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Commander Richard M. Nixon, USNR

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Commander Richard M. Nixon, USNR

37th American President

Richard Milhous Nixon joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 29. He was born on 9 January 1913 to Francis Anthony and Hanna Milhous Nixon in Yorba Linda, California. After attending public schools in California, Nixon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Whittier College in 1934. Continuing his education at Duke University, where he acquired a Bachelor of Laws in 1937, Nixon returned to Whittier, California, to practice law. In January 1942, Nixon became an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, D.C., where he worked until he accepted an appointment as lieutenant junior grade in the United States Naval Reserve on 15 June 1942.


Following his appointment, Nixon began aviation indoctrination training at the Naval Training School, Naval Air Station, in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. After completing the course in October 1942, he went to the Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he served as Aide to the Executive Officer until May 1943. Looking for more excitement, Nixon volunteered for sea duty and reported to Commander Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was assigned as Officer in Charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command at Guadalcanal in the Solomons and later at Green Island. His unit prepared manifests and flight plans for C-47 operations and supervised the loading and unloading of the cargo aircraft. For this service, he received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force for "meritorious and efficient performance of duty as Officer in Charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command..." On 1 October 1943, Nixon was promoted to lieutenant.


From August through December of 1944, Nixon was assigned to Fleet Air Wing EIGHT. From December through March 1945, he served at the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. In March, his next assignment was as the Bureau of Aeronautics Contracting Officer for Terminations in the Office of the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Eastern District, headquartered in New York City. In that capacity he had temporary additional duty at various places, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York City, and East Hartford, Connecticut. He was released from active duty on 10 March 1946. He was promoted to commander in the Naval Reserve on 1 June 1953.


While on active duty, besides the Letter of Commendation, Nixon earned the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He is entitled to two engagement stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal for supporting air action in the Treasury- Bougainville operations from 27 October to 15 December 1943, and for consolidation of the northern Solomons from 15 December 1943 to 22 July 1944. Nixon transferred to the Retired Reserve of the Naval Reserve on 1 June 1966.


Additional Resources

Richard Milhous Nixon biography

Six Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) certificates, signed by President Nixon

Nixon's Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968-1972, by John D. Sherwood (PDF)