Admiral Boorda, born in South Bend, Ind., 26 November 1939, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956. He attained the rank of petty officer first class, serving at a number of commands, primarily in aviation. His last two enlisted assignments were in Attack Squadron 144 and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 11. He was selected for commissioning under the Integration Program in 1962.
Following Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and commissioning in August 1962, Admiral Boorda served aboard USS Porterfield (DD 682) as Combat Information Center Officer. He attended Naval Destroyer School in Newport and in 1964 was assigned as Weapons Officer, USS John R. Craig (DD 885). His next tour was as Commanding Officer, USS Parrot (MSC 197).
Admiral Boorda's first shore tour was as a weapons instructor at Naval Destroyer School in Newport. In 1971, after attending the U.S. Naval War College and also earning a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Rhode Island, he assumed duties as Executive Officer, USS Brooke (DEG 1). That tour was followed by a short period at the University of Oklahoma and an assignment as Head, Surface Lieutenant Commander Assignments/Assistant for Captain Detailing in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C.
From 1975 to 1977, Admiral Boorda commanded USS Farragut (DDG 37). He was next assigned as Executive Assistant to the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Washington, D.C. He relieved the civilian presidential appointee in that position, remaining until 1981 when he took command of Destroyer Squadron TWENTY-TWO.
In 1983 and 1984, he served as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training. In December 1984, he assumed his first flag officer assignment as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, remaining until July 1986.
His next assignment was Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group EIGHT in Norfolk, Virginia; he served as a Carrier Battle Group Commander embarked in USS Saratoga (CV 60), and also as Commander, Battle Force SIXTH Fleet in 1987.
In August 1988, Admiral Boorda became Chief of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training. In November 1991, he received his fourth star and in December 1991, became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH - Naples, Italy) and Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR - London, England). As CINCSOUTH, Admiral Boorda was in command of all NATO forces engaged in operations enforcing UN sanctions against the warring factions in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
On 1 February 1993, while serving as Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Europe, Admiral Boorda assumed the additional duty as Commander, Joint Task Force Provide Promise, responsible for the supply of humanitarian relief to Bosnia-Herzegovina via air-land and air-drop missions, and for troops contributing to the UN mission throughout the Balkans.
On April 23, 1994, Admiral Boorda became the 25th Chief of Naval Operations.
Admiral Boorda's military awards included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards) and a number of other personal and campaign awards.
Admiral Boorda died 16 May 1996 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is survived by the former Bettie Moran, four children and 11 grandchildren; two sons and one daughter-in-law are naval officers.
Reviewed: 31 July 2009