William Crowe was born on 2 January 1925 in La Grange, Kentucky, and grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
After graduating from Classen High School, he attended the University of Oklahoma. Inspired in part by his
father's experiences in the Navy during World War I, Crowe entered the US Naval Academy, graduating in
1946 with the class of 1947. He received a master's and a doctorate in politics from Princeton University.
He taught political science at the Naval Academy, served as a trustee of Princeton University, and was Shapiro
Visiting Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University.
His initial sea tour was aboard the USS Carmick (DMS-33). After completing submarine school in 1948, he
qualified in submarines in March 1950 in the diesel submarine USS Flying Fish (SS-229). Almost all of his
sea assignments over the next decade were on diesel submarines. In 1951 and 1952 Crowe served as Flag
Lieutenant and Aide to the Commander of the US Atlantic Fleet's Submarine Force at New London, Connecticut.
In 1970, at the age of forty-four, Crowe volunteered for service in Vietnam. He served first as an adviser
and then as Senior Adviser to the Vietnamese Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta.
When Chief of the Soviet General Staff Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev was in Washington in December 1987 for the
signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Crowe invited him to the Pentagon, where Akhromeyev
met with the Chairman and the other JCS members in "The Tank." A private Crowe-Akhromeyev meeting led to an
agreement designed to prevent accidental armed conflict between US and Soviet armed forces and to a formal
program of military-to-military dialogue between the services of the two countries. In the summer of 1988
Akhromeyev and the Soviet Service Vice Chiefs visited the United States at Crowe's invitation. When Crowe
and the US Service Vice Chiefs returned the visit in June 1989, he and Akhromeyev's successor, General
Mikhail Moiseyev, signed the Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities and a
military-to-military contacts agreement.
His awards include Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters), Navy Distinguished Service
Medal (with 2 gold stars), Army Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Coast Guard
Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with 2 oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star (with combat "V"), Air Medal.
He held the positions of Head, New Development/Special Weapons Branch, Personnel Research Division, Bureau of Naval
Personnel, Washington, DC; Aide to Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans and Policy), Washington, DC; Head, East
Asia and Pacific Branch, Politico-Military Policy Division, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, DC;
Senior Adviser, Amphibious Task Force 211 and Commander, Task Force 210; Senior Adviser, Deputy Commander, Tran
Hung Dao, Binh Thuy, from 6 Apr 1971 to 20 Aug 1971, US Naval Forces, Vietnam and Naval Advisory Group, Military
Assistance Command, Vietnam; Director, Office of Micronesian Status Negotiations and Deputy to President's Personal
Representative for Micronesian Status Negotiations, Department of Interior, Washington, DC; Deputy Director,
Strategic Plans, Policy and Nuclear Systems Division, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, DC;
Director, East Asia and Pacific Region, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), Washington, DC; Commander,
Middle East Force; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Plans, Policy and Operations and Senior Navy Member, US
Delegation, United Nations Military Staff Committee, Washington, DC; Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe;
Commander in Chief, Pacific Command (redesignated US Pacific Command on 11 October 1983); and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of
Staff, Washington, DC.