Paul Vaughan was born 24 January 1904, in Urbana, Missouri, a son of B. W. Vaughan, MD (deceased) and Mrs. Linna Marsh Vaughan. He attended Urbana High School and entered the University of Missouri, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925 and continuing two years in the School of Medicine. He transferred to the University of Colorado, School of Medicine from which he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1929. He entered the Medical Corps of the US Navy soon thereafter, by competitive examination as Assistant Surgeon in the rank of Lieutenant (jg). He attained his present rank 2 June 1947 to date from 1 August 1943.
After he was commissioned 5 July 1929, he reported the same month to the US Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, where he had intern duty until August 1930. At that time he joined USS California as Junior Medical Officer and served until November 1931 when he was transferred to Destroyer Division 16 for duty as Division Medical Officer until September 1932. Ordered to Navy Yard, Puget Sound, Washington, he served as Assistant Medical Officer until 18 May 1933. From that date to mid-August the following year he was on duty with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Fort Missoula, Montana, District, from November 1933 to August 1934 as Assistant District Surgeon.
During late 1934 and through 1935 he was attached to Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire with duty as Assistant Medical Officer and from 15 August to 25 October 1935 had temporary additional duty in USS Dale. He was then sent to the Pacific to serve as Assistant in Surgery from February 1936 to April 1938 at Naval Station, Guam, with a period of temporary additional duty in USS Gold Star. Back to the continental United States, he had duty as Assistant Medical Officer of the Navy Yard, Puget Sound Washington, from July 1938 to October 1940. He then returned to the Pacific for similar duty at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H., until 28 October 1941.
When World War II hostilities with Japan began with the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, he was on duty with the Third Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, serving as Medical Officer for Battalion H. He continued in that assignment until 20 October 1942 and during that period participated in Defense of Pearl Harbor, Assault on Tulagi and the first Guadalcanal action. Detached from that duty, he was ordered to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, where he was under instruction in the School of Aviation Medicine from December 1942 to May 1943, being designated Flight Surgeon April 12 of that year. Under orders to the Naval Technical Training Center, Chicago, Illinois, he served as Staff Medical Officer from May 1943 to 25 October 1944.
Having participated in fitting out USS Antietam (CL-36) as prospective Senior Medical Officer he served in that capacity aboard USS Shangri-La (CV-38) from 10 November 1944, throughout the remaining period of hostilities and until late October 1945. He had additional duty on the Staff of Commander Task Force 38 from April to October 1945, during that period participating in the Okinawa Campaign and the final strike on the Japanese homeland, and remaining in Japanese waters in support of occupation forces, for two months after the cessation of hostilities.
Returning from the Pacific in November 1945, Captain Vaughan was designated Senior Medical Officer, US Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, with additional duty on the Staff of Commander, Naval Air Test Center, at Patuxent River.
Captain Vaughan is entitled to the Presidential Unit Citation to the First Marine Division, Reinforced; the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal and the Navy Occupation Service medal with Asia Clasp.