Warren Crist Vincent was born in Cove, Washington, on 12 March 1916, son of Crist and Cordelia Frances (Klaes) Vincent. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle for two years, and in August 1937 enlisted in the US Naval Reserve as a Seaman 2/C (V-5 student), for elimination flight training at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington. In November of that year he was appointed Naval Cadet, USNR, and on 1 December 1938 was commissioned Ensign. Advancing progressively in rank, he subsequently attained that of Commander, to date from 5 November 1945.
Upon receiving his appointment in November 1937, he reported for flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Designated Naval Aviator on 17 November 1938, he joined Scouting Squadron SEVENTY-TWO, based on USS Wasp, and was serving with that squadron when the United States entered World War II, 8 December 1941. He was awarded the Air Medal for “meritorious achievement…(in that assignment) during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area from August 7 to 23, 1942…”
Detached from the Wasp in September 1942, he reported the next month as Landing Signal Officer on the staff of Commander Air Force, US Pacific Fleet. In August 1943 he joined USS Suwannee to serve as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Composite Squadron SIXTY. “For heroism and extraordinary achievement… as a Pilot and Leader of a Group of Torpedo Planes, attached to the USS SUWANNEE, in operations against enemy Japanese Fleet Forces in the battle off Samar Island on October 25, 1944…” he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation further states in part:
“Despite accurate, intense antiaircraft fire and the added hazard of a dwindling fuel supply, (he) led his group capably and courageously to press home an attack on two enemy battleships and two destroyers and left one battleship in a sinking condition…”
He was also awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Flying Cross and Gold Stars in lieu of the Second, Third, and Fourth Air Medals for completing twenty-five missions in the pacific War Area during the period 20 November 1943 to 20 October 1944. In addition, he was entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded USS Suwannee.
In February 1945 he assumed command of VN19D-8 at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Beeville, Texas. He continued to serve there until April 1946, and after a period of travel and leave was released from active duty in October 1946.
Two months later he returned to active Naval service, reporting in December as Training Officer at the Naval Air Station, Oakland, California. In June 1950 he transferred in a similar capacity to the Naval Air Station, Squantum, Massachusetts, where he remained until May 1952. Assigned next to the Naval Air Station, Birmingham, Alabama, he served as Executive Officer until January 1954, when he became Commanding Officer. In August 1954 he reported as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Station, Great Lakes, Illinois, and in April 1956 transferred in a similar capacity to the Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star, the Air Medal with three Gold Star and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one star, Commander Vincent had the Naval Reserve Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze “A”; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver stars (ten engagements); the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one star; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
His hobbies were baseball, football, basketball and photography.