WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Every man and woman serving our Navy today joins me in mourning the death of retired Adm. Maurice F. Weisner, World War II hero and former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Pacific Command. We extend humbly to his family our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies in their time of grief and sorrow.
Adm. Weisner served his nation nobly for the better part of four decades. He did so at peace and at war, at sea and ashore all over the world. On his chest they pinned Distinguished Service Medals from the Department of Defense, Army, Air Force and four from the Navy; two awards of the Legion of Merit; two Distinguished Flying Crosses; six Air Medals; a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; five unit commendations; and a host of campaign and service medals. Foreign decorations from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Republic of Vietnam, Philippine Republic, Kingdom of Thailand and the United Nations also graced his uniform.
But it was never about the honors or the medals. For Adm. Weisner, it was about the mission and about his people. He learned that lesson aboard USS Wasp in September of 1942, when three torpedoes from a Japanese submarine slammed into the ship's side, killing nearly 200 of the crew. And he learned it again just three years later, when flying off the deck of another aircraft carrier, he sank a Japanese destroyer escort. From command of three aircraft squadrons right up through command of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Weisner stayed dedicated to the ideal of service and shipmate before self.
As we mourn his passing, so too should we reflect on his contributions to our Navy -- of the thousands of lives he guided, the careers he mentored, the difference he made globally by being a strong leader. He ushered in a new era of sea power, helping this nation win the Cold War just as he had helped it win World War II. Indeed, modern naval aviation still stands on his broad shoulders. We would all do well to remember the remarkable legacy of this truly great man.
Editor's note: The funeral service for Adm. Weisner will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at the Naval Aviation Memorial Chapel on Pensacola Naval Air Station. Burial will follow at Barrancas National Cemetery.
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