John Quincy Edwards, III, was born in Bryan County, Georgia, on December 4, 1921, son of Mrs. Varina (Bacon) Edwards (now Mrs. Wood) and the late Mr. John Q. Edwards. He attended Richmond Hill (Georgia) High School and Georgia Institute of Technology at Atlanta, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1942. While at the latter he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit and upon graduation was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve, May 1, 1942. Advancing progressively in rank, he subsequently attained that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1962, having transferred to the Regular Navy on June 29, 1946.
Upon receiving his commission in 1942, he joined USS St. Louis and served in that cruiser during the greater part of World War II. He received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the commendation Ribbon and Combat “V,” from the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet and is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the St. Louis. The citations follow in part:
Letter of Commendation: “For meritorious and efficient performance of duty as Assistant Damage Control Officer when his ship sustained a hit during an attack by Japanese bombers off the coast of Bougainville on February 14, 1944. He, while in charge of the repair parties, immediately engaged in the repair of the damage and the coordinated effort of his party was so effective that the powder fires in the two ready rooms were extinguished within a period of three minutes. . .”
Navy Unite Commendation: “For outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara from July 5 to 13, 1943; the Philippine Islands Campaign, from November 15 to 28, 1944; and the Okinawa Campaign from March 25 to May 28, 1945. Steaming up the Slot with her Task Force shortly before midnight on July 5 to intercept the Japanese on their nightly run form Bougainville, USS St. Louis met and engaged a superior enemy force of cruisers and destroyers, sinking or damaging a majority of these ships. In another furious night engagement off Kolombangara Island one week later, she assisted in damaging or destroying five more ships of the Japanese cruiser-destroyer forces. Constantly harassed by hostile suicide attackers while covering Surigao Strait and the Leyte Gulf landings, she rendered invaluable fire support to our assault forces and, although severely damaged on November 27 during one of the most vicious multiple Kamikaze attacks of the war, continued in action after decisively routing the enemy with heavy losses. As a part of the Expeditionary Force during the Okinawa operations she provided sustained close in bombardment and gunfire support and, despite the constant threat of air, submarine and suicide boat attacks, emerged from this hazardous campaign victorious and unscathed. . .”
He continued duty in the St. Louis untill May 1945, then attended the Officers Damage Control School at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, completing the course third in a class of fifty-one.
Between July and oOctober 1945 he was Assistant Professor of Naval Science with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at the University of Rochester, Nee York. After a period of inactive duty (terminal leave), he returned to active naval service, reporting in February 1946 as Assistant Professor of Naval Service with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. From June 1946 until June 1947 he had a similar assignment at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, after whivh he served as First Lieutenant and Debarkation Officer on board USS Okaloosa. While on board that attack transport, operating with the Amphibious Force, Atlanctic Fleet, he participated in the winter maneuvers in the Caribbean area.
Detached from The Okaloosa in June 1949, he completed postgraduate instruction at the Naval Intelligence School, Anacostia, D.C., in April 1950, and remained there until February 1951, as a student of the Turkish language. He was Assistant Naval Attache at the American Embassy, Turkey, with residence in Istanbul, until April 1953, after which he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.
From September to November 1953 hehad instruction at the Fleet Sonar School, Key West, Florida, and in December reported as Executive Officer of the destroyer CONE, which participated in patrol operations along the East Coast of Korea. Detached from the CONE in Janaury 1955, he next had duty in the Office of Naval Intelligence, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he served in the Operational Intelligence Branch. In October 1958 he reported for special intelligence duty on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet for service from October 1958 to June 1960 and also received a commendatory letter from the Chief of Naval Operations for duty during the period Janauary to March 1959.
In June 1960 he became Officer in Charge of the U.S. Naval Field Operations Intelligence Office, Fort George Meade, Maryland, with additional duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Since July 1964 he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, and the Commander in Chief, Western Atlantic.
In addition to the Commendation Ribbon with Combat "V," and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Edwards has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with silver star and three bronnze stars (eight engagements); World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.