Admiral of the Navy (United States)

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Insignia for Admiral of the Navy.

Admiral of the Navy is a rank in the United States Navy that has only been held once in history, by George Dewey. In recognition of his victory at Manila Bay in 1898, United States Congress authorized a single officer to hold the rank of admiral, and promoted Dewey to this rank in March 1899. By a Congressional Act of March 24, 1903, Dewey's rank was established as Admiral of the Navy, effective retroactive to March 1899. The text of the act read as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized to appoint, by selection and promotion, an Admiral of the Navy, who shall not be placed upon the retired list except upon his own application; and whenever such office shall be vacated by death or otherwise the office shall cease to exist.[1]

It was further specified that this rank was senior to the four-star rank of admiral and was equal to Admiral of the Fleet in the British Royal Navy. The rank lapsed with the death of Admiral Dewey on January 16, 1917.

The rank Admiral of the Navy was seen as a six-star rank during World War II,[2] with the establishment of the rank of five-star Fleet Admiral. It was during this time that the Department of the Navy specified that the new 1944 version of the rank of Fleet Admiral was to be junior to Dewey's rank of Admiral of the Navy. During the preparations for the invasion of Japan, a proposal was raised by the Navy Department to appoint Chester W. Nimitz to the rank of Admiral of the Navy, or grant him some equivalent rank.[3] The proposal, however, was dropped after the Japanese surrender.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CHAP 378, "An act creating the office of Admiral of the Navy", United States Congress
  2. ^ Pogue, F. C.; Bradley, O. N. (1973). George C. Marshall: Organizer of victory, 1943–1945. New York: Viking Page. p. 365. ISBN 0-670-33694-7. 
  3. ^ United States Naval Service Record of Chester Nimitz, Military Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri