Louis E. Denfeld

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Louis E. Denfeld
Louis E. Denfeld.jpg
Birth name Louis Emil Denfeld
Born (1891-04-13)April 13, 1891
Westborough, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died March 28, 1972(1972-03-28) (aged 80)
Westborough, Massachusetts, U.S.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1912–1950
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held USS McCall
Destroyer Division 11
Destroyer Division 18
Destroyer Squadron 1
Battleship Division 9
Pacific Fleet
Chief of Naval Operations
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)

Louis Emil Denfeld (April 13, 1891 – March 28, 1972) was Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Navy from December 15, 1947 to November 1, 1949. He also held several significant surface commands during World War II, and after the war commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Life and Naval career[edit]

Born in Westborough, Massachusetts, Denfeld graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1912. He took command of the destroyer McCall (DD-28) in 1919 and served aboard the submarine S-24 (SS-129) during 1923 and 1924. He commanded Destroyer Division 11 from 1935 to 1937.

Denfeld was selected to be aide to the Chief of Naval Operations in 1939, then commanded first Destroyer Division 18, then Destroyer Squadron 1 from 1939 to 1941. He served as Chief of Staff to the Commander of the Atlantic fleet, Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll. For planning of safe routes for escort convoys in this capacity, Denfeld received the Legion of Merit. He became head of the Atlantic Fleet Support Force in 1941, then assistant chief to the Bureau of Navigation in 1942. He led Battleship Division 9 in 1945, was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Personnel in 1945, and commanded Pacific Fleet and all U.S. forces in the area in 1947.

On February 28, 1947 Denfeld was named Military Governor of the Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, and Mariana Islands, replacing Admiral John H. Towers. Denfeld was appointed Chief of Naval Operations on December 15, 1947. Due to his role in the "Revolt of the Admirals", he was detached from duty by the Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews[1] on November 1, 1949, and retired in 1950.

He was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1950. He lost the Republican nomination to Arthur W. Coolidge. Denfield died in Westborough, Massachusetts at the age of 80. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Admiral Louis E. Denfeld received many decorations during his long navy career. Here is his ribbon bar:

Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Submarine Warfare insignia
1st Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ Gold star and "V" Device
2nd Row Mexican Service Medal Haitian Campaign Medal World War I Victory Medal w/ Battle clasp
3rd Row Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
4th Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ three service stars World War II Victory Medal Philippine Liberation Medal


  1. ^ "Truman Library – Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S. Truman". trumanlibrary.org. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
Military offices
Preceded by
John H. Towers
Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet
Succeeded by
DeWitt C. Ramsey
Preceded by
Chester W. Nimitz
United States Chief of Naval Operations
Succeeded by
Forrest P. Sherman