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Adapted from "Captain Benjamin B. Cheatham, United States Navy" [biography, dated 21 April 1961] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

Topic
  • Ordnance and Weapons
  • Operations
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • Korean Conflict 1950-1954
  • China Service 1937-1939, 1945-1957
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Library

Benjamin B. Cheatham

28 November 1910 - [no death date]


Photo of Captain Benjamin B. Cheatham copied from page 111 of the 1933 edition of the U.S. Naval Academy yearbook 'Lucky Bag'.

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A destroyer man participating in operations in the Pacific Area in World War II Benjamin Ballard Cheatham later saw action at Inchon during the Korean hostilities as Assistant Operations Officer on the staff of Commander Seventh Fleet. For his outstanding service and conspicuous gallantry during these periods he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and Gold Star in lieu of a Second Bronze Star Medal.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1933. He subsequently had duty afloat in the battleship Arizona, the cruiser San Francisco and Concord, the destroyer Perry, Zane, and Dale and the submarine tender Bushnell, which was then assigned to Hydrographic Survey duty. In June 1941 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, and was serving there where the United States entered World War II. Between January and May 1943 he was Executive Officer of USS Schroeder, after which he commanded USS Coghlan. In the summer of 1945 he assumed command of USS McCaffery and in March 1947 was detached to return to duty in the Officer of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In July 1950 he joined the staff of Commander Seventh Fleet as Assistant Operations Officer and in March 1951 transferred, in a similar capacity, to the staff of Commander First Fleet. For a year (July 1951-July 1952) he was in command of Destroyer Division Twelve and after instruction at the Naval War College, again had duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He commanded the attack transport Vermillion from March 1956 until April 1957 and in June became Commander Destroyer Squadron Sixteen. In October 1958 he was assigned to the Joint Staff (Logistics), Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC, where he remained until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective April 1, 1961.

Personal Data:

Born: 28 November 1910, Atlanta, Georgia

Parents: James Bullock and Nena Parker (Ballard Cheatham, both now deceased

Education: Marion (Alabama) Institute 1929; University of Florida, Gainesville 1927-1929; US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. (BS, 1933); Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. (flight training); Naval War College, Newport, RI (strategy and tactics course, 1952-1953)

Promotions:

Commissioned Ensign, USN, 1 June 1933

Lieutenant (junior grade), USN, 1 June 1936

Lieutenant, USN, I January 1941

Lieutenant Commander, USN, 1 October 1942

Commander, USN, 1 January 1944

Captain, USN, 1 January 1952

Medals and Awards:

Silver Star Medal

Bronze Star Medal

Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal with “V”

American Defense Service Medal with star

American Campaign Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Silver Star (five engagements)

World War II Victory Medal

China Service Medal

Navy Occupation Service Medal

Korean Service Medal with five stars

United Nations Service Medal

Philippine Liberations Ribbon

Korean Presidential Unit Citation

Citations:

Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the USS Cohhlan, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Ormoc, Leyte Philippine Islands, December 11-12, 1944. Screening a convoy which was carrying urgently-needed supplies to isolated US Armed forces, Commander Cheatham skillfully maneuvered his ship and effectively directed her batteries against enemy planes in two heavy daylight air attacks and intermittent night harassment, there by contributing materially to the successful completion of the mission…”

Bronz Star Medal: “ For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of the USS Coghlan in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area from August 8, 1943 to October 12, 1944. During his prolonged period of operations, Commander Cheatham directed his ship in the bombardment of Wake Island, the assault and occupation of Saipan and Tinian, and the protection of landings at Ormoc Bay. Effectively evading or driving off enemy air attacks he carried out his hazardous duties without damage to his ship…”

Gold Star in the lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal: “For meritorious service a Readiness Officer and Assistant Operations Officer on the staff of Commander Seventh Fleet during operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Korean Theater from July 31, 1950 to March 28, 1951. Exercising outstanding ability and professional skill, Captain (then Commander_ Cheatham assisted directly in supervising and coordinating the employment of the forces of the Fleet during an extremely critical periods. By his sound knowledge of the operational and tactical requirements involved in this task and by his constant attention to important details, he was largely responsible for the maintenance of the Fleet at a high degree of efficiency and readiness, there by contributing materially to the success of vital operations against the enemy…”

Chronological Transcript of Naval Service:

Jun 1933- Dec 1933 USS Arizona

Jan 1934- May 1935 USS San Francisco

Jun 1935- Sep 1935 Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. (flight training)

Sep 1935- May 1936 USS Perry

May 1936- Dec 1937 USS Zane (Gunnery Officer)

Feb 1938- Feb 1940 USS Bushnell (Hydrographic Survey duty)

Feb 1940- Jun 1940 USS Dale

Jun 1940- Jun 1941 USS Concord

Jun 1941- Nov 1942 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Dept. (Administration, Op. 13)

Jan 1943- May 1943 USS Schroeder (Executive Officer)

Jul 1943- Mar 1945 USS Coghlan (Commanding Officer)

Jul 1945- Mar 1947 USS McCaffery (Commanding Officer)

Mar 1947- Jul 1950 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Dept. (logistics, Op.414)

Jul 1950- Mar 1951 Staff, Commander Seventh Fleet (Ass’t Operations Officer)

Mar 1951- Jun 1951 Staff, Commander First Fleet (Ass’t Operations Officer)

Jul 1951- Jul 1952 Commander Destroyer Division 12

Aug 1952- Jun 1953 Naval War College, Newport, R.I. (student0

Jun 1953- Apr 1956 Officer of the Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics, Op. 43F)

Mar 1956- Apr 1957 USS Vermillion (CO)

Jun 1957- Aug 1958 Commander Destroyer Squadron 16

Oct 1958- Joint Staff (Logistics), Officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Apr 1, 1961 Retired

END

Published: Wed Feb 17 12:24:23 EST 2021