Biography
of
THOMAS ROSS COOLEY
REAR ADMIRAL, U. S. NAVY

Rear Admiral Cooley was born in Grass Valley in the State of California. He graduated from Grass Valley High School and was appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of California, and graduated in March 1917.Upon receiving his commission, he was ordered to the USS FLORIDA which later in that year was one of the four U.S. Battleships that formed the SIXTH Battleship Squadron of the British Grand Fleet. He stayed in her throughout the War and participated in the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on November 21, 1918. T.R. Cooley

The Admiral left the FLORIDA in the Fall of 1920 and went to destroyers in the Pacific, serving on several as Executive Officer and Navigator. In October 1922, he was ordered to the Naval Academy where he served until 1924 as an Instructor of Ordnance and Gunnery. In 1924, Admiral Cooley was ordered to the Asiatic station and served as Executive Officer and Navigator of the USS PRUIT (DG-347) until January 1927, when he was again ordered to the Naval Academy us an Instructor in Ordnance and Gunnery.

In 1929, he served as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Rear Admiral E. H. Campbell, who was Commander Special Service Squadron serving in Central America. In 1931, he was ordered in command of the USS YARNALL.

In 1932, Rear Admiral Cooley was ordered to the Bureau of Navigation as one of the detail officers and served as such until 1934. At this time, he went to the USS CONCORD as Gunnery Officer and subsequently served in her as Navigator.

In 1937, he again went to the Naval Academy for duty in the Department of Seamanship and Navigation, and in 1940, left the Academy to go to the Heavy Cruiser, USS WICHITA, as Executive Officer.

In 1941, Rear Admiral Cooley was ordered to command the USS ALMAACK and in her served in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, In June 1942, he returned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Director of Officer Distribution, and was subsequently Director of Officer Personnel during the height of the War Mobilization Period.

In April 1944, the Admiral was ordered to command the USS WASHINGTON, the Flagship of the late Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee, Jr. During the period he commanded her, the WASHINGTON took part in the Marianas Campaign (the capture of Tinian, Siapan and Guam),Admiral Thomas Ross Cooleythe Capture of Palau, the preliminary raids softening Luzon, preceding its capture, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During the latter, the battleships went north and prevented the northern Japanese Force from joining the other Japanese ships in the Battle of Surigao Strait.

In November 1944, Rear Admiral Cooley was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral and relieved Vice Admiral Lee as Commander Battleship Division SIX. While in command of Battleship Division SIX, the Division was part or the first major American Surface Force which entered the South China Sea and destroyed Japanese shipping. Subsequently, ships under the Admiral's command took part in the capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and in the bombardment of the Japanese Home Land by the American battleships. When the war was over, Rear Admiral Cooley returned to the East Coast in his Flagship, the USS WASHINGTON with the NORTH CAROLINA.

After arriving on the East Coast, the Admiral was given additional duty as Commander Cruisers and Battleship Atlantic Fleet and later Commander Fourth Fleet of the Atlantic Fleet. Concurrently, he was also in command or the "MAGIC CARPET ATLANTIC" and had charge of returning the troops from Europe to the United States in the battleships and cruisers available.

In the summer of 1946, Admiral Cooley was placed in command of a task unit and made Commander of the Midshipmen's Practice Squadron.

In January 1947, Rear Admiral Cooley was ordered to duty as the Commander of the U. S. Naval Base, Newport, Rhode Island.

In October 1950, he was ordered to duty as Deputy Commander Western Sea Frontier and Deputy Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Rear Admiral Cooley has been awarded the following medals and decorations:
  • Legion of Merit with Combat "V"
  • Commendation Ribbon with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of second commendation ribbon
  • World War I Victory Medal - Grand Fleet Clasp
  • Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
  • Yangtze Service Medal
  • American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp "A" American Area Campaign Medal
  • European - African - Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic - Pacific Area Campaign Medal with 7 Stars for operations and engagements participated in
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Navy Occupation Service Medal
  • Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 2 Stars
  • Nicaraguan Medal of Merit with Silver Star

Rear Admiral Cooley was a member of the of the following Clubs or Organizations:
  • Army and Navy Club Washington D. C.
  • U. S. Naval Institute
  • U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
  • The Acme Gun Club of the Pacific
  • Sons of the Revolution (Rhode Island)
  • Naval Order of the United States
  • New York Commandery
  • Rotary International, Newport, Rhode Island (Honorary)
  • Narragansett Bay Power Squadrons of the United States Power Squadrons
  • Grandfathers of America, Sacramento, California
  • New York Yacht Club
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