Robert F. Willard

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Robert F. Willard
Willard 2010.jpg
Willard in December 2009
Born (1950-12-05) December 5, 1950 (age 63)
Bell, California, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1973–2012
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held U.S. Pacific Command
U.S. Pacific Fleet
U.S. Seventh Fleet
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
USS Tripoli (LPH-10)
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit (4)
Meritorious Service Medal (3)
Navy Commendation Medal (4)

Robert Frederick "Bob" Willard[1] (born December 5, 1950)[2] is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the 22nd Commander, U.S. Pacific Command from October 19, 2009[3] to March 9, 2012. He previously served as Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet from May 8, 2007 to September 25, 2009.[4][5] Prior to that, he served as the 34th Vice Chief of Naval Operations from March 18, 2005 to April 2007. On March 9, 2012, Admiral Willard retired from the Navy after 39 years of service. On May 9, 2012, he was elected president and chief executive officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, succeeding retired Navy admiral James O. Ellis, Jr.

Navy career[edit]

Willard is a Los Angeles native. In 1969, he graduated from East Longmeadow High School in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1973. He also holds a Master of Science degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University and was a fellow at MIT's Seminar XXI.

An F-14 naval aviator, Willard served consecutively in Fighter Squadron 24 (VF-24), Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124), and Fighter Squadron 2 (VF-2) at NAS Miramar, deploying aboard USS Constellation (CV-64), USS Ranger (CV-61), and USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). He then joined Navy Fighter Weapons School Top Gun as Operations Officer and Executive Officer, as well as aerial coordinator for the Paramount film Top Gun.

In 1987, Willard reported to Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51), where he served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of the Screaming Eagles, embarked in USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). He subsequently attended Navy Nuclear Power Training before rejoining Carl Vinson as Executive Officer. Willard then commanded the flagships USS Tripoli (LPH-10) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in various operations including Somalia, and the Persian Gulf.

As a flag officer, Willard has served on the Joint Staff as Deputy Director for Operations (Current Readiness and Capabilities); Commander, Carrier Group Five embarked in USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63); Deputy and Chief of Staff, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Commander, Seventh Fleet, embarked in USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) in Yokosuka, Japan; and Director for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment (DJ8) on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From March 2005 to April 2007, Willard was the 34th Vice Chief of Naval Operations. After, he was the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet from May 8, 2007 until September 25, 2009 when he was relieved by Admiral Patrick M. Walsh. As the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, he was responsible for the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100,000,000 square miles (260,000,000 km2) and more than 170 ships and submarines, 1,300 aircraft, and 122,000 Sailors, Reservists and civilians.

Popular culture[edit]

Willard appeared in and was a consultant for the 1986 film Top Gun. He pilots the MiG-28 that receives "the bird" from Goose and Maverick. His callsign is "Rat," and his podcast is called the Rat-Pac Report.

In March 2010, a video in which Rep. Hank Johnson expressed his concern to Willard that the island of Guam might "capsize" and "tip over" went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views from thehill.com, hotair.com and latimes.com and was ultimately seen over three millions times.[6] Willard reassured the Congressman, "we don't anticipate that," for which he received wide popular admiration.[7][8][9]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
United States Pacific Command.png
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Gold star
Gold star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal with 2 golden award stars
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Legion of Merit with 3 award stars
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 award stars
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Navy Commendation Medal with 3 award stars
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award-3d.svg Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Unit Commendation
Bronze star
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation with 1 bronze service star
Navy "E" Ribbon w/ 3 Battle E devices
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with 2 bronze service stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with 3 bronze service stars
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with 1 bronze service star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with 1 bronze service star
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service ribbon.svg Korea Defense Service Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 1 silver and 1 bronze service star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon with 3 bronze service stars
USN Expert Rifle Ribbon.png Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
USN Expert Pistol Shot Ribbon.png Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal

Non-U.S. decorations[edit]

JPN Kyokujitsu-sho 1Class BAR.svg Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan, 1st class, Kyokujitsu-Daijusho (旭日大綬章))[1]
Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (Military Division)[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article contains material from the United States Federal Government and is in the public domain.

External links[edit]

Media related to Robert Willard at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Timothy J. Keating
Commander of the United States Pacific Command
October 19, 2009 - March 9, 2012
Succeeded by
Samuel J. Locklear
Preceded by
John B. Natham
Vice Chief of Naval Operations
2005 – 2007
Succeeded by
Patrick M. Walsh