Gene La Rocque
|Gene R. La Rocque|
|Born||June 1918 (age 97)
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1940 – 1972|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Other work||Center for Defense Information|
La Rocque was born in Kankakee, Illinois and began his naval service in 1940. When the attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out, he was serving on the USS Macdonough. He participated in 13 major battles in World War II and worked for seven years in the Strategic Plans Directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the Battle of Kwajalein, he was the first man to go ashore in the landings at Roi-Namur.
He retired in 1972, disillusioned over the Vietnam War. La Rocque and his colleagues testified before Congress, appeared frequently in the media, and consulted many national and international political leaders.
In the 1980s, La Rocque founded a weekly public affairs television program, America's Defense Monitor. In 1974, he stated that in his experience, any ship that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, carries nuclear weapons and do not off-load them when they are in foreign ports. The statement directly conflicted with the Department of Defense's "neither confirm nor deny" (NC/ND) policy regarding such weapons and sparked controversy in Japan, which has had a non-nuclear policy since World War II.
As a Lieutenant Commander, La Rocque was commanding officer of USS Solar, destroyed on 30 April 1946 in an explosion at Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle (now Naval Weapons Station, Earle) in New Jersey. Five enlisted men and one officer were killed with 125 other wounded.
- The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Oxford University Press.