CAPTAIN WILLIAM B. GOGGINS
William Bernard Goggins was born in Republic, Washington, on September 10, 1898, the son of William Goggins and Midge May (McCarter) Goggins. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle for one semester, before he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from his native state in 1916. While a Midshipman he was on the swimming team for three years (was Captain his first class year) and was a member of the track team. During World War I, in the summers of 1917 and 1918, he had service aboard the USS ARKANSAS and USS UTAH, respectfully. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 6, 1919, with the class of 1920, he subsequently advanced to the rank of Captain to date from June18, 1942. On June 30, 1949, he was transferred to the Retired List and advanced to the grade of Rear Admiral.
Following graduation from the Academy in 1919, he joined the USS IDAHO, serving in her until December 1920. After duty in the USS MEADE, he reported, in March 1921, for duty as Assistant Communications Officer on the staff of Commander Destroyer Force and Flotilla FOUR, Pacific Fleet, USS CHARLESTON, flagship. In October 1921 he transferred to the staff of Destroyer Squadron TWELVE, Pacific Fleet, USS McDERMUT, flagship, as Radio Officer. Continuing staff duty he was attached to the staff of Commander, Battleship Division FOUR, Battle Fleet, USS ARIZONA, flagship, from June 1923 to June 1924.
Returning to the United States, he had instruction in communication engineering at the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, continuing the course at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Completing his instruction in October 1926, he joined the USS FLORIDA, and between October 1927 and August 1929, was attached to the staff of Commander, Light Cruiser Divisions and Division TWO, Scouting Fleet, as Aide and Radio Officer. Thereafter he had duty in the Radio Division, Bureau of Engineering (later combined with the Bureau of Construction and Repair, and designated Bureau of Ships) Navy Department, Washington, D.C.
In June 1931, he joined the staff of Commander, Scouting Force, U.S. Fleet, USS AUGUSTA, flagship, as Aide and Force Radio Officer. He remained in that assignment until June 1932 when he joined the USS HAMILTON as Executive Officer, transferring in July 1933, in the same capacity to the USS NOA. Following a second tour of duty in the Bureau of Engineering, between June 1934 and June1936, he commanded the USS McCORMICK, flagship, Destroyer Division TWENTY SEVEN, and later served as Navigator of the USS TRENTON, flagship, cruiser Division TWO, Battle Force.
He served from 1939 to 1941 at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, after which he had six months duty as Executive Officer of the USS MARBLEHEAD participating in the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942. The ship sustained heavy damage in action against the Japanese. XO Goggins was severely burned. He and other casualties were landed on Java while the MARBLEHEAD limped home.
By the end of the month, Japanese forces were going ashore on Java, and the American sailors were hidden until the escaped to Australia aboard small craft. These adventures formed the basis for the book by James Hilton and a movie, "The Story Of Dr. Wassell," which starred Gary Cooper and was produced by Cecil B. DeMille.
He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He is also entitled to the ribbon of the Navy Commendation awarded the officers and men of the USS MARBLEHEAD for action in the Java Sea on February 4, 1942. Following brief duty in the USS RAMAPO, he was ordered on October 3, 1942, to duty as Officer in Charge, Radio Intelligence Unit, Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas and for services in that assignment from October 1942 to January 1945 was awarded the Legion of Merit.
He assumed command of the USS ALABAMA on January 18, 1945 while the ship was being overhauled at Puget Sound Navy Yard. Upon completion of that task and training exercises she headed for the Far East where she joined the fleet at Ulithi in May 1945.
The ALABAMA supported the operations at Okinawa and Kyushu and her gunners assisted in shooting down several Kamikaze planes. In one instance, a plane crashed only several hundred feet away. The ALABAMA, under his command, participated in the strikes against Japanese industrial installations, and other facilities from Honshu to Kokkaido. On one occasion her principle target was an engineering works about fifty miles north of Tokyo and after the surprise attack and shelling of more than on thousand five hundred tons of explosives the ALABAMA later learned she had done a very handsome job of demolishing the targets assigned her.
He was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit, with Combat Distinguished Device "V" for Meritorious service as Commanding Officer of the USS ALABAMA from April 28, 1945 to August 3, 1945. "....The performance of his ship was exemplary during the 17 - 18 July 1945, in the bombardment of Hitachi, Honshu, Japan, during which the damages inflicted by his ship on the assigned target was the subject of special commendation by the Task Unit Commander..."
After returning to the United States he reported for duty in January 1946 in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., serving in that assignment until May 1947, when he assumed duty as Commanding Officer, Naval Administrative Command, Central Intelligence Group, Washington, D.C. From July 1947 to May 1949, when he was relieved of all active duty pending retirement, he served as Chief of Staff and Aide to the commandant, Fifteenth Naval District, Balboa, Canal Zone. On June 30, 1949, he was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy.
In addition to the Legion of Merit and Gold Star, the Purple Heart Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon (USS MARBLEHEAD) Rear Admiral Goggins has the World War I Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Philippine Defense Ribbon with one bronze star; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp.
After retirement for the Navy, Admiral Goggins later did research at Johns Hopkins University and was a staff consultant to the Army Research Association. He also had operated his own firm, the General Kinetics Institute, a computer and communications company.
His wife of 59 years, the former Etta Elgin, died in 1981. His survivors include a son, retired Air Force Lt. Col. William B. Goggins, Jr. of Bedford, Mass.; a daughter, Jane G. Ryan of Alexandria, VA; a sister, Beatrice Taber of Tumwater, Wash., and six grandchildren.
Rear Adm. Goggins died of cardiac arrest December 27, 1985. He lived in Arlington, Va.