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Notable Graduates

William M. Fechteler

William M. Fechteler

Chief of Naval Operations

Class of 1916
  • Chief of Naval Operations, 1951-1953



William Morrow Fechteler was born in San Rafael, California, on 6 March 1896, the son of Lieutenant (later Rear Admiral) Augustus F. Fechteler, USN. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1916 and served in the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38) during World War I. Over the following two decades, Fechteler had a variety of seagoing and shore billets, including several staff positions and command of the destroyer Perry (DD-340).

Promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in early 1944, he was Commander of the Seventh Fleet's Amphibious Group 8 from August 1944 to March 1945, participating in landings at Morotai, Leyte, Lingayen and elsewhere in the Philippines. He spent the rest of 1945 as Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel, in Washington, DC, followed by service as Commander, Battleships & Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet. As a Vice Admiral, he was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Personnel, from February 1947 until January 1950 and, as an Admiral, was Commander in Chief, Atlantic and U.S. Atlantic Fleet in February 1950 - August 1951.

In August 1951, Admiral Fechteler was appointed Chief of Naval Operations, succeeding Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, who had died in office in July. As CNO, Fechteler was responsible for sustaining Korean War era naval activities in the Far East and in the European area. He made two trips across the Atlantic in 1951-52 and one to Asia. He was able to continue the Navy's building program for new aircraft carriers in the face of economy moves and to expand pay and benefits for the Navy's people.

When the President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office in 1953, he chose to replace all the Armed Forces' chiefs. In August 1953, Admiral Fechteler exchanged positions with the new CNO, Admiral Robert B. Carney, becoming Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe. He served at that command's Naples headquarters until July 1956, when he retired. Admiral William M. Fechteler died on 4 July 1967.

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