Vice Admiral Edmund B. Taylor,
1904 - 1973
Edmund Battelle Taylor was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 4 April 1904, but spent his childhood in Ohio, from which state he was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1921. As a Midshipman he excelled in athletics, being a member of the Varsity Football Team (and its Captain in 1924), the Varsity Lacrosse Team (All-American, 1924-25), and the Basketball and Boxing Squads. Graduated on 4 June 1925, he subsequently had sea duty in the Battleships New York, Texas and Wyoming and the destroyers Hatfield, Leary and Perry, interspersed with assignments to the Naval Academy as Assistant Football Coach, Assistant Lacrosse Coach, and Instructor in Ordnance and Gunnery.
Duty as Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the Staff of Commander Destroyers, Battle Force, and in the Officer Personnel Division of the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, preceded his World War II service in command of the Destroyer Duncan. That vessel, under his command, rescued survivors of the USS Wasp and was later lost from severe damage received while launching a successful torpedo attack against the Japanese cruiser Furutaka. For extraordinary heroism in that command, he was awarded the Navy Cross, and received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
He was Commanding Officer of the USS Bennett when that destroyer, while on her shakedown cruise to the Caribbean early in 1943, rescued survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship. After his detachment in July 1943, he had successive command of Destroyer Division 90 and Destroyer Squadron 45 in the South and Central Pacific areas. The Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal were awarded him for outstanding services in command of Destroyer Division 90 at Empress Augusta Bay and in the Bismarck Archipelago area; and the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry as Commander Destroyer Squadron 45 in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea.
During the last eight months of the war he served as Aide to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, and in May 1946 returned to the Naval Academy as Head of the Department of Physical Training and Director of Athletics. In July 1948 he went to sea as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, and remained afloat from January 1950 to January 1951 as Commanding Officer of the USS Salem. He again served in the Navy Department, first in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, later as Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Navy, and when promoted to Flag Rank in 1952, he returned to sea in command of a Destroyer Flotilla of the Atlantic Fleet.
He had eighteen months' service as Commander US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prior to his assignment in August 1955 as the Navy's Chief of Information. On 18 January 1958 he assumed command of a Destroyer Force, US Atlantic Fleet and on 31 January 1960 became Commander Antisubmarine Defense Force, Atlantic Fleet (later redesignated Antisubmarine Warfare Force, Atlantic) in the rank of Vice Admiral. [Cuban Missile Crisis] "For exceptionally meritorious conduct..." in that capacity from February 1960 to November 1963 he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit. On 11 December 1963 he received his permanent rank of Rear Admiral upon reporting as Commandant of the Fifth Naval District, and Commander US Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia, and for "exceptionally meritorious service..." in that assignment was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
On 1 May 1966 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy and was advanced to Vice Admiral (the highest rank he held while active duty). Vice Admiral Taylor died 30 April 1973.
Date and place of birth: 4 April 1904, Chicago Illinois, spent childhood in Ohio.
Parents: Edmund Blanton and Rebecca Attwood (Battelle) Taylor.
Wife's name and date of marriage: Elizabeth Fay Valiant of Wardour, Annapolis, Maryland, 1 September 1926.
Children: 1 daughter and 1 son.
Education: Central High School, Lima, Ohio; US Naval Academy, 4 June 1925.
Decorations and Medals:
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit (Combat "V")
Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (Combat "V")
Purple Heart Medal
Letter of Commendation (Ribbon)
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1 silver star, 4 bronze stars)
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Philippine Liberation Ribbon
Ensign, 4 June 1925
Lieutenant (jg), 4 June 1928
Lieutenant, 1 August 1934
Lieutenant Commander, 1 July 1939
Commander, 1 August 1942
Captain, 20 May 1943
Rear Admiral, 1 September 1952
Vice Admiral (T), 30 December 1959 to 6 November 1963
Transferred to the Retired List of US Navy and advanced to rank of Vice Admiral (the highest rank held on active duty) 1 May 1966
Chronological Transcript of Naval Service:
June 1925 - August 1926 USS New York
August 1926 - December 1926 Naval Academy (Assistant Football Coach
1927 - April 1929 USS Wyoming
April 1929 - January 1931 USS Hatfield
January 1931 - June 1932 USS Leary
June 1932 - May 1945 Naval Academy (Instructor, Department of Ordnance and Gunnery) Also Assistant Football Coach 1933; Assistant Coach Lacrosse Team 1933, 1934, 1935; Officer representative of Lacrosse 1939
June 1935 - December 1936 USS Philip (Executive Officer)
December 1936 - June 1937 USS Perry (Executive Officer)
June 1937 - May 1939 Staff, Commander Destroyers, Battle Force (USS Detroit) Aide and Flag Lieutenant
June 1939 - February 1942 Bureau of Navigation (later Bureau of Personnel), Records Section, Officer Personnel Division
February 1942 Fleet Sound School, Key West, Florida (instruction)
February 1942 - November 1942 USS Duncan Commanding Officer (commissioned 16 April 1942)
January 1943 - August 1943 USS Bennett Commanding Officer (commissioned 9 February 1943)
August 1943 - May 1944 Destroyer Division 90 Commander USS Anthony
May 1944 - November 1944 Destroyer Squadron 45 Commander USS Fullam & Hudson
December 1944 - May 1946 Aide to Secretary of Navy, Navy Department
June 1946 - June 1948 Naval Academy, Head, Department of Physical Training, Director of Athletics
August 1948 - January 1950 Staff, Commander in Chief, Pacific, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations
February 1950 - January 1951 USS Salem Commanding Officer
February 1951 - December 1951 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, (Personnel Planning)
January 1952 - February 1953 Assistant to Under Secretary of Navy, Navy Department
February 1953 - February 1954 Destroyer Flotilla 2 Commander
February 1954 - September 1955 Naval base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Commander
September 1955 - December 1957 Chief of Information, Navy Department
January 1958 - December 1959 Commander Destroyer Force, US Atlantic Fleet
January 1960 - November 1963 Commander Antisubmarine Defense Force, Atlantic Fleet (Later redesignated Antisubmarine Warfare Force, Atlantic)
December 1963 - April 1966 Commandant, Fifth Naval District, Norfolk, Virginia
1 May 1966 Retired
Navy Cross: "For extraordinary heroism...during action against enemy Japanese naval forces off Savo Island on October 11, 1942. Although his ship had sustained heavy damage under hostile bombardment, Lieutenant Commander Taylor, by skillful maneuvering, successfully launched torpedoes which contributed to the destruction of a Japanese cruiser. Maintaining the guns of the Duncan in effective fire throughout the battle, he, when the vessel was finally put out of action, persistently employed to the fullest extent all possible measures to extinguish raging fires and control severe damage..."
Distinguished Service Medal: "For exceptionally meritorious service...as Commandant Fifth Naval District and Commander U.S. Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia, during the period November 12, 1963 to April 30, 1966, command relationship with our Canadian Allies to the end that our total ASW forces may now complement each other and function as one force..."
Bronze Star Medal: "For meritorious service in action against the enemy...operating in the Bismarck Archipelago area on the night of February 24-25 1944. Commander Taylor led his ships deep into enemy held waters in a harassing night raid and bombardment of Japanese installations in the vicinity of Rabaul. Despite known enemy shore batteries and possible mine fields, he directed the attack at close range, which resulted in severe damage to supply areas and ammunition dumps. Due to his excellent seamanship and skillful execution of the attack, no damage was inflicted on any of his ships..."
Letter of Commendation: "For meritorious action and distinguished service...during the operations subsequent to the loss of the USS Wasp. His fine judgment in seamanship made possible the successful rescue of many officers and men in an area where enemy submarines were actively present..."
Source: Adapted from the biographical sketch for Vice Admiral Edmund B. Taylor, Navy Biography, Navy Office of Information, Internal Relations Division, (OI-430), 17 July 1966; now part of the Modern Biography Files, Navy Department Library, Naval History & Heritage Command.