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Forrestal, James Vincent

Date of birth:
February 15th, 1892 (Matteawan/New York, United States)
Date of death:
May 22nd, 1949 (Bethesda/Maryland, United States)
Buried on:
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: 30. Grave: 674 SH.
American (1776 - present, Republic)


August 22, 1940 May 16, 1944: United States Under Secretary of the Navy
May 19, 1944 September 17, 1947: United States Secretary of the Navy
September 17, 1947 March 28, 1949: 1st United States Secretary of Defense

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
January 27th, 1948
Medal for Merit
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Government
Awarded on:
April 14th, 1949
"JAMES FORRESTAL has performed exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service to the United States of America in a position of great responsibility as the first Secretary of Defense, and head of the National Military Establishment from its origination under the National Security Act of 1947 on September 18, 1947, to March 28, 1949. During this period, he was responsible for envisaging, planning, and executing important policies and programs for the integration of the Armed Forces and the related agencies of the National Military Establishment, and his success in this complex undertaking materially advanced the security of the nation. He courageously and with statesman-like skill led in the resolving of vast, complex and innumerable problems in the manifold and unexplored areas involved. He was remarkably successful in building a solid foundation for the unified military establishment, in achieving fruitful progress in many fields, and also in expediting to an exceptional degree the development of the Armed Forces in the urgent and far reaching fields of scientific accomplishment. Beginning this challenging assignment with a background of more than seven years of distinguished public service, he performed his duties as Secretary of Defense with vigorous leadership, fearlessness, integrity, selflessness, and unstinted expenditure of physical effort. To implement the task undertaken he, with excellent judgment and rare initiative, brought to action numerous civilian, scientific, industrial, business, religious and educational elements of the Nation to augment the uniformed personnel in making our military strength a potent factor in the constant efforts of the nation to attain the goal of world peace."

Department of the Army, General Orders No. 20
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)