Harold W. Gehman Jr.

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Harold W. Gehman Jr.
Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr..jpg
Admiral Harold W. Gehman
Born (1942-10-15) October 15, 1942 (age 77)
Norfolk, Virginia
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1965-2000
RankUS Navy O10 infobox.svg Admiral
Commands heldUnited States Joint Forces Command
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsLegion of Merit
Bronze Star
Other workChairman, Columbia Accident Investigation Board
Co-chair, Cole Commission
BRAC committee

Admiral Harold W. Gehman Jr. (born October 15, 1942) is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic (SACLANT), Commander-in-Chief of the United States Joint Forces Command, one of the United States' Unified Combatant Commands, and Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He was also the Co-Chairman of the Commission that investigated the terrorist attack on the USS Cole and was Chairman of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) after the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry in 2003, killing all seven crew members.

Military career[edit]

Sources: Gehman Bio (from US Naval Academy) and Gehman Bio (from National Defense University)

Gehman was born in Norfolk, Virginia on October 15, 1942 and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a commission in the Navy from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.

A Surface Warfare Officer, he served at all levels of leadership and command in guided missile destroyers and cruisers. During the course of his career, Gehman had five sea commands in ranks from Lieutenant to Rear Admiral.

Gehman served in Vietnam as Officer in Charge of a Swift patrol boat and later in Chu Lai as Officer in Charge of a detachment of six swift boats and their crews.

His staff assignments were both afloat on a Carrier Battle Group staff and ashore on a fleet commander's staff, a Unified Commander's staff and in Washington, D.C. on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations (four tours).

Promoted to four-star Admiral in 1996, he became the 29th Vice Chief of Naval Operations in September 1996. As Vice Chief of Naval Operations he was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formulated the Navy's $70 billion budget and developed and implemented policies governing the 375,000 people in the Navy.

Assigned in September 1997 as Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic and Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Command (later changed to Joint Forces Command), he became one of NATO's two military commanders and assumed command of all forces of all four services in the continental United States and became responsible for the provision of ready forces to the other Unified Commanders in Chief and for the development of new joint doctrine, training and requirements.

He retired from the Navy in October 2000.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png
1 golden star.svg1 golden star.svg
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png Bronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png
Badge Surface Warfare Officer Pin
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal | Legion of Merit with two gold award stars
2nd Row Bronze Star Meritorious Service Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal
3rd row Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with award star Combat Action Ribbon Joint Meritorious Unit Award
4th Row Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Navy "E" Ribbon National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
5th row Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four service stars Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
6th row Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation Vietnam Campaign Medal

Post military[edit]

In retirement, Gehman has served as chairman of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board,[1] co-chair, with retired general William W. Crouch, of the Department of Defense's Cole Commission,[1][2] on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee,[3] and is a Senior Fellow of the National Defense University's Capstone Program.[citation needed]


Gehman is married to the former Janet F. Johnson and they have two children, Katherine and Christopher.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b "Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr, USN (Ret.)" (PDF). www.usna.edu. December 7, 2005. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  2. ^ Gilmore, Gerry J. (November 3, 2000). "Cole Commission Focuses On Force Protection Measures". defense.gov. US Department of Defense. American Forces Press Service. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "Biographies of the Nine BRAC Commissioners". www.brac.gov. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  4. ^ Schwartz, John (August 24, 2003). "Investigator's Assignment Nears End". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2019 – via www.nytimes.com.
  5. ^ "ADM Hal W. Gehman, U.S NAVY (Retired)". www.ndu.edu. National Defense University. June 6, 2003. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "National Defense University bio".
 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "US Naval Academy bio".

External links[edit]