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In Memoriam: Rear Admiral William M. Fogarty, USN

June 23, 2022 | By Sam Cox (Rear Adm. USN, Ret.), Director, Naval History and Heritage Command
It is with deep regret I inform you of the passing of Rear Admiral William Miley “Bill” Fogarty, U.S. Navy (Ret.), on 13 June 2022 at age 86. Rear Admiral Fogarty was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve in June 1958 and served as a surface line officer until his retirement in September 1991, following his tour as Commander Middle East Force during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. His other commands included USS Hooper (DE-1026), USS Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089), Destroyer Squadron TWO SIX (DESRON 26), Destroyer Squadron TEN (DESRON 10), USS New Jersey (BB-62), and Amphibious Group TWO (PHIBGRU 2). He was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for combat service in the Vietnam War. 

Bill Fogarty graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. On 4 June 1958, he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, reporting for active duty on 12 December 1958. His initial assignment was to landing ship dock USS Gunston Hall (LSD-5) for operations along the U.S. West Coast. He was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) in December 1959. He was honorably released from active duty in November 1960, but remained in the Naval Reserve. Lieutenant (j.g.) Fogarty returned to active duty in September 1961 and was assigned to San Diego–based tank landing ship USS Outagamie County (LST-1073) as executive officer, subsequently conducting mid–Pacific Ocean survey duty. He was promoted to lieutenant in June 1962. 
In April 1963, Lieutenant Fogarty reported to destroyer USS Lofberg (DD-759) while the ship was deployed to the western Pacific. Lofberg deployed from San Diego again in October 1964 for Formosa Straits patrol duty and operations off the coast of Vietnam. She escorted carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19) in establishing Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin in response to the escalating situation in Vietnam. This included the inception of Operation Rolling Thunder in March 1965. Lofberg assisted other destroyers in her division in forcing two Soviet submarines to the surface and ushering them out of the South China Sea. In June 1965, Lieutenant Fogarty was assigned to the staff of Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group Pacific (COMCRUDESPAC), based in San Diego. In December 1966, he attended Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare School in San Diego. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in January 1967. 

In January 1967, Lieutenant Commander Fogarty assumed duty as executive officer on destroyer USS Rowan (DD-782), deploying to the Vietnam combat zone in the fall of 1967, conducting naval gunfire support mission to friendly forces ashore, and providing escort services to Task Force 77 carriers operating in the Tonkin Gulf. In January 1968, Fogarty assumed command of destroyer escort USS Hooper (DE-1026), operating out of Naval Station Long Beach as a Naval Reserve training ship. In July 1969, he was assigned to the Defense Language Institute (East Coast branch) for instruction in German. In December 1969, he then attended the German Command and Staff College in Hamburg, Germany. In September 1971, he reported to the Damage Control Training Center, Philadelphia, for duty under instruction. He was promoted to commander in November 1971. 

In November 1971, Commander Fogarty was assigned as chief engineer on antisubmarine-warfare (ASW) carrier USS Wasp (CVS-18), stationed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and being prepared for decommissioning. In September 1972, Fogarty reported to the Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana as pre-commissioning commanding office of Knox-class destroyer escort USS Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089, later redesignated FF-1089). Commissioning the ship in Boston in February 1973, Commander Fogarty then led the ship through shake-down, homeport transfer to Newport, Rhode Island, Caribbean work-ups, and a trans-Atlantic crossing to Rota for her first deployment. Jesse L. Brown was awarded the Battle Efficiency Ribbon. 

In June 1974, Commander Fogarty was assigned as a student to the National War College in Washington, DC, graduating in July 1975 and concurrently earning a master of science degree in international relations from George Washington University. He then reported as a strategic plans officer (in OP-60) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). In December 1976, Fogarty was reassigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an operations analyst/military assistant. In July 1977, he was assigned as executive assistant to Undersecretary of the Navy R. James Woolsey, Jr. Fogarty was promoted to captain in September 1978. 
In July 1979, Captain Fogarty assumed command of Destroyer Squadron TWO SIX (DESRON 26), formerly known as CNO Zumwalt’s “Mod Squad." Designated a “tactical” DESRON after a 1978 reorganization, the Newport-based DESRON was responsible for destroyers and frigates engaged in exercises and deployments. In August 1980, Fogarty assumed command of Norfolk-based Destroyer Squadron TEN (DESRON 10), a “readiness” DESRON, responsible for the training and readiness of 18 destroyers and frigates. 

In October 1981, Captain Fogarty assumed duty as pre-commissioning commanding officer of battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62), which was in the process of being reactivated for a third time since World War II as part of the Reagan administration’s naval build-up to a 600-ship navy. New Jersey was formally re-commissioned in December 1982. During her initial workups for operations in the eastern Pacific in response to crises with Nicaragua, New Jersey was directed in June 1983 to proceed through the Panama Canal and into the eastern Mediterranean in response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Lebanon. The country’s instability to lead to the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in October 1983. Captain Fogarty detached from command of New Jersey in October 1983, returning to the Office of the CNO as the director of Force-Level Plans Division (OP-950). 

He was promoted to rear admiral (lower half) on 1 November 1983. In 1984, Rear Admiral Fogarty graduated from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Program for National and International Security. In April 1985, he was designated a rear admiral (two-star) for duty in a billet commensurate with the rank, and assumed command of Amphibious Squadron TWO (PHIBRON 2) in Norfolk. He was promoted to rear admiral on 1 September 1986. 

In August 1987, RADM Fogarty was assigned to U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as the director of plans and policy (J5). While in this position, he was assigned in July 1988 to lead the formal investigation into the shoot-down of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes (CG-49). His recommendation that no punitive action be taken against the commanding officer of Vincennes resulted in controversy. Although the details of his report were accurate, redactions and misleading statements by more senior officials unfairly damaged the report’s credibility and led to accusations of a Navy cover-up; this probably had a negative effect on Rear Admiral Fogarty’s prospects for advancement. 

In March 1989, Rear Admiral Fogarty assumed command of the U.S. Navy Middle East Force (COMIDEASTFOR), dual-hatted as Commander Joint Task Force Middle East (CJTF-ME), and embarked on flagship USS La Salle (AGF-3), stationed in Mina Salman, Bahrain, as the senior U.S. naval officer in the Middle East. The comparative lull in the quasi-war (“tanker war”) between the U.S. Navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy was overtaken by the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. 

Upon the initiation of Operation Desert Shield, Commander U.S. SEVENTH Fleet was designated as Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (COMUSNAVCENT). COMIDEASTFOR then fell under COMUSNAVCENT. Rear Admiral Fogarty was designated Commander Task Group 150.1, responsible for surface ships inside the Arabian Gulf, and CTG-150.2, responsible for maritime interception force operations throughout the region. The task groups quickly shut down almost all shipping in and out of Iraq, eventually entailing several thousand interceptions and hundreds of boardings. In a subsequent change to the command-and-control structure, Fogarty was designated Commander Task Force 151 (CTF-151), responsible for all ships inside the Arabian Gulf not assigned to carrier battle groups. This included responsibility for area air defense, mine countermeasures, combat search and rescue, and naval gunfire support. He also was CTF-152, with continuing responsibility for region-wide maritime interception operations. Rear Admiral Fogarty’s change of command occurred on 23 February 1991, during the height of Operation Desert Storm (which struck me as an inopportune time to change horses, but apparently time, tide, and change of command wait for no man). 

Rear Admiral Fogarty then reported in February 1991 to the Office of the CNO in Washington, DC, awaiting assignment (which didn’t happen). He retired from active duty on 1 September 1991. 

Rear Admiral Fogarty’s awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit (five awards); Navy Commendation Medal (two awards, at least one with Combat “V”; Navy Unit Citation (a second was awarded after his retirement); Battle Efficiency Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal (two awards); Southwest Asia Service Medal (two awards, after retirement); Vietnam Service Medal (two campaign stars); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with two bronze stars); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (with device); and, after retirement, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) and Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait). There is a discrepancy in accounts regarding a Navy Expeditionary Medal (he is not wearing it in one-star photo, but he does appear to have an Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal in fuzzy photo of his last change of command on La Salle). He also has other commemorative recognition for Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard combat action, and for the liberation of Kuwait. 

After retiring from active duty, Rear Admiral Fogarty went to work for Day and Zimmerman, Inc., a Philadelphia-based engineering and technical services company, as vice president for business development in the Middle East, operating out of Cairo, Egypt. After two years, he was promoted to president of SEACOR, a division of Day and Zimmerman in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, providing engineering and technical service to the Military Sealift Command. In 1992, he was awarded an Alumni Citation of Achievement by Iowa University of Science and Technology. In April 1996, he went to work for United Defense L.P. (later BAE Systems) as director of business planning for armament systems division in Minneapolis. In February 1999, he was named director of Navy product services and senior advisor to the general manager of ASD. He retired in July 2003, but continued to work for United Defense on a consultancy basis. 

Services at Arlington National Cemetery are to be determined. 

Rear Admiral Fogarty is definitely a case study in the detailer adage, “bloom where planted” because he certainly came up through the ranks the hard way. There was nothing glamorous about his first tours as a reserve officer in and out of active duty on Gunston Hall and Outagamie County, although destroyer Lofberg had some interesting operations in the early phases of the Vietnam War. His return to the war zone as executive officer of destroyer Rowan as combat was peaking was certainly challenging. His talents as a leader were recognized by command of a destroyer escort (Hooper) as an 0-4 (lieutenant commander). His reward was to be assigned as chief engineer on an aircraft carrier (Wasp) at the end of her service life, which normally would be soul crushing. However, he then brought frigate Jesse L. Brown into commission, earning a Battle E in her first year in the Fleet, a superb achievement. His experience on World War II–vintage Wasp probably came in handy when he brought World War II–vintage battleship New Jersey back into commission and then took her on the first half of what would be a marathon unplanned deployment, one of the longest in modern U.S. Navy history. Somewhat inexplicably, the Navy sent him to German language training and German War College, for which, based on the rest of his career, he apparently had no further use. His leadership skills came to the fore in command of DESRONs and a PHIBRON, and propelled him to flag rank (being executive assistant to UNDERSECNAV Woolsey, and performing superbly, didn’t hurt). However, his assignment as lead investigating officer for the shoot-down of an Iranian civilian jetliner was a classic no-win situation. Rear Admiral Fogarty was known for his forthrightness, according to Vice Admiral James Stockdale, but he was not helped by the “spin” put on the report by higher echelons. Undeterred, Fogarty led CTF-151 and CTF-152 into combat operations in Desert Storm. As the rest of the joint force took six months to get ready, the ships under Fogarty demonstrated their readiness from Day 1 in maritime interception operations, one of the most unsung successful chapters of Desert Shield and Desert Storm—which on occasion required actual shots across the bow of uncooperative vessels. Rear Admiral Fogarty served with great dedication and distinction, under some of the toughest circumstances imaginable and at great sacrifice to home life, for which the Navy and nation are grateful, and for which he will be remembered. 

Rest in Peace, Admiral Fogarty.