Paul Cassard was born in Prince Frederick, Maryland, on July 30, 1890, son of William Gilbert Cassard and Mrs. Edith (Dowell) Cassard. He attended public schools in Newport, Rhode Island; Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, Virginia, and Conway Hall, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from Maryland on September 28, 1909. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 6, 1913, he subsequently attained the rank of Captain, to date from January 1, 1941. He was transferred to the retired List of the Navy on October 1, 1944.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1913, he was assigned to the USS Wyoming, and served in that battleship during the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico early in 1914. He had torpedo instruction while serving as a junior officer of the USS Montana in 1915, and during the next three years served as Gunnery and Torpedo Officer of the USS Duncan, operating during the most of the World War I period as a unit of Destroyer Force based on Queenstown, Ireland. In August 1918 he was detached to return to the United States.
Duty in connection with fitting out the USS McLanahan at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation Plant at Squantum, Massachusetts, preceded service aboard as Executive Officer from her commissioning on April 5, 1919, until August of that year. He was serving in that capacity during the McLanahan’s cruise to Constantinople and other ports in the Near East, while she was engaged in food relief work in the Black Sea. For eight months thereafter he served as Executive Officer of the USS Leonidas, tender for Destroyer Flotilla 7, Atlantic Fleet.
Ordered to aviation duty on April 1920, he reported in May to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, where after being designated Naval Aviator he remained on duty as an instructor until June 1922. He served from July of that year until October 1924 as a pilot with Aircraft squadrons, Atlantic Fleet (title later changed at Aircraft Squadrons, Scouting Fleet). He had brief duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC, after which he served from December 1924 until June of the next year as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia.
After a tour of duty in the Navy Department, as a member of the Board of Inspection and Survey, he served from December 1926 until October 1929 as the aviation member of the Naval Mission to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. He next had duty on the staff of Commander Scouting Fleet, attached to the USS Wyoming, flagship, and during the period August 1930 to June 1932, he served as Executive Officer of the USS Wright, operating with Carrier Division One, Scouting Fleet.
He then returned to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for duty as Superintendent of Aviation Training. For the “exceptionally record for safe flying” made by the station during the period of his assignment there, he received a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
Joining the USS Arizona in June 1935, he served as First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer until May of that year following. He was then transferred to the USS Wyoming for duty as Executive Officer, while she operated with Drill Squadron. In June 1937 he returned to Annapolis, for two years duty as Executive Officer of the Postgraduate School. He completed the senior course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in May 1940, and on June 1 assumed command of the USS Argonne, flagship of Commander Base Force, US Fleet, and Commander Train, base Force, at Honolulu, T.H.
In February 1941 he was relieved of command of the Argonne to return to the United States, and soon thereafter reported to the Navy Department, where he served during the period immediately preceding the United States entry into World War II, and until May 1942, in the Office of Naval Intelligence, Naval Operations. While in that assignment, in December 1941, Captain Cassard escorted the Honorable Winston Churchill and his party from the British battleship Duke of York, lying off the Virginia Capes, to Washington, DC, for the British Prime Minister’s first conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After duty during May and June 1942 in connection with convoys from Fifth Naval District Headquarters, Norfolk, Virginia, he reported in July of that year to Headquarters of Commander Eastern Sea Frontier, New York, New York. He was retired for physical disability on October 1, 1944, but remained on active duty, being transferred to the Navy Department, Washington, in December 1944. There he served first as a member of the Board to Review Discharges and Dismissals, and as President of that Panel from August 1947 until he was relieved of all active duty on June 30, 1950.
Captain Cassard has the Mexican Service Medal (USS Wyoming); the World War I Victory Medal, Destroyer Clasp; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet, Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.