|United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom|
June 2, 1994 –September 20, 1997
|Preceded by||Raymond G. H. Seitz|
|Succeeded by||Philip Lader|
|Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board|
January 20, 1993 –May 26, 1994
|Preceded by||Bobby Ray Inman (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Les Aspin|
|Chair of the Intelligence Oversight Board|
January 20, 1993 –May 26, 1994
|Preceded by||James R. Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Anthony S. Harrington|
|Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff|
October 1, 1985 –September 30, 1989
|President|| Ronald Reagan |
George H. W. Bush
|Deputy||Robert T. Herres|
|Preceded by||John William Vessey Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Colin Powell|
|Commander of United States Pacific Command|
July 1, 1983 –September 18, 1985
|Preceded by||Robert L. J. Long|
|Succeeded by||Ronald J. Hays|
|Born||January 2, 1925|
La Grange, Kentucky
|Died||October 18, 2007 82) (aged|
|Education|| University of Oklahoma |
United States Naval Academy (BS)
Stanford University (MEd)
Princeton University (MA, PhD)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1946–1989|
|Commands|| Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff |
United States Pacific Command
United States Naval Forces Europe
Allied Forces Southern Europe
Submarine Division 31
USS Trout (SS-566)
|Awards|| Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)|
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (7)
Presidential Medal of Freedom
William James Crowe Jr. (January 2, 1925 – October 18, 2007) was a United States Navy admiral who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and as the ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Bill Clinton.
Crowe was born in La Grange, Kentucky, on January 2, 1925. At the beginning of the Great Depression, Crowe's father moved the family to Oklahoma City. In June 1946, Crowe completed a war-accelerated course of study and graduated with the Class of 1947 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
From 1954 to 1955, Crowe served as assistant to the naval aide of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. From 1956 to 1958, Crowe served as executive officer of the submarine USS Wahoo (SS-565). In 1958, he served as an aide to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. In 1960, Crowe took command of USS Trout (SS-566), homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, and served as commanding officer of that ship until 1962. From there, Crowe earned a master's degree in education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. After turning down an invitation from Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to enter the Navy's nuclear power program, Crowe earned a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University in 1965 after completing a doctoral dissertation titled "The policy roots of the modern Royal Navy 1946-1963." During the Vietnam War he was the senior adviser to the Vietnamese Riverine Force. In 1969, he took command of Submarine Division 31, homeported in San Diego, California.
A long string of assignments followed:
On July 10, 1985, Crowe was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). He continued to serve as CJCS through the Bush administration until 1989, when he retired from active duty. He was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve under the provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, where he as chairman became (not the collegial body of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), by statute, the principal military adviser to the president, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. In 1989, Army General Colin L. Powell succeeded him as CJCS.
After he retired in October 1989, Crowe returned to the University of Oklahoma and William J. Crowe chair in geopolitics. Crowe surprised politicians when he endorsed Bill Clinton in the presidential election of 1992. President Clinton named Crowe chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1993. In 1994, Clinton appointed Crowe the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and he served in that capacity until 1997.
Crowe sat on the boards of Texaco, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, Norfolk Southern Corporation, and General Dynamics. He also served on the board of Emergent BioSolutions (then Bioport), a company that provided controversial anthrax vaccinations to the U.S. military in the 1990s. The deal was approved by the Clinton administration, with which Crowe had a previous relationship. At the time of his death, Crowe served as the chairman of the board of Global Options, Inc., an international risk-management and business solutions company headquartered in Washington, D.C.
As he did at the University of Oklahoma in 1990–91, Crowe taught a seminar class on national security at the United States Naval Academy from 2000 to 2007.
In 2004, Crowe was among 27 retired diplomats and military commanders called Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change who publicly said the administration of President George W. Bush did not understand the world and was unable to handle "in either style or substance" the responsibilities of global leadership.On June 16, 2004 the former senior diplomats and military commanders issued a statement against the Iraq War.
Crowe died on October 18, 2007, at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland at age 82 due to a heart condition.His funeral was held on October 31, 2007, at the Naval Academy chapel; Bill Clinton spoke. Crowe was buried later that day in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. As of 2016, he is one of only two deceased former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to not be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His predecessor, John William Vessey Jr. died in 2016 and was buried in Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, Minnesota.
In 2008, a fellowship was established in Crowe's honor at the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce to support a former member of the U.S. armed forces who – like Crowe – is shifting from military to diplomatic service.
In 2009, the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma established the Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. Award. This award is presented to an outstanding International and Area Studies (IAS) graduate every spring semester. The award recognizes an IAS student who has demonstrated high academic achievement, a commitment to public service, and a desire to pursue a career in global affairs. Also in 2009, the Xbox/ PS2 game, Heroes of the Pacific, was released. The main character's name is also William Crowe, though whether or not this was inspired by the real-life Crowe is unknown.
Crowe was married to Shirley Grennell in 1954. They had three children.
|Ensign||Lieutenant junior grade||Lieutenant||Lieutenant commander||Commander||Captain|
|June 5, 1946||June 5, 1949||June 1, 1952||January 1, 1958||July 1, 1962||July 1, 1967|
|Rear admiral (lower half)||Rear admiral (upper half)||Vice admiral||Admiral|
|June 1, 1973||August 1, 1977||September 26, 1977||June 6, 1980|
Crowe was awarded Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) honorary degrees from numerous universities, including University of Liverpool, The George Washington University, and Knox College.
In 1989 Crowe appeared in an episode of the television sitcom Cheers (Season 7, Episode 17 "Hot Rocks"), where he played himself.
On 1990 he was the first recipient of the Distinguished Sea Service Award of Naval Order of the United States.
In 1993 Crowe published his memoirs in the book The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military.
Crowe received four Defense Distinguished Service Medals and numerous military decorations from heads of state. In 1998, the American Atatürk Association honored Crowe with the "Atatürk Peace and Democracy Award".Following his retirement from the Navy, he was awarded a 2000 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
|U.S. military decorations|
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters)|
|Navy Distinguished Service Medal (with two gold stars)|
|Army Distinguished Service Medal|
|Air Force Distinguished Service Medal|
|Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit (with 2 gold award stars)|
|Bronze Star with Valor device|
|Air Medal with bronze award numeral 7 (strike/flight awards)|
|U.S. Unit Awards|
|Navy Unit Commendation|
|U.S. non-military decorations|
|Presidential Medal of Freedom|
|U.S. service and campaign awards|
|China Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Navy Occupation Service Medal with Pacific clasp|
|National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Vietnam Service Medal with 1 campaign star|
|Humanitarian Service Medal|
|Foreign military decorations, unit and campaign awards|
|Republic of Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order 2nd Class|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and Bronze Star|
|Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal First Class|
|Republic of Korea Order of the National Security Merit Tong-Il Medal|
|Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic|
|Knight Grand Cross of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation|
|Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal|
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The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service that is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.
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| Commander of United States Pacific Command |
| Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff |
| Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board |
| Chair of the Intelligence Oversight Board |
| United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom |