57 Facts About Arthur Radford


Arthur William Radford was an admiral and naval aviator of the United States Navy.

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In over 40 years of military service, Radford held a variety of positions including the vice chief of Naval Operations, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet and later the second chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Arthur William Radford was born on 27 February 1896 in Chicago, Illinois, to John Arthur Radford, a Canadian-born electrical engineer, and Agnes Eliza Radford.

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John Arthur Radford managed the first steam turbine engines in the United States, at the Fisk Street Generating Station.

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Arthur Radford began his school years at Riverside Public School, where he expressed an interest in the United States Navy from a young age.

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Arthur Radford gained an interest in aviation during a visit to the 1904 World's Fair in St Louis, Missouri.

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In mid-1910, Arthur Radford moved with his family to Grinnell, Iowa, and attended Grinnell High School for a year and a half, before deciding to apply to the United States Naval Academy.

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Arthur Radford obtained the local congressman's recommendation for an appointment to the academy, and was accepted.

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Arthur Radford participated in summer cruises to Europe in 1913 and 1914 and passed through the Panama Canal to San Francisco in 1916.

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Arthur Radford, known as "Raddie" to his fellow students, graduated 59th of 177 in the class of 1916, and was commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy during the First World War.

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In 1920, Arthur Radford reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training, and was promoted to lieutenant soon thereafter.

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In July 1941, Arthur Radford was appointed commander of the Naval Air Station in Trinidad, British West Indies.

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Arthur Radford protested this appointment because he feared he would remain there for years, sidelined as World War II loomed.

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Arthur Radford took command of the Aviation Training Division in Washington, DC on 1 December 1941, seven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II.

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Arthur Radford was appointed as Director of Aviation Training for both the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Bureau of Navigation; the double appointment helped to centralize training coordination for all naval aviators.

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Arthur Radford oversaw the massive growth of the training division, establishing separate sections for administration; Physical Training Service Schools; and training devices; and sections to train various aviators in flight, aircraft operation, radio operation, and gunnery.

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Arthur Radford engineered the establishment of four field commands for pilot training.

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Arthur Radford sought to integrate his own efficient leadership style into the organization of these schools.

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Arthur Radford was noted for thinking progressively and innovatively to establish the most effective and efficient training programs.

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Arthur Radford sought to integrate sports conditioning programs into naval aviator training.

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Arthur Radford brought in athletic directors from Ohio State University, Harvard University and Penn State University under football player and naval aviator Tom Hamilton, to whom he gave the remit to develop the conditioning programs.

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Arthur Radford suggested integrating women into intricate but repetitive tasks, such as running flight simulators.

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Arthur Radford sought to best use the assets of businessmen and professionals who had volunteered for military service, establishing the Aviation Indoctrination School and Air Combat Intelligence School at Naval Air Station Quonset Point so as to enable these advanced recruits to become more experienced naval officers.

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Arthur Radford then spent May and June 1943 on an inspection party under Gates, touring US bases in the south Pacific.

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Arthur Radford spent several weeks observing flight operations and carrier tactics for various ships operating out of Hawaii.

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Arthur Radford shifted his flag to Lexington for the operation, which took two days.

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Arthur Radford did not agree with this strategy, maintaining until his death that the force should have gone on an offensive to strike Japanese air power instead of being tied to the ground forces.

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Arthur Radford's force was occupied with air strikes on Japanese ground targets, and faced frequent attack by Japanese aircraft in night combat, which US aircrews were not well prepared or equipped for.

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Arthur Radford improvised a unit to counter Japanese night raids, and was later credited with establishing routines for nighttime combat air patrols to protect carriers; these were adopted fleetwide.

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Arthur Radford assisted in planning upcoming operations, including Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshall Islands.

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Arthur Radford had hoped to return to combat duty at the end of this assignment, but in March 1944 he was ordered to Washington, DC and appointed as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.

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Arthur Radford's duties included establishing a new integrated system for aircraft maintenance, supply, and retirement, for which he was appointed the head of a board to study aircraft wear and tear.

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Arthur Radford returned to Pearl Harbor on 7 October 1944, where he was appointed as commander of First Carrier Task Force, Carrier Division Six.

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Arthur Radford flew to Ulithi where he reported to Vice Admiral John S McCain, Sr.

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On 29 December 1944, Arthur Radford was unexpectedly ordered to take command of Task Group 38.

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Arthur Radford commanded the force in this duty until V-J Day, the end of the war in the Pacific.

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When Fleet Admiral Ernest J King issued a post-war plan calling for the US to maintain nine active aircraft carriers, Radford suggested he double the number, a politically unrealistic proposal.

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Arthur Radford was picked by Forrestal to form the Secretary's Committee of Research and Reorganization.

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In 1947, Arthur Radford was briefly appointed commander of the Second Task Fleet, a move he felt was to distance him from the budget negotiations in Washington, but nonetheless preferred.

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In 1948, Radford was appointed by President Harry S Truman as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

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Arthur Radford was relied on by Navy leaders as an expert who would fiercely defend the Navy's interests from budget restrictions, but his appointment as VCNO was opposed by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who feared his hard-line stance on the budget would alienate the generals in the other branches of the military.

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Arthur Radford oversaw the implementation of the "Full Air Program" which envisioned 14,500 total aircraft in the naval air force.

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Arthur Radford traveled extensively throughout the Pacific as well as South Asia and the Far East.

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Arthur Radford became acquainted with political and military leaders in New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaya, Burma, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Formosa, and Japan, and learned about the sociopolitical issues facing each nation and the region as a whole.

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Arthur Radford supported Operation Chromite in October 1950, as well as the United Nations mission of Korean reunification.

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Once Truman relieved MacArthur in April 1951, Radford reportedly gave the general a "hero's welcome" in Hawaii as he was returning to the United States.

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Eisenhower was looking for an exit strategy for the stalemated and unpopular war, and Arthur Radford suggested threatening China with attacks on its Manchurian bases and the use of nuclear weapons.

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Arthur Radford was integral in formulating and executing the "New Look" policy, reducing spending on conventional military forces to favor a strong nuclear deterrent and a greater reliance on airpower.

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In late 1954, for example, Arthur Radford testified privately before a congressional committee that he felt some of Eisenhower's proposed defense cuts would limit the military's capability for "massive retaliation", but he kept his disagreements out of public view, working from within and seeking the funding to save specific strategic programs.

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In 1956, Arthur Radford proposed protecting several military programs from funding cuts by reducing numbers of conventional forces, but the proposal was leaked to the press, causing an uproar in Congress and among US military allies, and the plan was dropped.

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In 1957, after the other Joint Chiefs of Staff again disagreed on how to downsize force levels amid more budget restrictions, Arthur Radford submitted ideas for less dramatic force downsizing directly to Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson, who agreed to pass them along to Eisenhower.

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Arthur Radford advocated the use of nuclear weapons and a firm military and diplomatic stance against China.

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Arthur Radford even believed that the US threaten them with nuclear weapons as it had with the Chinese in Korea.

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Arthur Radford advocated US military intervention in the 1955 First Taiwan Strait Crisis as well as the 1956 Suez Crisis, but Eisenhower favored diplomatic approaches and threats of force.

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Arthur Radford was called upon to serve as military campaign advisor for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, and again for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.

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Arthur Radford died of cancer at age 77 on 17 August 1973 at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Arthur Radford is buried with his wife Miriam J Radford at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

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