CAPTAIN EARL EVERETT STONE, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 4/16/44-2/20/45 Capt. Stone was in charge of fitting the USS WISCONSIN and was her first C.O. taking command with the rank of Captain upon her commissioning 16 April 1944. A US Naval Academy graduate, Class of 1918, Rear Admiral Stone served aboard the USS CLEVELAND in the first war. He was Executive Officer aboard the USS CALIFORNIA when that battleship was damaged 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor. Rear Admiral Stone holds the Legion of Merit with one Gold Star for his services while attached to the Division of Naval Communications. In January, 1946, Rear Admiral Stone became Chief of Naval Communications. Retired as RADM
CAPTAIN JOHN WESLEY ROPER, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 2/20/45-12/18/45 assumed command of the USS WISCONSIN on 20 February 1945, and with the rank of Captain directed her in the assault and occupation of Okinawa and in the final strikes against Japanese Home Islands. For his services in that command he received the Legion of Merit. A 1918 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Roper server on the destroyer USS Roe in World War I. In addition to the Legion of Merit, he received a Letter of Commendation for his services as Operations Officer, South Pacific Area, where he helped plan and direct the Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands Campaigns. Retired as VADM.
CAPTAIN CLARK LAWRENCE GREEN, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 12/18/45-3/11/47 became Commanding Officer of the USS WISCONSIN on 18 December 1945. A US Naval Academy graduate, Class of 1921, Captain Green was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his valuable work coordinating the activities of the United States and British fleets. He was Senior U.S. Liaison Officer serving with the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean from October 1942 to October 1944. In addition, he received a Letter of Commendation for his services in 1945 as Director of Officer Personnel of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.
CAPTAIN JOHN MARTIN HIGGINS, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 3/11/47-7/1/48 was born in Madison, Wisconsin 13 August 1899. He attended high school in the city before his appointment to the US Naval Academy from Wisconsin in 1918. He graduated and was commissioned Ensign in June 1922. He was assigned to the USS MISSISSIPPI, USS MARBLEHEARD, USS NOLOMIS, USS RALEIGH, USS PHILIP, USS MEDUSA, USS MELVILLE, USS ARGONNE and was Communications Officer aboard the USS PENNSYLVANIA. He commanded the Destroyer Divisions 22,23 and 24, Destroyer Squadron 6, Destroyer Division 11 serving at various times aboard the destroyers MURY, FANNING and AULT. For his services in command of Destroyer Division 23 he was awarded the Navy Cross “for extraordinary heroism as Commander Destroyer Division 23 engaged in the New Georgia Islands Operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area from 30 June to 13 July 1943”. In May 1945 he was transferred to Task Flotilla 3 as Commander in Destroyers, Pacific Fleet. He led his destroyer flotilla in attacks against units of the Japanese fleet and shore installations in the Iwo Jima operation, the first and second Tokyo raids, the Kyushu air strikes, the Okinawa operation, and the Minami Daito Shima and Chichi Jima bombardments. In the face of intense and determined air attacks, ships of his flotilla destroyed numerous enemy aircraft to protect the carriers and maintain the offensive power of the warships and aircraft of the task force. He received a second Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious conduct as commander of a destroyer screen in a fast carrier task group from January to April 1945. Detached from that command in November 1945, Captain Higgins returned to the section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He served as Chief of Staff and Aide to the commandant, Fourth Naval District, Philadelphia, PA until 11 March 1947 when he was ordered to command the USS WISCONSIN.
CAPTAIN THOMAS BURROWES USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 3/3/51-2/22/52 born in Brooklyn, New York and was appointed to the US Naval Academy from the 13th Congressional District, New York City. Following his graduation from the Academy in 1925, he was “shaken down” aboard the battleship USS WEST VIRGINIA and later became a turret officer. During World War II Captain Burrowes commanded the destroyers O’BRIEN and ABNER READ. While commanding the O’BRIEN, he earned a commendation from Commander-in-chief Pacific Fleet for having successfully returned that destroyer to port in August 1942, with no loss of life, after its torpedoed bow had been blown off. He participated in the Aleutian campaign, taking part in the assaults on Attu and Kiska as commanding officer of the ABNER READ. While at Kiska the READ’S stern was blown clear by a mine but she was successfully towed 3,000 miles to a US shipyard. Later he took command of Destroyer Division 106 with the USS YARNALL as his flagship. Because his division of destroyers performed their duties with outstanding success as one of the Navy’s first radar picket screens during the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, Captain Burrowes was awarded the Silver Star Medal. After the war, he was given command of a naval task unit at Eniwetok during the atomic tests in 1948. His services there won Captain Burrowes a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
Prior to receiving orders as prospective Commanding Officer of the USS WISCONSIN in February 1951 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In addition to the Silver Star and two citations, Captain Burrowes’ decorations included the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star medals and the respective area campaign ribbons. He was also awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit medal for commanding the WISCONSIN and task elements during operations in the Korean War zone. The Gold Star was conferred upon him by Commander SEVENTH Fleet.
CAPTAIN HENRY C. BRUTON, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 2/22/52-9/24/52 was born in Bellville, Arkansas and was appointed to the US Naval Academy from the 6th Congressional District of Arkansas. His first billets following his graduation in 1926 were aboard the battleships USS CALIFORNIA and USS MISSISSIPPI. Captain Bruton entered the submarine service and later took command of the S-39. From 1941 to 1943 he was the commanding officer of the GREENLING, one of the first four ships in the Navy to be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. For successfully completing two war patrols aboard the GREENLING off Truk, Captain Bruton received a Navy Cross medal and a Navy Commendation ribbon. A second Navy Cross was awarded to him for a patrol off the east coast of Japan between October and November 1942. A patrol in the Solomon Islands earned him this third Navy Cross. While commanding the GREENLING, his submarine was responsible for sinking twelve enemy ships and damaging an aircraft carrier. Later Captain Bruton commanded Submarine Division 82 and Submarine Squadron 2. He also served as Chief of Staff, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. During his tours of shore duty, Captain Bruton completed post graduate courses in radio and law. Prior to his assignments as commanding officer of the WISCONSIN, Captain Bruton served as Director, Legislative Division, in the office of the Judge Advocate General, Washington, DC. In addition to the three Navy Crosses and Navy Commendation ribbon, Captain Bruton’s decorations included two Legion of Merit medals and a Presidential Unit Citation. He also wore a Submarine Combat Insignia and the respective area campaign ribbons.
CAPTAIN ROBERT J. FOLEY, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 9/24/52-9/9/53 assumed command of the USS WISCONSIN on 24 September 1952 as the Flagship of Commander, Second Fleet. WISCONSIN steamed toward Oslo, Norway, culminating the first major combined NATO naval exercise, Operation MAINBRACE. Captain Foley had extensive duty in the submarine service and prior to assuming command of the WISCONSIN he served as Chief of Staff, Submarines, Atlantic Fleet. Although he has seen extensive duty in the submarine service, Captain Foley was far from a stranger aboard “big” ships. He served aboard the cruiser USS FLORIDA, the USS CALIFORNIA , USS WEST Virginia and served as Communications Officer on the Staff of Commander, Battleships, Battle Force. Captain Foley was in the USS ARIZONA as Communications Officer until transferred in April 1941 to duty as Aide and Flag Secretary on the Staff of Commander, Battleship Division TWO and was aboard the USS TENNESSEE during the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor.
CAPTAIN MICHAEL F. D. FLAHERTY, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 9/9/53-6/11/54 was born in North Adams, MA on 19 December 1904. He attended Drury High in North Adams and entered the US Naval Academy in 1924. He was commissioned on 7 June 1928 and has served aboard the battleship USS MARYLAND, the minesweeper MONTGOMERY, the submarine ARGONAUT and the cruiser SALT LAKE CITY. Captain Flaherty fought World War II as executive officer and commanding officer of several lighter-than-air squadrons and also as gunnery officer of the DETROIT. At the war’s close Captain Flaherty was executive office of the MARYLAND. His next assignment was at the Bureau of Ordnance and then to the Pacific Training Group. He was graduated from the Naval War College, Newport, RI in 1949 and assigned as commanding officer of the transport NOBLE. As skipper of the NOBLE he took part in the landings at Inchon and Sonjin. Before coming to the WISCONSIN, Captain Flaherty was head of the Seamanship and Navigation Department at the Naval Academy. Holder of the Bronze Star and the Commendation Ribbons, he also wore the American Defense, Asiatic Theatre, Pacific Theatre, china Service, National Defense and the Korean Service ribbons in addition to the World War Victory and United Nations Service medals. Captain Flaherty assumed command of the Wisconsin 9 September 1953.
CAPTAIN GOLDSBOROUGH S. PATRICK, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 6/11/54-9/3/55 was born on Goat Island, San Francisco CA. He was the son of Chaplain Bower Reynolds Patrick, the senior Chaplain of the Navy. Admiral Patrick had a distinguished Navy career,, culminating in his appointment as inspector general of the Navy in 1963. He was Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group in the Netherlands. His early assignments aboard the AUGUSTA, POPE and the FARRAGUT in the Pacific established him as an innovator in ordnance and gunnery. As gunnery officer, he participated in the development of the concept of a combat information center to integrate the data available from new technologies being introduced into the fleet. In the summer of 1941 he served as a commander of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. His directive that ships moored in Pearl Harbor store live ammunition in their gun mounts contributed to the resistance of the Japanese attack. In 1943 he commissioned the PRESTON, under his command for the duration of the war in the Pacific. He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with his command of the PRESTON during the assaults on the islands of Okinawa and Iwo Jima in 1945, He received a letter of commendation with ribbon for meritorious service, the Bronze Star Medal and a Gold Star. He assumed command of the WISCONSIN 11 June 1954. Retired as RADM
CAPTAIN FREDERIC S. KEELER, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 9/3/55-9/1/56 was born in Chicago, Ill on 13 February 1906. He entered the US Naval Academy in 1925 and was graduated as Ensign in June 1929. Upon graduating from the Academy he was assigned to duty aboard the USS COLORADO. In subsequent tours of duty he served aboard the cruiser CHARLESTON, and the destroyers SIMPSON and WINSLOW. He was Staff Gunnery Officer of Commander Destroy Squadron Nine in the Atlantic and served as Executive Officer of the University of Washington NROTC. He commanded the attack transports APPLING and MENIFEE and the destroyers TALBOTT and BENHAM. Captain Keeler was also Chief Staff Officer, Destroyer Task Flotilla Four as well as Chief of Staff and Aide of Commander Cruise Division One in the Pacific. Before assuming command of the WISCONSIN on 3 September 1955, Captain Keeler was Head of the Officer Distribution Branch, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC. Among his decorations are two Bronze Stars with “V”, three Letter of Commendation Ribbons with “V” and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with seven engagement stars.
CAPTAIN JOHN ODGERS MINER, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 9/1/56-3/8/58 was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on 12 June 1910. He entered the US Naval Academy in June 1927 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree as Ensign on 4 June 1931. After graduation from the Academy he was assigned to the battleship MARYLAND where he served for two years. In subsequent tours of duty prior to World War II he served on destroyers, cruisers and the old battleship UTAH, the USS MINNEAPOLIS, USS CUSHING and was Executive Officer on the USS MEADE. He placed the destroyer TINGEY in commission and assumed his first command on that ship in December 1943. Commanding her for twelve months, Captain Miner and the TINGEY participated in Pacific Theatre operations with the Third and Fifth Fleets. Among his decorations is a letter of commendation for “meritorious conduct while commandant the TINGEY in the Pacific”. He was also awarded the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as commanding officer of that same destroyer during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War area. From January 1946 to January 1954 Captain Miner performed various duties both ashore and afloat. Before boarding the WISCONSIN on 1 September 1956 he served a US Naval Attache in Rome Italy, where he received the Order of Merit of the Italina Republic. In addition to the Silver Star Medal and the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Miner had the American Defense Service Medal with star, the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five engagement stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal, China Service Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.
CAPTAIN JERRY M BLESCH, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 10/22/88-9/28/90 was born near Fort Thomas, Kentucky on 9 May 1938. He was educated in the public school system and attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky before being accepted to the US Naval Academy. He was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy in 1962. Captain Blesch was subsequently awarded a Master of Science Degree in Management from the naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. His first assignment as onboard the destroyer USS DOUGLAS H FOX, (DD779), where he served as First Lieutenant, Gunnery Officer and Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. He then attended Department Head School in Newport, RI and was assigned as Operation Officer and Navigator on board USS VOGELGESANG (DD862). Subsequent sea duty assignments include: Executive Officer of USS VOGE (DE1047), and Commanding Officer of USS RICHARD L PAGE (FFG5). During this tour, PAGE was awarded the Battenburg Cup, signifying the top unit in the Atlantic Fleet. Captain Blesch commanded the Sixth Fleet Flagship, USS PUGET SOUND (AD38), homeported in Gaeta, Italy. His last afloat assignment was in the Pacific as Commander, Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Five where he was the On-Scene Commander for the US following the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight 007. His shore assignments have included tours in the Bureau of Naval Personnel; the Office of the Ombudsman of the Navy; Navy Recruiting District, Houston, Texas; Tactical Training Group Atlantic Fleet, and Executive Assistant for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training. He served as Executive Assistant for Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, when he was selected as Prospective Commanding Officer of USS WISCONSIN (BB64). Captain Blesch assumed command of the Wisconsin for her second recommissioning on 22 October 1988.
CAPTAIN DAVID S. BILL III, USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 9/28/90-4/27/91 is a native of Norfolk, VA He is a 1966 graduate of the US Naval Academy. During his initial tour of duty, Captain Bill served aboard USS JOHN KING (DDG3) as Gunnery Assistant and ASW Officer. After two years at sea, he was ordered to River Patrol Flotilla Five in the MEKONG DELTA, RVN. During 1968-1969 he made 150 combat patrols as a Patrol Officer in River Division 554 and as Executive Officer of River Division 514. After a year in Vietnam, Captain Bill attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in the Ordnance Engineering Program, returning to sea in 1972 as Weapons Officers in USS JP KENNEDY DD850 and as Operations Office in USS TALBOT, (FFG 4). From 1975 to 1976 Captain Bill served as Flag Lieutenant to Commander, Naval Forces Caribbean, before attending the Royal Naval Staff College in Greenwich, England. After a year as Ordnance Logistics Officer on the staff of the commander, US Naval Forces Europe, Captain Bill reported for duty as Executive Office of USS COONTZ (DDG40), homeported in Norfolk, VA. In 1981 Captain Bill assumed duties as Flag Secretary to Command SIXTH Fleet, homeported in Gaeta, Italy, where he served until 1983.Captain Bill commanded USS MAHAN (DDG42) from 1984-1986. Following this first command Captain Bill was an instructor at the Tactical Training group Atlantic in Dam Neck, Va. From 1986 to 1988 he served as the Fleet Introduction Officer for the AEGIS program and as Executive Assistant to the Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command. In July 1988 he assumed command of the USS MOBILE BAY (CG53) . His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit with one star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with one star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the combat Action Ribbon. Captain Bill assumed command of the USS WISCONSIN on 28 September 1990. Upon his return from the Gulf War, Captain Bill attained the rank of RADM.
CAPTAIN COENRAAD van der SCHROEFF USN Captain, USS WISCONSIN 4/27/91-9/30/91 received his commission through Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1964. Upon commissioning he was assigned to the Naval War College for a brief period as Senior Foreign Officer Liaison. Subsequent at-sea assignments followed as Communications Officer and Damage control Assistant in USS BERKELEY DDG15 Weapons Officer in USS LEONARD F. MASON (DD852). Combat Information Officer in the commissioning crew of USS TARAWA (LHA1), Executive Officer of USS WADDELL (DDG24) and Commanding Officer of USS HENRY B WILSON (DDG7). Following that command, he was the Operations Officer for Commander, Middle East force from October 1983 to May 1985. He subsequently commanded USS ENGLAND (CG22) from August 1988 to September 1990.Captain van de Schroeff earned a Master of Science degree in chemistry in the ordnance Engineering Cirriculum at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA and graduated from the Naval War college in 1986. He has been awarded personal decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. He assumed command of the USS WISCONSIN on 27 April 1991 to 30 September 1991 and was WISCONSIN’S last commander.
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