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Callaghan, Daniel J.

Callaghan, Daniel J.

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Rear Admiral, USN, (1890-1942)

Daniel Judson Callaghan was born on 26 July 1890 in San Francisco, California. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from that same state and graduated as a Midshipman in 1911. He reported to USS California and was promoted to an Ensign in March 1912. Callaghan transferred to USS Truxton and was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade in March 1915, later assuming command. Continuing sea duty, he reported in November 1916 to USS New Orleans. Upon the United States' entry into World War I, he was temporarily promoted to Lieutenant in July 1917, then to Lieutenant Commander a year later. In November, Callaghan was assigned to the Bureau of Navigation in Washington D.C.. Returning to sea, he received orders to USS Idaho, where his promotion to Lieutenant Commander was made permanent. In June 1923, he began a tour at the Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific Coast Section at San Francisco, California.

In May 1925, Callaghan was assigned to USS Colorado , later transferring to USS Mississippi. After these tours, he returned to the Pacific Coast Section of the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey. In June 1930, he became Aide first to Commander, Battleships Battle Force, Commander Battle Force then to Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet where he was promoted to Commander in June 1931. For his next tour, Callaghan was the Executive Officer of the NROTC Unit at the University of California, Berkley, California. He then completed a brief tour on board USS Portland before reporting as the Operations Officer to Commander, Cruisers Scouting Force. In July 1938, he received orders as Naval Aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was promoted to Captain that October.

In May 1941, Callaghan assumed command of USS San Francisco. After the United States' entry into World War II, he was promoted to Rear Admiral in April 1942 and became Chief of Staff to Commander, South Pacific Force. On 12-13 November, while serving as Commander of Task Force Sixty-Seven.Four on board flagship San Francisco, he took part in the bitterly fought Guadalcanal Campaign against the Japanese off Savo Island. Despite the enemy's superior naval power and navigational communication problems, Callaghan's tactical skills contributed to turn the tide of the war against the Japanese in the Pacific. While directing close-range operations on the bridge wing in the middle of the night, he was mortally wounded by enemy bombardment. For his "extraordinary heroism", he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Daniel J. Callaghan was buried at sea and is listed on the American Battle Monuments Commission's "Wall of the Missing" at Manila, Philippine Islands.

USS Callaghan (DD-792), 1943-1945 and (DDG-994), 1981-1998 were named in honor of Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan.

This page features formal portraits of Daniel J. Callaghan, and provides links to selected informal views of him.

For additional images related to Daniel J. Callaghan, see:

Commander Daniel J. Callaghan, USN, -- Informal views taken circa 1931-1938 

Captain Daniel J. Callaghan, USN, -- Informal views as Naval Aide to President Roosevelt, 1938-1940