William A. Glassford

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William A. Glassford
VADM William A. Glassford.jpg
Born(1886-06-06)6 June 1886
San Francisco, California
Died30 July 1958(1958-07-30) (aged 72)
San Diego, California
Place of burialArlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Vice Admiral
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (2)

William Alexander Glassford (6 June 1886 – 30 July 1958) was a United States Naval officer with the rank of vice admiral, who is most noted for his service during World War II.

Early Naval Career[edit]

William Alexander Glassford was born on June 6, 1886 in San Francisco, California. His father William A. Glassford (1853-1931) was a career Army officer who retired as a colonel. His brother, Pelham D. Glassford, was an Army officer who attained the rank of brigadier general. Glassford attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and graduated on February 12, 1906. He was given the rank of Passed midshipman and ordered for sea duty aboard destroyer USS Preble. He spent next two years at sea, before he was commissioned Ensign (required by then law).

World War II[edit]

Glassford commanded naval forces of the United States Asiatic Fleet during the first month of World War II, and then relocated to Java in the Netherlands East Indies to combine his forces with the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command ("ABDA"). His most notable battle was the Naval Battle of Balikpapan, in which he led a U.S. task force in an attack against Japanese forces that had occupied the port of Balikpapan on Borneo. When Glassford's flagships, the light cruisers USS Boise (CL-47) and USS Marblehead (CL-12), were disabled, he ordered his supporting destroyers to continue with the mission under Commander Paul H. Talbot. The attack came too late to prevent the capture of Balikpapan, and had little effect on the Japanese campaign to capture the resources of the Netherlands East Indies.

After the campaign, Glassford returned to the United States where he held a variety of positions in the 6th Naval District and the Eighth Fleet.

Glassford died on 30 July 1958 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.


Vice Admiral William A. Glassford´s ribbon bar:

Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star
2nd Row Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal with Destroyer Clasp American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp
3rd Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one service star American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two service stars
4th Row World War II Victory Medal Honorary Companion of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom) Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (Italy)
5th Row Papal Lateran Cross Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords Commander of the Order of the Star of Africa (Liberia)


  • U.S. Navy Combat Narrative, The Java Sea Campaign.
  • Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II, Appendix I

External links[edit]