Carl Vinson

Photo added by Ron Moody

Carl Vinson

Fulton County, Georgia, USA
Death 1 Jun 1981 (aged 97)
Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia, USA
Burial Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia, USA
Plot West Side, Section H, Lot 5, Grave 1
Memorial ID 4278 · View Source
Suggest Edits

US Congressman. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a member of the US House or Representatives from Georgia's 10th district from November 1914 until March 1933 and 6th district from March 1933 until January 1965. Known as "The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy," he served 26 consecutive terms in the US House, rarely running against significant opposition for a total of 50 years and one month, a record that stood until 1992 when it was surpassed by Congressman Jamie L. Whitten of Mississippi. Born in Fulton County, Georgia, he attended Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia and graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with a law degree in 1902. In 1908 he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, serving for two terms. After losing a third term following redistricting, he was appointed judge of the Baldwin County court, but following the sudden death of Georgia US Senator Augustus Bacon, US Representative Thomas W. Hardwick of Georgia's 10th congressional district was nominated to fill Bacon's Senate seat and Vinson announced his candidacy for Hardwick's seat in Congress. He won over three opponents and at age 30, was the youngest member of Congress when he was sworn in. During his lengthy tenure in the Congress, he was a champion for national defense, especially the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. After the end of World War I he joined the House Naval Affairs Committee and became its ranking Democratic member in the early 1920s. He was the only Democrat appointed to the Morrow Board, which reviewed the status of aviation in America in the mid-1920s. In 1931 he became chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee. In 1934 he helped to pass the Vinson-Trammell Act, along with Senator Park Trammell of Florida, that authorized the replacement of obsolete vessels by new construction and a gradual increase of ships within the limits of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and London Naval Treaty of 1930. Initial funding for the Vinson-Trammell Navy Act was provided by the Emergency Appropriations Act of 1934 because during the previous administration, not a single major warship was laid down and the US Navy was both aging and losing ground to the Japanese Navy, which would repudiate the Treaties in late 1934. He later was primarily responsible for additional naval expansion legislation, the Naval Act of 1938 ("Second Vinson Act") and the Third Vinson Act of 1940, as well as the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940. The ambitious program called for by this series of laws helped the US Navy as the country entered World War II, as the newly constructed ships were able to match the latest ships from Japan. After World War II, the US House Naval Affairs Committee was merged with the Military Affairs Committee to become the US House Armed Services Committee (this consolidation mirrored the creation of the Department of Defense when the old Departments of War and of the Navy were consolidated). When the Republicans won control of the US Congress in the 1946 election, he served as ranking minority member of the committee for two years before becoming Chairman in early 1949. He held this position, with the exception of another two-year Republican interregnum in the early 1950s, until his retirement in 1965. As chairman, he oversaw the modernization of the military as its focus shifted to the Cold War. He was also committee chair when Congress authorized the procurement of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carriers starting with USS Enterprise in the late 1950s. A staunch segregationist, in 1956 he signed the Declaration of Constitutional Principles (known as "The Southern Manifesto") in opposition of racial integration of public places. From November 1961 until January 1965 he had the honorary title of Dean of the US House of Representatives. In 1964 he did not seek re-election and retired from Congress the following year and returned to his Georgia home. On March 15, 1980 he attended the launching of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, an honor rarely given to a person while living. He died at the age of 97 in Milledgeville, Georgia. For his commitment, he was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Special Distinction, the highest award the President can give to a civilian. His grandnephew, Sam Nunn, served as a US Senator from Georgia for more than 24 years from November 1972 until January 1997. The Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia is named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


Member of Congress
From December 7, 1914
to January 3, 1965

His was a life of true dedication
in the service of his country
and for his fellow man.



How famous was Carl Vinson?

Current rating:

29 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Jan 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4278
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Carl Vinson (18 Nov 1883–1 Jun 1981), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4278, citing Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .