William Harrison Standley, born on 18 December 1872 at Ukiah, Calif., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1895 and served the two years' sea duty then required by law in the cruiser Olympia before he received his commission as an ensign in 1897. During the Spanish-American War, he served in the monitor Monterey and later in Alert. After the fighting with Spain had ended, he joined the gunboat Yorktown, during the Philippine Insurrection. He won a commendation for bravery during a volunteer reconnaissance mission carried out at Baler, Philippine Islands, on 11 April 1899. In conjunction with a feint conducted by Lt. J. C. Gilmore, Standley, then an ensign, bravely ventured into enemy territory to reconnoiter insurgent positions.
Ordered to the gunboat Marietta on 29 May 1901, Standley later became Officer in Charge, Branch Hydro-graphic Office, San Francisco, Calif., in October of the same year. Assigned to the training ship Pensacola in June 1902, he later served as engineer in the ship Adams and as aide to the Commandant of the Naval Station at Tutuila, Samoa. Designated as the captain of the yard there in 1905, Standley discharged his duties as officer in charge of the native guard and chief customs officer until detached with orders to the United States in October 1906.
Reporting to the receiving ship Independence in January 1907, Standley served as executive officer of the cruiser Albany from February 1909 to August 1910. From January 1910, he also discharged duties as Albany's navigator as well. Standley then reported to the armored cruiser Pennsylvania on 3 November 1910 and was navigator of that ship until becoming aide to the Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, Calif. After three years in that post, Standley became executive officer of the battleship New Jersey and later took command of the gunboat Yorktown on 15 May 1915.
Returning to the Naval Academy on 14 October 1916 as Assistant to the Superintendent in charge of Building and Grounds, he later served for 11 months as Commandant of Midshipmen. Under his direction, the new seamanship and navigation buildings were constructed, and over four million dollars were expended in enlarging Bancroft Hall to accommodate the increased number of midshipmen appointed during the World War I period. For his "highly meritorious" service in those posts at Annapolis, Standley received a special letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
Detached from the Naval Academy in July 1919, Standley soon thereafter assumed command of the pre-dreadnought battleship Virginia and, a year later, received orders to attend the Naval War College. After completing his studies at Newport, Standley returned to sea, serving as Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Battle Fleet, from 5 July 1921 to 30 June 1923, before he reported to Washington for duty heading the War Plans Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Completing the latter tour on 1 February 1926, Standley then commanded California (BB-44) from 15 February 1926 to 11 October 1927.
He returned to shore duty in Washington, D.C., as Director of the Fleet Training Division, Office of the CNO, and held that post until 14 May 1928. He then served as Assistant CNO until 17 September 1930, when he became Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet, a title that changed to Commander, Destroyers, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet, on 1 April 1931, with additional duty as Commander, Destroyers, U.S. Fleet. Designated as a member of the Navy Department's Selection Board on 18 November 1931, Standley became Commander, Cruisers, Scouting Forces-with additional duties as Commander, Cruisers, U.S. Fleet, and Commander, Cruiser Division 5-on 16 December of the same year.
Appointed vice admiral on 20 January 1932 while in command of the Battle Force's cruisers, Standley was placed in command of the Battle Force, U.S. Fleet, with the rank of admiral, on 20 May 1933. Breaking his flag in his former command, California, the admiral remained at sea until 1 July 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him CNO.
Before being retired at his own request on 1 January 1937 and handing over the reins of office to Admiral William D. Leahy, Admiral Standley frequently performed the duties of Acting Secretary of the Navy, due to the declining health of Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson. Standley represented the United States as a delegate to the London Naval Conference between 7 December 1935 to 25 March 1936 and signed that accord on behalf of the United States. In addition, during his tenure as CNO, Standley initiated the Vinson-Trammell Naval Bill that provided for establishing, building, and maintaining the United States Navy at treaty strength.
Recalled to active duty on 13 February 1941, Standley served as naval representative on the planning board of the Office of Production Management (OPM) for seven months. After leaving the OPM in the autumn of 1941, Standley served as the American naval member on the Beaverbrook-Harriman Special War Supply Mission to the USSR. Upon his return from Russia, Standley became a member of the Navy Board for Production Awards.
When President Roosevelt established the Roberts Commission to investigate the attack on Pearl Harbor, he selected Admiral Standley as one of the members of that sensitive body which studied the attack into early 1942. In February 1942, Standley was appointed American Ambassador to the USSR, a post he held into the autumn of 1943.
Subsequently recalled to active duty once more, in March 1944, Standley served in the Office of Strategic Services throughout the remaining period of hostilities. Relieved of all active duty on 31 August 1945, Standley lived in retirement at San Diego, Calif., until his death on 25 October 1963.
William H. Standley (DLG-32) was laid down on 29 July 1963 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works; launched on 19 December 1964; sponsored by Mrs. Charles B. Wincote, daughter of the late Admiral Standley; and commissioned on 9 July 1966, Capt. C. F. Moul in command.
Following fitting-out and ship's qualification trials, William H. Standley spent the holiday season in Boston before heading for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January 1967. After a two and one-half month shakedown period, William H. Standley became flagship for Rear Admiral E. R. Bonner, Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 6, during a "Springboard" exercise 'in the Caribbean. After highlighting the cruise with port visits to San Salvador and San Juan, Puerto Rico, the guided-missile frigate returned to Boston in April for post-shakedown availability.
On 12 June 1967, William H. Standley departed Boston and spent five weeks on operations with the Operational Test and Evaluation Force. During that voyage, she touched at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, a spot seldom visited by naval vessels. Subsequently arriving at her first home port, Mayport, Fla., on 14 July 1967, William H. Standley became the flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron (ComDes Ron) 8 the following week.
Following an underway period on the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range and a visit to Frederikstad, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, William H. Standley prepared for her first deployment to the Mediterranean. On 6 October 1967, the guided-missile frigate stood out to sea, leaving Mayport in her wake, bound for the ship's first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet.
Transiting the Atlantic in company with Goodrich (DDR-831) and Turner (DDR-834), William H. Standley joined Task Group (TG) 60.2 as flagship for ComDesRon 8 upon her arrival in the Mediterranean. While attached to the 6th Fleet, the guided-missile frigate witnessed the rapid build-up of Soviet naval strength in the Mediterranean basin and visited the ports of Palma de Majorca, Spain; Valetta, Malta; Naples, Italy; and Suda Bay, Crete.
For the first three months of 1968, William H. Standley participated in a bilateral exercise with French naval units, "Phiblex 10-68," and conducted picket duty in the eastern Mediterranean, before she sailed for home late in March 1968.
Arriving back at her home port on the 28th, William H. Standley spent a month undergoing post-deployment upkeep, before she conducted planeguard duty for Intrepid (CVS-11) in May. Soon thereafter, she responded to an emergency recall and got underway to search for the missing Scorpion (SSN-589), the atomic submarine that had disappeared somewhere south of the Azores while en route back to the United States from a Mediterranean deployment.
William H. Standley conducted an Atlantic transit with ComDesRon 8 embarked and, in company with five submarines and four destroyers, took part in the extensive hunt for the missing submarine. The Navy officially declared Scorpion as lost on 5 June; and William H. Standley returned to Mayport the following day.
Later in June, the guided missile frigate embarked 40 midshipmen and took those officers-to-be on their summer cruise before disembarking them at Norfolk, Va., late in July. William H. Standley entered the Charleston (S.C.) Naval Shipyard early in August for restricted availability and received alterations that would permit her to function as a PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar and Advisory Zone) ship to conduct operations in Southeast Asia.
After sea trials and a final in-port period at Mayport, William H. Standley departed her home port on 2 December for her first deployment to the Western Pacific (WestPac) area. After a brief stop at the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range at San Juan, Puerto Rico, William H. Standley proceeded onward, transiting the Panama Canal for the first time on 9 December.
Reaching Hawaii in time for Christmas, William. H. Standley subsequently departed Pearl Harbor after the Yuletide holidays and reached Subic Bay, Philippines, early in January 1969 to receive new equipment and run sea trials.
Departing Subic Bay on 23 January for the Gulf of Tonkin, William H. Standley arrived on station and relieved Mahan (DLG-11) as PIRAZ ship. During her month on station, the guided missile frigate maximized the use of her communications systems and her tactical data collection facilities, contributing significantly to 7th Fleet operations off the coast of Vietnam.
Relieved by Mahan on 25 February, William H. Standley sailed for Japan and reached Sasebo five days later for upkeep and recreation. Departing that Japanese port on 14 March, the guided missile frigate arrived at Subic Bay on the 17th for three days of training.
Resuming her operations in Vietnamese waters on 22 March, William H. Standley began a "difficult and demanding line period." Tensions in Korea had erupted, causing the American naval forces in the Par East to go on alert. North Korean and American forces had exchanged fire briefly near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas on 11 March; and, on 15 April, North Korean fighters downed an EC-121 reconnaissance plane over international waters in the Sea of Japan. The plane, based at Atsugi, Japan, crashed with 31 men on board.
During her 50 days on the "line," William H. Standley spent approximately half the time on PIRAZ station and half on the southern Sea Air Rescue (SAR) station. Operational requirements necessitated the southward movement and required the ship to base two helicopters simultaneously. William H. Standley met the test, earning a commendatory message from Rear Admiral E. J. Rudd, entitled: "Stellar Standley."
Relieved by King (DLG-10) on station, William H. Standley sailed to Hong Kong for some well-earned rest and recreation, arriving at the British Crown Colony on 18 May. Departing on the 24th, the guided missile frigate sailed for Japanese waters and reached Yokosuka on 28 May.
William H. Standley returned to the "line" after eight days of intensive upkeep, relieving Sterett (DLG-31) as southern SAR ship on 9 June. For the next nine days, the guided missile frigate acted as SAR and strike support ship for the aircraft carriers stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin. Relieved by Chicago (CG-11) on 18 June, William H. Standley reached Pearl Harbor on Independence Day, pushing on for the Galapagos the next day. Transiting the Panama Canal on 16 July, the guided missile frigate reached Mayport on 20 July.
From September through the year's end, William H. Standley remained at Mayport, preparing for her second WestPac cruise. Underway on 5 January 1971, the guided missile frigate transited the Panama Canal four days later, and reached Pearl Harbor on the 23d. After four days in Hawaii, the ship took in her lines and headed for the Marianas, arriving at Guam on 5 February for a six-hour fueling stop.
Upon leaving Guam, William H. Standley set course for Subic Bay and, after assisting a merchantman in distress, the Philippine freighter Santa Anna, reached her destination on 10 February. Two days later, she sailed for the Gulf of Tonkin.
For the next 25 days, William H. Standley escorted Ranger (CVA-61) on the northern SAR station, before she put into Sasebo for a port visit. After brief patrol duty in the Sea of Japan, the guided missile frigate returned to the Gulf of Tonkin to serve as PIRAZ vessel. She subsequently visited Hong Kong and Subic Bay (effecting rudder repairs at the latter port) and conducted one more PIRAZ tour before beginning her homeward voyage.
Sailing via Sattahip, Thailand; Singapore, Federated Malay States; Victoria, Seychelles; Lourenco Marques; the Cape of Good Hope; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, William H. Standley reached Mayport on 18 August, having circumnavigated the globe and steamed some 51,000 miles. For the remainder of 1971, the guided missile frigate recuperated from the lengthy voyage, participating in refresher training and conducting local operations off the Florida coast.
Departing Mayport on 19 January 1972, William H. Standley took part in Operation "Snowy Beach" before being detached on the 25th to proceed to Yorktown, Va., to take on weapons. Subsequently returning to Mayport on the 28th, the guided missile frigate departed her home port on 17 February to participate in Atlantic Fleet exercises. During the course of this cruise, she visited the port of Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, and Port Everglades, Fla., before she returned to May-port on 9 March.
After her post-deployment in-port period, William H. Standley exercised in the Caribbean as flagship forCommander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla (CruDesFlot) 6 that autumn, conducting gunnery shoots, with both guns and missiles. at drone targets under wartime conditions. During her time in Caribbean waters, the ship visited San Juan.
As the year drew to a close, the guided missile frigate prepared for her first major overhaul since commissioning. After entering the Charleston (S.C.) Naval Shipyard on 20 November 1969, William H. Standley spent the first half of 1970 in shipyard hands.
Upon completion of that period of repairs and alterations, William H. Standley conducted missile firings on the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range and trained at Guantanamo Bay for six weeks, breaking those underway evolutions with visits to San Juan and to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Called away from her training on 5 August, William H. Standley went to the aid of a foundering Panamanian merchantman off the northeastern tip of Hispaniola, an "exacting seamanship evolution" accomplished "very professionally."
Embarking 25 naval reservists on 20 March, William H. Standley stood out to sea on that day and operated, for the next nine days, off the eastern seaboard between Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C. During that time, she conducted an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) exercise against Trutta (SS-421) and conducted LAMPS helicopter work-up, before she returned to her home port and remained there until 30 April.
The guided missile frigate made one more exercise and spent one more period in port before she headed out from Mayport, bound for the Mediterranean and her second tour with the 6th Fleet. Rendezvousing with TG 27.4, William H. Standley proceeded across the Atlantic. While she was en route, the guided missile frigate's LAMPS helicopter crashed at sea. Of the crew of four men, all but one were rescued. The fourth man went down with the helicopter.
Reaching Rota, Spain, on 22 June, William H. Standley completed turnover procedures with Harry E. Yarnell (DLG-17) and then joined Task Force (TF) 60 at sea. During her second deployment with the 6th Fleet, William H. Standley participated in Operations "Good Friendship," "Quick Draw," two "National Weeks," and "Bystander." She visited the ports of Livorno, Italy; Cannes and Golfe Juan, France; Palma, Majorca; Athens and Corfu, Greece; Mersin and Izmir, Turkey; and Barcelona, Malaga, and Rota, Spain.
Departing Rota on 9 December, William H. Standley transited the Atlantic and arrived at her new home port, Charleston, S.C., a week before Christmas of 1972. In port at Charleston between 18 December 1972 and 17 January 1973, the guided missile frigate then underwent a seven and one-half month overhaul. Following that period of repairs and alterations, William H. Standley trained locally and prepared for another Mediterranean deployment.
Departing Charleston on 14 June 1974, William H. Standley reached Rota on the 27th and, during the early part of her tour, visited the French ports of St. Tropez and Theoule, where the ship joined in celebrations commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Allied landings during World War II. She then visited the Italian port of Civitavecchia.
From July to September, William H. Standley spent many days at sea due to the Greco-Turkish crisis on the island of Cyprus. She underwent a brief tender overhaul at Augusta Bay, Sicily, and followed up the repairs with a full slate of underway activities. Highlighting that period were two events: the tow of Vreeland (DE-1068) when that ship developed serious boiler trouble on 4 October; and the surveillance of Soviet warships in the eastern Mediterranean. During the latter, William H. Standley discovered a Soviet submarine and maintained sonar contact for over 49 hours, forcing the surfacing of a Zulu-class submarine.
For the remainder of the cruise, the guided missile frigate continued her schedule of at-sea periods interspersed with visits to Genoa and San Remo, Italy, andto Rota. Departing the last-named port on 24 November, she arrived back in Charleston on 9 December.
Following the ensuing Christmas leave period, the ship underwent repairs at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., and emerged from the yard late in February 1975. On 1 July 1975, William H. Standley was redesignated as a guided missile cruiser, CG-32. As the summer wore on, the ship operated out of Guantanamo Bay, Roosevelt Roads, and San Juan. She subsequently sailed for the Mediterranean on 2 October 1975, leaving Charleston in her wake on that day, bound, as before, for Rota.
Taking over from Luce (DLG-7), William H. Standley operated in the "middle sea" into the winter, spending Christmas at Naples. The guided missile cruiser remained in the Mediterranean into the spring before turning over her duties to Harry E. Yarnell at Gibraltar on 25 April 1976 and heading for Charleston on that day.
Between mid-February and late July 1977, William H, Standley conducted one more deployment to the 6th Fleet. After returning to Charleston on 1 August, the guided missile cruiser sailed at the end of the month to join the Pacific Fleet. Leaving Charleston behind on the last day of August, William H. Standley transited the Panama Canal on 5 and 6 September, reaching her new home port of Bremerton, Wash., on the 29th. En route, she had touched at San Diego and San Francisco, Calif., and rescued a fishing boat adrift off Santa Barbara.
William H. Standley underwent a major overhaul from the autumn of 1977 into the late summer of the following year. She then ran trials and operated locally on training evolutions out of San Diego, spending Christmas holidays in port.
As of 1979, William H. Standley remained a vital unit of the United States Pacific Fleet.
William H. Standley was awarded four engagement stars for her Vietnam War service.