United States Navy Vice Admiral. He is most remembered for his actions during the Spanish-American War and World War I along with developing a pioneering curriculum at the United States Naval Academy. Graduating from the Navy Academy in 1878, he was a third-generation Navy officer. His forty-six-year military career started with him serving on the steamboat USS Pensacola from 1878 to 1879; at Navy Observatory in Washington D. C. from 1880 to 1881; and as a midshipman, the USS Quinnebaug from 1881 to 1884. He was promoted to Ensign in 1882 and in 1884, then transferred for a year to the Department of the Navy in Washington D. C. He became a proficient officer, promoted up the ranks fairly quickly and when he was given the opportunity, learned cutting-edge warfare techniques; he studied torpedo warfare in 1886. This prepared Lt. Rodgers to take command of the USS Foote, a torpedo boat, in January 1898 and leading the boat into combat when the Spanish-American War started in April of that year. While patrolling the Cuban coastline in a blockade, he engaged the enemy on April 23, 1898 according the ship's log; the first "battle" of the war occurred when he exchanged fire with the Spanish gunboat, the Ligeria. The United States formally declared war two days later. He was promoted to lieutenant commander on February 19, 1901 and assigned to Asiatic Fleet. Between 1907 and 1908, he attended the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he learned a four-step warfare plan, an "applicability system" or "estimate of the situation". He brought this knowledge back to the Naval War College and today, it is still part of the college's curriculum. His love of warfare could be seen in his 1907 text book, "A Study of Attacks upon Fortified Harbors". On November 10, 1911, he became the President of the Naval War College and served until December 15, 1913; he eagerly took command of a new battleship at this point. In 1915, he became a member of the General Board of the United States Navy in Washington D. C. In 1916, he was promoted to rear admiral with the command of the United States Atlantic Fleet's Training and Service Force maintaining this assignment through World War I, which the United States entered on April 6, 1917. At the end of World War I, he received the Navy Cross: "The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral William Ledyard Rodgers, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of the Train and as Commander Base Defense Force." In 1918, he was promoted to vice admiral prior to taking command of the United States Asiatic Fleet, a position he until September 1, 1919. In 1920, he returned to the Navy General Board to serve as its Senior Member; he held this position until he retired in 1924. After retirement, he continued to write: he wrote the introduction to Commander Dudley Wright Knox's "A History of the United States Navy". He published two other text books that are still in print, "Greek and Roman Naval Warfare: A study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design for Salamis (480 BC) to Actium (31 BC)" and "Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Centuries: A Study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design".
Bio by: Linda Davis
VICE ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY