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Adapted from "Rear Admiral William Cecil Vose, U. S. Navy, Retired" [biography, dated 27 September 1948] in Biographies, 20th century collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • World War I 1917-1918
  • World War II 1939-1945
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William Cecil Vose

19 March 1896 – 31 December 1966

Rear Admiral Vose, born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on 19 March 1896, attended Fitchburg High School before his appointment to the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from the Third District of Massachusetts in 1915. While a Midshipman he won his class numerals in baseball. Graduated and commissioned Ensign in June 1918, with the Class of 1919, he subsequently advanced to the rank of Captain to date from 17 June 1942. He was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy and promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral on 1 November 1947.

After his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1918, during World War I, Rear Admiral Vose served briefly in USS Mallory before joining Destroyer Force, based on Brest France. He served aboard the destroyer Preston until she was placed out of commission in July 1919 at which time he was transferred to USS Delaware, in which he remained until August 1923. He then returned to the Naval Academy for instruction in Ordnance Engineering at the Postgraduate School, and continuing the course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, he received the degree of Master of Science from that institution in June 1926.

Rear Admiral Vose was next ordered to Asiatic Station, and commanded the Submarine Base, at Cavite, Philippine Islands, from August 1926 until March 1929. Returning to the United States, he had duty at the Pacific Coast Torpedo Station, Keyport, Washington, from May 1929 until March 1931, serving first as Torpedo Officer and later as Executive Officer of that Station. He had successive service as Torpedo Repair Officer of USS Altair, and as Aide on the staff of Commander Rotating Reserve Destroyer Squadron 20, USS Wickes, flagship. Detached from the latter assignment in March 1934, he reported to the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, where he served as Assistant Manufacturing Officer and Explosives Officer until December 1936.

Rear Admiral Vose had duty in connection with fitting out USS Enterprise at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Newport News, Virginia, and from her commissioning, 12 May 1938, until May 1939, served as her Gunnery Officer. He was then transferred to USS Ramapo as Commanding Officer. The Ramapo was then engaged in carrying fuel oil from the West Coast of the United States to Asiatic Station. For towing a dredge and tugboat in tandem during one of these trips, he received letters of commendation.

Relieved of command of Ramapo in July 1940, Rear Admiral Vose again reported to the Naval Torpedo Station, where he served as Designing Officer for a year, and later as Procurement Engineering Officer, with duty in connection with the negotiation of price agreements leading to contracts for torpedo parts with civilian contractors. In January 1943 he was assigned duty as Officer in Charge of the Central Torpedo Office at the Newport Station, and remained in that duty until ordered in the fall of the same year to the Third Naval District, New York, New York, for temporary duty. He reported for further temporary duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and served there until April 1944.

Rear Admiral Vose had duty in charge of fitting out USS Vicksburg at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia, from April to June 1944, and assumed command of that cruiser when she was commissioned on 12 June. For services as Commanding Officer of USS Vicksburg in operations for Iwo Jima and Okinawa, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, and the Legion of Merit. Citations accompanying those awards follow:

“For heroic achievement while serving as Commanding Officer of the USS VICKSBURG during operations against enemy Japanese forces at Iwo Jima from February 16 to March 17, 1945. Because of thorough concealment of enemy installations Captain Vose maneuvered his ship to within perilously close range of threatening enemy shore batteries and delivered prolonged bombardment and counterfire, thereby destroying enemy installations and contributing greatly to the success of the assault landing and subsequent capture of the island. By his courageous conduct, and professional skill, Captain Vose upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of the USS VICKSBURG during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Kyushu Area of the Japanese Homeland, and in support of the landings on Okinawa from March 14 to May 19, 1945. Maintaining the fighting efficiency of the VICKSBURG at a high peak throughout this period, Captain Vose aided in providing effective defensive antiaircraft fire during numerous hostile air attacks, thereby contributing materially to the success of the Task Group in operations against the enemy. His skill as a leader and a seaman reflects the highest credit upon Captain Vose and the United States Naval Service.” 

Returning to the United States in July 1945, Rear Admiral Vose assumed command of the Naval Torpedo Station, Alexandria, Virginia, and remained in that command until ordered on 21 October 1947, relieved of all active duty pending retirement. He was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 1 November 1947.

In addition to the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal, Rear Admiral Vose had the Victory Medal, Destroyer Clasp (USS Preston); the Haitian Campaign Medal (USS Delaware), the China Service Medal (USS Ramapo), and is entitled to the American Area Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

Rear Admiral Vose was a member of the US Naval Institute.

Published: Wed Feb 27 15:53:43 EST 2019