Rear Admiral William H. McLaughlin, Jr., a 39 year Navy veteran, passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2007 after a valiant 5 year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was residing at Azalea Trace, Pensacola, Florida.
Born on September 6, 1921 in Haverill, MA, Bill was raised in Bradford and Stoneham, MA. He attended Boston College for two years prior to his appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated with the Class of 1945. He was commissioned Ensign on June 7, 1944 (accelerated course due to World War II).
Bill holds a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from George Washington University, and was a distinguished graduate of the US Naval War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy, he joined USS San Juan (CL54), and participated in five Pacific campaigns. After cessation of hostilities, he was engaged in the evacuation and repatriation of Allied Prisoners of War from camps in Japan. Detached in October 1945, he reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator and earned his Wings of Gold in February 1947. Following successive assignments with Patrol Squadron TWENTY-SIX in Port Lyautey French Morocco, he reported as Assistant Professor of Naval Science, NROTC, Yale University.
Graduating with distinction from the US Naval War College, he next reported to Air Antisubmarine Squadron TWENTY-THREE. Operating from USS Princeton, he participated in the Taiwan crisis in 1958. After a staff assignment with Commander Fleet Air Japan, he had successive tours with Air Antisubmarine Squadrons FORTY-ONE and TWENTY-NINE, then commanded Air Antisubmarine Squadron THIRTY-EIGHT. In April 1963, Bill took command of Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group FIFTY-NINE.
Bill and his family spent 1964-1968 in the Washington DC area, where he served in multiple challenging assignments in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and George Washington University.
Returning to sea duty, Bill had successive command of USS Vermillion (LKA107) and USS Ticonderoga (CVS14). Following these successful tours, he then reported as Chief of Staff to Commander Carrier Division FOUR in December 1970. While then serving as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Training in Pensacola, Bill was selected for Flag rank in August 1972.
In his first Flag assignment, he assumed command of Antisubmarine Warfare Group FOUR in October 1972, and in February 1973 reported as Deputy Commander of the US Second Fleet. In April 1974, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Command and Control to the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet, with additional duty on the Joint Staff of the Commander in Chief, Western Atlantic Area, and on the Staff of Commander Ocean Sub Area, Atlantic.
In 1976, he was assigned as Commander Fleet Air Mediterranean, headquartered in Naples, Italy. In 1978, he reported to the Chief of Naval Operations Staff as Deputy Director, Command and Control, and stood up a new Directorate OP (09B).
Following his retirement from active duty in 1979, RADM McLaughlin returned to Pensacola and helped form the National Museum of Naval Aviation as the inaugural Vice President (deferred giving) of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. He then accepted a position with Advanced Machine Company in Minneapolis, MN, and served as Vice President from 1983-1986. Bill retired to Virginia Beach VA to be closer to his children, then relocated to Pensacola FL following the death of his first wife, Rita Claire.
Bill was an avid sportsman in his limited spare time, and excelled in handball, racquetball, and golf, He reveled in his early days as a forward on the Boston College Ice Hockey Team.
Bill was a member of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, the Golden Eagles, MOAA, Navy League, San Juan Association, and Stardusters Dance Club. His personal awards and military decorations include: Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), Legion of Merit (3 awards), Meritorious Service Medal, National Order of Merit (France), American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (5 awards), World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
He was predeceased by his parents, William H. McLaughlin, Sr. and G. Rachel Maguire McLaughlin, a sister Katheryn R. Rich, and his loving first wife of 46 years, Rita Champagne McLaughlin. Bill is survived by his beloved wife Beatrice B. McLaughlin, brother Daniel H. McLaughlin (wife Jane) of Stoneham, MA, five children: Mary Ann Renaud of Pensacola FL, Suzanne Morandi of Virginia Beach VA, Sharon Vogt of Pensacola FL, (husband Michael), Dr. William H. McLaughlin III (wife Betty Frost), of Winchester VA, Albert P. McLaughlin of Norfolk, VA, eleven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, three stepchildren, Jeffery W. Sears and Gregory J. Sears of Pensacola FL, Douglas M. Sears (wife Cathy) of Anson, ME, and five step-grandchildren.
Vistation will be held from 5 to 6:30 pm. Sunday, September 23, 2007 at Harper Morris Memorial Chapel with the Rosary to be prayed at 6:30.
Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Monday, September 24. 2007 at 11:00 AM at the Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 9945 Hillview Drive, Pensacola, FL. The Reverend Father John Licari will be presiding.
Pallbearers will be Patrick McLaughlin, Michael Vogt, Christopher Hines, Nathan Renaud, John Riley, and Gregory Sears.
HARPER MORRIS MEMORIAL CHAPEL is in charge of the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Family Services, Pensacola FL, or the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, 1750 Radford Blvd, Ste. B, NAS Pensacola, FL.
Graveside services will be held on Thursday September 27, 2007 at 10:00 AM at the US Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis MD.
Bill was a man of honor, integrity, faith, and family, and will always be remembered as one who remained true to his principles. Throughout his life, his love, sense of humor, and great compassion for his fellow man always brought joy to those around him.