Former Navy Secretary Underwrites Naval History Research Chair

Story Number: NNS030107-07Release Date: 1/7/2003 11:53:00 AM
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By David F. Winkler, Naval Historical Foundation Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) recently announced the creation of the J. William Middendorf II Naval History Research Chair and has appointed noted historian John C. Reilly Jr. to fill the post.

The position was created in part to respond to the numerous e-mails, letters and telephone calls, the NHF receives from Sailors, veterans, relatives and the general public on aspects of Naval history.

"Due to the generosity of Ambassador Middendorf, who provided the bulk of the funds necessary to support John Reilly's work, the foundation will be able to improve its ability to serve the public," said NHF president Vice Adm. (Ret.) Robert F. Dunn.

Middendorf, who represented the United States as ambassador to the Organization of American States during the Reagan administration and as Secretary of the Navy during the Ford administration, currently serves with the NHF's Board of Directors.

For the initial holder of the Middendorf Naval History Research Chair, the NHF found a highly qualified individual. Reilly, having earned a bachelor's degree in history and politics, and a master's degree in Library Science, served on active duty as a Naval Reserve officer from 1956 to 1959.

Subsequently, he established the library at Coast Guard Headquarters and then joined the staff of the Naval Historical Center for a 34-year stint. In 1984 he became head of the renowned Ships History Branch, a position he held to his retirement from federal service in 2001. He has also authored numerous books and articles.

For more information about the Naval Historical Foundation and its mission to preserve and promote our naval heritage visit

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