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Adapted from "Rear Admiral John Paul Arthur, Dental Corps, United States Navy, Retired" [biography, dated 13 March 1974] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Medicine
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  • Biography
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  • Korean Conflict 1950-1954
  • World War II 1939-1945
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  • NHHC-Library

John Paul Arthur

12 May 1917-[no death date]

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John Paul Arthur was born in Tularosa, New Mexico, on May 12, 1917, son of James O. and Kathryn (Rhoades) Arthur. He graduated from Albany (Oregon) High School and attended Albany College for two years and North Pacific Dental College, Portland, Oregon, from which he received the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Medicine in 1940. He subsequently was engaged in the private active of general dentistry in Albany, Oregon. Commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) in the Dental Corps of the US Naval Reserve on February 18, 1941, he progressed in rank to that of Rear Admiral, to date from August 1, 1969, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy on November 4, 1941.

Ordered into active naval service, he reported in April 1941 as Dental Officer, Tenth Regiment, Second Marine Division, Reinforced, based at San Diego, California and later in New Zealand. He became Senior Dental Officer at the Receiving Barracks, Portland, Oregon, in July 1943 and from April to July 1945 had instruction in maxillofacial surgery at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.. He then joined USS Indiana (BB-58) as Senior Dental Officer and in August 1946 was detached for similar duty at the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington.

In August 1950 he reported as Senior Dental Officer, First Medical Battalion, First Marine Division, Reinforced, Fleet Marine Force. He in entitled to the Ribbon with two stars and facsimiles of the Presidential Unit Citations awarded the First Marine Division, Reinforced, for outstanding services (1) at InChon, Korea, from September 15 to October 11, 1950 and (2) at Chosin Reservoir, Korea, from November 27 to December 11, 1950. In July 1951 he became Assistant Dental Officer at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, where he remained until July 1954 and in September of that year joined the Staff of Commander Service Force, US Pacific Fleet as Dental Officer.

During the period September 1956 to July 1961 he headed the Assignment Section, Dental Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, Washington, DC, after which he was Head of the Dental Department at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington. While there he served additionally from January 1962 to March 1963 as District Dental Officer, Thirteenth Naval District, headquartered in Seattle, Washington. In July 1964 he reported as Executive Officer of the Naval Dental Clinic, Norfolk, Virginia. Assigned in May 1967 to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, he served as Assistant to the Chief of the Dental Division and in April 1970 became Inspector General, Dental and Assistant Chief of the Dental Division. He was Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for Dentistry and Chief of the Dental Division from July 1972 until relieved of active duty pending his retirement, effective October 1, 1973.

“For exceptionally meritorious conduct… from July 1972 to October 1973…” he was awarded the Legion of merit. The citation further states in part: “Exercising a high degree of professional skill and resourcefulness, Rear Admiral Arthur has been responsible for the immediate supervision direction and coordination of all professional and administrative functions of the Navy Dental Corps, ashore and afloat. Under his sound leadership, the first Naval Regional Dental Center was developed and established, thus coordinating the delivery of dental health care and improving responsiveness to patient needs…”

In addition to the Legion of Merit and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with star, Dr. Arthur has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also has the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.

Dr. Arthur is a member of the American Dental Association, the American College of Dentists and Delta Sigma Delta Professional Fraternity. His hobbies are athletics, hunting, fishing, and cattle raising.


Published: Mon Sep 28 09:14:20 EDT 2020