sought by a wide range of agencies and organizations in the fields of finance, industry, strategic research, public service, and government.

External links

* [ Arthur W. Radford] , "Dictionary of Naval Fighting Ships", Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy.
* [ Arthur William Radford, Admiral, United States Navy] , Arlington National Cemetery profile.
* Jules Roy, The Battle of Dien Bien Phu, New York, 1963, p. 213.
* The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 1, Document 21, Memorandum for the Record, Meeting of the President's Special Committee on Indochina, 29 January 1954, pp. 443-447. (Available at []
*findagrave|6606083 Retrieved on 2008-02-05

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