Roy Foster Cantrell was born in Viola, Arkansas, on January 31, 1897, son of the late F.W. and Anna R. (Foster) Cantrell. He graduated from Salem (Arkansas) High School and received the degrees of Bachelor of Science in 1926, and Doctor of Medicine in 1928, from the University of Oklahoma at Norman. He was commissioned Lieutenant (jg) in the Medical Corps of the US Navy on June 5, 1928, and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from July 20, 1943.
After his appointment in the Medical Corps in 1928, he reserved his internship at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, California. He remained there until November 1929, when he reported aboard USS Holland. Detached from that vessel in October 1930, hejoined the staff of Commander Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet. In January 1932 he was again assigned tothe Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, and in April 1934 tansferred to the Naval Air Station, San Diego.
Returning to duty afloat in November 1934, he served in USS New York until January 1936, when he joined USS Relief. Between December 1936 and June 1940 he was assigned to the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, after which he was attached to USS William W. Barrows. He was aboard that vessel when the United States entered World War II, December 8, 1941.
Detached from the William W. Barrows in August 1942, he next had two months duty in connection with Naval Officer Procurement, Seattle, Washington. In October 1942 he was assigned to the Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada, and in April 1943 joined the THIRD Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He reported in December 1943 as Base Medical Officer at the Naval Operating Base, Auckland, New Zealand, and in January 1944 was ordered to USS Tryon.
Between April and September 1945 he was attached to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and on September 15 of that year, became Executive Officer of the Naval Hospital, Sampson, New York. During February and March 1947 he had duty with the Naval Administration and Diseastablishment Unit, Sampson, New York. During February and March 1947 he had duty with the Naval Administration and Disestablishment Unit, Sampson, after which he served at the Naval Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina. Transferred in December 1949 to the Naval Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland, he remained there until July 1951, and the next month became Executive Officer of the Naval Hospital, Beaufort, South Carolina. He has similar duty from January 1953 at the Naval Hospital, Bainbridge, Maryland, and in May 1953 assumed command of that hospital.
Dr. Cantrell has the World War I Victory Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two engagement stars; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star.