William J. Crowe
William James Crowe, Jr. (January 2, 1925 – October 18, 2007) was a United States Navy admiral who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and as the ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Bill Clinton.
Early life and education
Crowe was born in La Grange, Kentucky on January 2, 1925. At the beginning of the Great Depression, Crowe's father moved the family to Oklahoma City. In June 1946, Crowe completed a war-accelerated course of study and graduated with the Class of 1947 from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
From 1954 to 1955, Crowe served as assistant to the naval aide of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. From 1956 to 1958, Crowe served as executive officer of the submarine USS Wahoo (SS-565). In 1958, he served as an aide to the deputy chief of naval operations. In 1960, Crowe took command of USS Trout (SS-566), homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, and served as commanding officer of that ship until 1962. From there, Crowe earned a master's degree in education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and then, turning down an invitation from Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to enter the Navy's nuclear-power program, earned an M.A. and a PhD in Political Science at Princeton University. During the Vietnam War he was the senior adviser to the Vietnamese Riverine Force. In 1969, he returned to service to take command of Submarine Division 31, homeported in San Diego, California.
A long string of assignments followed:
- 1967—Head of East Asia Pacific Branch, Politico-Military Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
- 1970—Senior adviser to the Vietnamese Navy Riverine Force
- 1973—promoted to Rear Admiral and named Deputy Director, Strategic Plans, Policy, Nuclear Systems, and NSC Affairs Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
- 1975—Director, East Asia and Pacific Region, Office of the Secretary of Defense
- 1976—Commander, Middle East Force (COMMIDEASTFOR)
- 1977—promoted to Vice Admiral and named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Plans, Policy and Operations
- 1980—promoted to Admiral and named Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH)
- 1983—as CINCSOUTH, named Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR)
- 1983—Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC)
On July 10, 1985, Crowe was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He continued to serve as CJCS through the Bush administration until 1989, when he retired from active duty. He was the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve under the provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 where he as chairman became (not the collegial body of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), by statute, the principal military adviser to the president, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. In 1989, Army General Colin L. Powell replaced him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Later life and death
After he retired in October 1989, Crowe returned to the University of Oklahoma and William J. Crowe chair in geopolitics. Crowe surprised politicians when he endorsed Bill Clinton in the presidential election of 1992. President Clinton named Crowe chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1993. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Crowe the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and he served in that capacity until 1997.
He sat on the boards of Texaco, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, Norfolk Southern Corporation, and General Dynamics. He also served on the board of Emergent BioSolutions (then Bioport), a company that provided controversial anthrax vaccinations to the U.S. military in the 1990s. The deal was approved by the Clinton administration, with which Crowe had a previous relationship. At the time of his death, Crowe served as the chairman of the board of Global Options, Inc., an international risk-management and business solutions company headquartered in Washington, D.C.
As he did at the University of Oklahoma in 1990–91, Crowe taught a seminar class on national security at the United States Naval Academy from 2000 to 2007.
In 2004, Crowe was among 27 retired diplomats and military commanders who publicly said the administration of President George W. Bush did not understand the world and was unable to handle "in either style or substance" the responsibilities of global leadership.
Crowe died on October 18, 2007, at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland at age 82 because of a heart condition. His funeral was held on October 31, 2007, at the Naval Academy chapel; Bill Clinton spoke. He was buried later that day in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. As of 2015, he is the only deceased former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to not be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2008, a fellowship was established in Crowe's honor at the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce to support a former member of the U.S. armed forces who—like Crowe—is shifting from military to diplomatic service.
In 2009, the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma established the Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. Award. This award is presented to an outstanding International and Area Studies (IAS) graduate every spring semester. The award recognizes an IAS student who has demonstrated high academic achievement, a commitment to public service, and a desire to pursue a career in global affairs.
Crowe was married to Shirley Grennell in 1954. They had three children.
Dates of rank
- Seaman recruit, United States Naval Reserve: December 4, 1942
- Midshipman, United States Naval Academy: June 23, 1943
|Ensign||Lieutenant junior grade||Lieutenant||Lieutenant commander||Commander||Captain|
|June 5, 1946||June 5, 1949||June 1, 1952||January 1, 1958||July 1, 1962||July 1, 1967|
|Rear admiral (lower half)||Rear admiral (upper half)||Vice admiral||Admiral|
|June 1, 1974||August 1, 1977||September 26, 1977||June 6, 1980|
- At the time of Admiral Crowe's promotion, all rear admirals wore two stars, but the rank was divided into an "upper" and "lower half" for pay purposes
Awards and recognition
In 1993 Crowe published his memoirs in the book The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military.
Crowe received four Defense Distinguished Service Medals and numerous military decorations from heads of state. In 1998, the Atatürk Society of America honored Crowe with the "Atatürk Peace and Democracy Award." Following his retirement from the Navy, he was awarded a 2000 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
Awards and decorations
- "Former Joint Chiefs Chair Crowe Dies," AP, Oct 18, 2007.[dead link]
- June 13, 2004, by the Los Angeles Times.
- Former JCS chairman Crowe dies at 82, Air Force Times; October 18, 2007.
- William J. Crowe Jr
- Turkish Press Review, dated April 28, 1998.
- Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients, retrieved July 30, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William J. Crowe Jr..|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: William J. Crowe|
- Obituary in The Times, October 23, 2007
- Navy Historical Center: Biographies in Naval History
- GlobalOptions, Inc.
- University of Oklahoma International Programs Center
- Senate statement on Crowe's tenure as CJCS
- White House Press Office announcement of Crowe's nomination as ambassador
- The American Thinker, The Guns of '88: Lessons of the Forgotten Tanker War, April 25, 2006. Retrieved August 5, 2006. Crowe talks about U.S. involvement in the Tanker War portion of the Iran–Iraq War.
- Crowe's foreword to No Higher Honor: Saving the Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf.
John William Vessey Jr.
|Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Raymond G. H. Seitz
|U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom