Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, USN, (1888-1946)
Theodore Stark Wilkinson was born on 22 December 1888 in Annapolis, Maryland. Appointed from Louisiana to the U.S. Naval Academy, he graduated in 1909. For his two-year required Midshipman sea duty, he reported to USS Kansas and USS South Carolina. Commissioned an Ensign in June 1911, he was later assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C. In August 1913, he received orders to USS Florida and was serving on board during the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico. On 21 and 22 April 1914, he led his men while fighting the enemy at the head of his company, ensuring the capture of the city. For his "distinguished conduct in battle" on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. After a promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade in June, he was briefly assigned to USS Tennessee then transferred to USS North Carolina. In July 1915, he returned to Florida as Aide to Commander, Second Division, Atlantic Fleet and remained an Aide on board when she became the flagship for Commander, Seventh Division.
In July 1916, Wilkinson returned to the Bureau of Ordnance and was promoted to Lieutenant a year later. In February 1918, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In July 1919, he received orders to Kansas and later transferred to USS Pennsylvania. Remaining at sea, he commanded, in succession, the destroyers Osborne, Goff, and Taylor. In January 1922, he returned to the Bureau of Ordnance. In January 1925, he assumed command of USS King. In September 1926, he was promoted to Commander and was assigned to the Bureau of Navigation. Reporting for duty in June 1930 as the Fleet Gunnery Officer and Aide to Commander Scouting Fleet, he served in that position for over a year until becoming the Secretary for the Navy's General Board, attending arms limitation conferences at Geneva, Switzerland and London, England. In September 1934, he became the Executive Officer of USS Indianapolis until ordered to the Bureau of Navigation. In February 1937, he was promoted to Captain.
In June 1939, Wilkinson became the Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander, Scouting Force on board Indianapolis. Remaining at sea, he commanded USS Mississippi. In October 1941, he returned to Washington, D.C. and was promoted to Rear Admiral a month later. After the start of World War II, he became Director of Naval Intelligence. In August 1942, he became Commander, Battleship Division Two, Pacific Fleet, transferring to become Deputy Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force. Remaining in the Pacific, he assumed command of Third Amphibious Force, South Pacific Force and was promoted to Vice Admiral in August 1944. During this time, his position was redesignated as Commander, Third Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet. For his service in the Pacific, Wilkinson received three Distinguished Service Medals. In September 1945, he briefly had duty at the Chief of Naval Operations Office before serving on the Joint Strategic Survey Committee of the Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 21 February 1946, his life was tragically lost in a car accident. Theodore S. Wilkinson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
USS Wilkinson (DD-930, later DL-5), 1954-1974, was named in honor of Vice Admiral Wilkinson.
This page features, and provides links to, selected views concerning Theodore S. Wilkinson.
For additional images related to Theodore S. Wilkinson, see:
- Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, USN, Portraits - Commander to Vice Admiral
- Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, USN, Group views taken 1914-1940
- Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, USN, Group views taken 1943-1945
Medal of Honor citation of Ensign Theodore Stark Wilkinson, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 103):
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