Ward, Norvell G. (1912-2005)
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on eight interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell from May 1985 through July 1987. The volume contains 514 pages of interview transcript plus an index. The transcript is copyright 1996 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee has placed no restrictions on its use.
As a midshipman at the Naval Academy in the early 1930s, excelled at soccer and lacrosse and acquired the nicknames "Bub" and "Cocky.” After graduation in 1935, he served the heavy cruiser Salt Lake City (CA-25) before attending submarine school. In the ensuing years he was in several submarines, including the S-26 (SS-131) and R-4 (SS-81) before the war; Seadragon (SS-194), which he was on board when Cavite was attacked in December 1941; Gato (SS-212), in which he was executive officer; and Guardfish (SS-217), which he commanded in 1943-44. During the last year of World War II he was on the staff of Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet as assistant to operations officer Richard Voge. Following the end of the war he had occupation duty in Japan and then commanded the submarine Irex (SS-482). Subsequent assignments included duty at the Naval Academy, the staff of Commander Submarine Flotilla One, and command of the destroyer Yarnall (DD-541) during the Korean War. Later in the 1950s he was a student at the Armed Forces Staff College, a member of the staff of Commander Second Fleet, and a student at the National War College. Sea commands included the oiler Nantahala (AO-60), Submarine Squadron Five, and Submarine Squadron 14. The latter was the first squadron of Polaris ballistic missile submarines. In the early 1960s he had duty in the plans and war-gaming sections of OpNav. From 1965 to 1967, he served as Chief U.S. Naval Advisory Group Vietnam and then Commander U.S. Naval Forces Vietnam. Admiral Ward has provided extensive discussion of his Vietnam experiences. His last flag assignments were as Commander Service Group Three, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Safety), and Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier. He retired from active duty in 1973.