|38th Dean of the United States House of Representatives|
November 16, 1961 –January 3, 1965
|Preceded by||Sam Rayburn|
|Succeeded by||Emanuel Celler|
|Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee|
January 3, 1955 –January 3, 1965
|Speaker|| Sam Rayburn |
John William McCormack
|Preceded by||Dewey J. Short|
|Succeeded by||L. Mendel Rivers|
January 3, 1949 –January 3, 1953
|Preceded by||Walter G. Andrews|
|Succeeded by||Dewey J. Short|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
November 3, 1914 –January 3, 1965
|Preceded by||Thomas W. Hardwick|
|Succeeded by||John J. Flynt, Jr.|
|Constituency|| 10th district (1914–1933)|
6th district (1933–1965)
|Member of the |
Georgia House of Representatives
|Born||November 18, 1883|
Baldwin County, Georgia
|Died||June 1, 1981 (aged 97)|
|Alma mater||Mercer University|
Carl Vinson (November 18, 1883 – June 1, 1981) was an American politician who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over 50 years and was influential in the 20th century expansion of the U.S. Navy. He was a member of the Democratic Party and represented Georgia in the House from 1914 to 1965. He was known as "The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy". He is the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Georgia.
Vinson was born in Baldwin County, Georgia, where he attended local schools and Georgia Military College. He graduated with a law degree from Mercer University in 1902.After some years of practice, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1908. After losing a third term following redistricting, he was appointed as judge of the Baldwin County court.
Following the sudden death of US Senator Augustus Bacon, Representative Thomas W. Hardwick of Georgia's 10th congressional district was nominated to fill Bacon's Senate seat. Vinson announced his candidacy for Hardwick's seat in Congress. Vinson defeated three opponents. By this time, most of Georgia's African Americans had been disenfranchised since the turn of the century, after the state passed laws and a new constitution making voter registration more difficult. The Republican Party was hollowed out in the state. Vinson was the youngest member of Congress (30 years old) when he was sworn in on November 3, 1914.
Vinson served as a Representative from November 3, 1914, to January 3, 1965. He was repeatedly re-elected by Democratic voters for this seat. During his tenure in the U.S. House, Vinson was a champion for national defense and especially the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. He joined the House Naval Affairs Committee shortly after World War I and became the ranking Democratic member in the early 1920s. He was the only Democrat appointed to the Morrow Board, which reviewed the status of aviation in America in the mid-1920s.
In 1931, Vinson became chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee. In 1934, Vinson helped push the Vinson–Trammell Act, along with Democratic Senator Park Trammell of Florida. The bill authorized the replacement of obsolete vessels by new construction and a gradual increase of ships within the limits of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and London Naval Treaty of 1930. Initial funding for the Vinson–Trammell Navy Act was provided by the Emergency Appropriations Act of 1934. This was necessary as during the previous administration, not a single major warship was laid down and the US Navy was both aging and losing ground to the Japanese Navy. Japan repudiated the treaties in late 1934.
Vinson later was primarily responsible for additional naval expansion legislation, the Naval Act of 1938 ("Second Vinson Act") and the Third Vinson Act of 1940, as well as the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940. The ambitious program called for by this series of laws helped the U.S. Navy as the country entered World War II, as new ships were able to match the latest ships from Japan.
At the end of World War II, Congress had authorized four Naval four-star officers to be promoted to Fleet Admiral. A staunch partisan of Admiral William Halsey, Jr., Vinson blocked the nomination of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance several times, although the majority thought him more deserving,[ citation needed ] to ensure that Halsey got the fourth billet. Congress eventually responded by passing an unprecedented act that specified that Spruance would remain on a full admiral's pay once retired until his death.
Following World War II, the House Naval Affairs Committee was merged with the Military Affairs Committee to become the House Armed Services Committee (this consolidation mirrored the establishment of the Department of Defense when the old Departments of War and of the Navy were consolidated). With Republicans winning control of Congress in the 1946 election, Vinson served as ranking minority member of the committee for two years before becoming Chairman in early 1949, when the Democrats were again in majority. He held this position, with the exception of another two-year Republican interregnum in the early 1950s, until his retirement in 1965. In this role, Vinson adopted a committee rule that came to be known as the "Vinson rule", which limited the number of questions a junior member of the committee could ask to one question per year of service on the committee. As chairman, Vinson oversaw the modernization of the military as its focus shifted to the Cold War. He was also committee chair when Congress authorized the procurement of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, starting with USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the late 1950s.
A staunch segregationist, in 1956, Vinson signed "The Southern Manifesto". Other Southern politicians signed this in resistance to the ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated public education was unconstitutional, and that states needed to integrate their public schools.
Vinson did not seek re-election in 1964 and retired from Congress in January 1965.
Vinson married Mary Green of Ohio in 1921. She died in 1949 after a long illness.
Vinson did not have children, but his great-nephew, Sam Nunn, served as a Senator from Georgia for more than 24 years. Nunn followed in his great uncle's footsteps, serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee for nearly his entire tenure in the Senate. Sam Nunn's daughter, Michelle Nunn ran unsuccessfully for one of Georgia's U.S. Senate seats in 2014.
Vinson considered his longtime assistant Charles Tillman Snead, Jr. his surrogate son, and Snead's wife, Molly Staeman Snead, was Vinson's wife's nurse for several years. Snead's son and grandchildren maintained this familial bond to Vinson until his death in 1981.
Vinson returned to Baldwin County, Georgia, where he lived in retirement until his death on June 1, 1981.He is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Georgia.
At the time of his death, Vinson was the last living member of the House of Representatives who was serving at the time of the United States' declaration of war against the German Empire, which precipitated the United States' entry into World War I.
In recognition of his efforts on behalf of the U.S. Navy, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was named the USS Carl Vinson, an honor rarely given to a person while living. On March 15, 1980, at age 96, he attended the ship's launching.
Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest mountain, is also named after him,together with the related Mount Vinson and Vinson Plateau.
Carl Vinson served 26 consecutive terms in the U.S. House, rarely running against significant opposition. He served for 50 years and one month, a record that stood until 1992, when the mark was surpassed by Jamie L. Whitten of Mississippi.
For his commitment, Vinson was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson awarded Vinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Special Distinction, the highest award the President can give to a civilian. During his own tenure in the House, Johnson had served for years as a junior member of the House Naval Affairs Committee under Vinson.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia, serving veterans in Central and Southern Georgia, is named for Vinson.
The University of Georgia hosts the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Athens Georgia hosts Carl Vinson Park.
Carl Vinson Parkway is located in Warner Robins Georgia.
Georgia Military College formerly had a barracks named for him. It was razed in the mid-2000s.
Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, Virginia, is named after Carl Vinson.
Vernon E. Clark is a retired admiral who served as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) of the United States Navy. He retired on July 22, 2005, making his tenure of five years the second-longest serving CNO behind Arleigh Burke. He currently sits on the board of directors of Raytheon and SRI International. In November 2009, he was selected along with former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo West by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to lead the military investigation into the Fort Hood massacre.
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is the United States Navy's third Nimitz-class supercarrier. She is named for Carl Vinson, a Congressman from Georgia, in recognition of his contributions to the U.S. Navy. The ship was launched in 1980, undertook her maiden voyage in 1983, and underwent refueling and overhaul between 2005 and 2009.
Samuel Augustus Nunn Jr. is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Georgia (1972–1997) as a member of the Democratic Party.
General of the Armies of the United States, more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest ranking grade in the United States Army. It has been conferred only twice: to John J. Pershing in 1919, as a personal accolade for his command of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I; and to George Washington in 1976, as a posthumous honor during the United States Bicentennial celebrations.
Admiral of the Navy was the highest possible rank in the United States Navy, prior to the creation of fleet admiral in 1944. The rank is considered to be at least equivalent to that of a five-star admiral, with Admiral George Dewey being the only officer to be appointed to the rank.
The United States Department of the Navy (DN) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and, when directed by the President, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), as a service within the Department of the Navy, though each remain independent service branches.
The "Revolt of the Admirals" was a policy and funding dispute within the United States government during the Cold War in 1949, involving a number of retired and active-duty United States Navy admirals. These included serving officers Admiral Louis E. Denfeld, Chief of Naval Operations, and Vice Admiral Gerald F. Bogan, as well as Fleet Admirals Chester Nimitz and William Halsey, senior officers in World War II.
Fleet admiral is a five-star flag officer rank in the United States Navy whose rewards uniquely include active duty status for life. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Although it is a current and authorized rank, no U.S. Navy officer holds it presently, with the first U.S. Navy fleet admiral being William D. Leahy, followed by Ernest King and then Chester W. Nimitz, all promoted in December 1944. The last person to be promoted to the rank was William Halsey Jr. in December 1945. While all four men effectively retired in the late 1940s, the rank of fleet admiral is for life. The last active fleet admiral was Nimitz who lived until 1966, surpassing the other three men who had all died by the end of the 1950s.
The 73rd United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1933, to January 3, 1935, during the first two years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Because of the newly ratified 20th Amendment, the duration of this Congress, along with the term of office of those elected to it, was shortened by the interval between January 3 and March 4, 1935. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fifteenth Census of the United States in 1930. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.
Park Monroe Trammell, was an American attorney and politician from the state of Florida. Trammell represented Florida in the United States Senate from 1917 until his death in 1936. As chair of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, Trammell was essential in the creation of several naval bills that revitalized the United States Navy. Trammell previously served as the Governor of Florida and Florida Attorney General.
The United States Naval Reserve , better known as the WAVES, was the women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve during World War II. It was established on July 21, 1942 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 30. This authorized the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The purpose of the law was to release officers and men for sea duty and replace them with women in shore establishments. Mildred H. McAfee, on leave as president of Wellesley College, became the first director of the WAVES. She was commissioned a lieutenant commander on August 3, 1942, and later promoted to commander and then to captain.
The 69th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1925, to March 4, 1927, during the third and fourth years of Calvin Coolidge's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Thirteenth Decennial Census of the United States in 1910. Both chambers had a Republican majority.
The 68th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1923, to March 4, 1925, during the last months of Warren G. Harding's presidency, and the first years of the administration of his successor, Calvin Coolidge. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Thirteenth Decennial Census of the United States in 1910. Both chambers had a Republican majority.
Women's Armed Services Integration Act is a United States law that enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the recently formed Air Force. Prior to this act, women, with the exception of nurses, served in the military only in times of war. During World War II, over 150,000 women had served in the WAVES and the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and were still serving when the act was enacted. Women also took part in the SPARs, which was created by the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps Women’s Reserves Marines, during the war. In total, 350,000 American women joined and served during World War II. Section 502 of the act limited service of women by excluding them from aircraft and vessels of the Navy that might engage in combat.
The Two-Ocean Navy Act, also known as the Vinson-Walsh Act, was a United States law enacted on July 19, 1940, and named for Carl Vinson and David I. Walsh, who chaired the Naval Affairs Committee in the House and Senate respectively. The largest naval procurement bill in U.S. history, it increased the size of the United States Navy by 70%.
The Naval Act of 1938, known as the Second Vinson Act, was United States legislation enacted on May 17, 1938, that "mandated a 20% increase in strength of the United States Navy". It represented the United States' response to the Japanese invasion of China and the German annexation of Austria.
In the United States Armed Forces, a six-star rank is a proposed rank immediately superior to a five-star rank, possibly to be worn by the General of the Armies or Admiral of the Navy; however, this correlation was never officially recognized by the military or by Congress.
The 1972 United States Senate election in Georgia took place on November 7, 1972, as one of that year's United States Senate elections. It was held concurrently with the 1972 presidential election. This seat had opened up following the death of Richard B. Russell in 1971. Shortly thereafter, Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter appointed David H. Gambrell to fill Russell's vacant seat. The Democratic Party nominee was Sam Nunn, a conservative Democrat and member of the Georgia House of Representatives, and the Republican Party nominated Fletcher Thompson, the Representative from the Atlanta-area 5th congressional district of Georgia. In the primary, Nunn emerged victorious from a crowded field of Democratic candidates, including Gambrell and former Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver. Despite President Richard Nixon defeating George McGovern in Georgia in the presidential election on the same day, Nunn defeated Thompson in the general election 54% to 46%.
Charles Willis Fisher Jr. was a highly decorated officer in the United States Navy with the rank of Rear admiral. During World War II, Fisher served as Director of Shore Establishment Division.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Thomas W. Hardwick
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Georgia's 10th congressional district
November 3, 1914 – March 4, 1933
Charles H. Brand
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Georgia's 6th congressional district
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1965
John J. Flynt Jr.
| Dean of the House |
James F. Byrnes
| Most Senior Living U.S. Representative|
(Sitting or Former)
April 9, 1972 – June 1, 1981
Hamilton Fish III
Charles S. Dewey
| Oldest Living U.S. Representative|
(Sitting or Former)
December 27, 1980 – June 1, 1981
Elizabeth Hawley Gasque
James B. Conant
| Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient |