Death of a Classmate - WILLIAM DONALD DANIELS - 17th Co.


Rear Admiral William Donald Daniels, U.S. Navy (Ret), 91, of Orange Beach, Alabama, passed
away peacefully on 24 October 2019 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida following a
brief illness.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama on 1 March 1928, he was the son of the late William L. and Edith
C. Daniels. Bill enlisted in the Navy in January 1944 and following Recruit Training and Signal
School at Great Lakes, Illinois, he served in the Pacific Theater for the remainder of World War II.
His wartime service included assignments with the Pacific Fleet Service Force and with the Royal
Australian Navy in support of the allied campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Bill returned to Birmingham to complete his secondary schooling at Woodlawn High School and
then attended the University of Alabama while also serving as a Navy Reservist in the Atlantic
Fleet Mine Force and at the Navy Base, Charleston, South Carolina.

He earned a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with the class
of 1954.

Following several afloat assignments in destroyers and diesel submarines, he completed a tour
as First Lieutenant in USS PRINCETON (LPH 5) in 1968. Three Western Pacific deployments and
nine amphibious assaults during the Vietnam conflict were conducted by PRINCETON during this
period. Shore duty assignments followed as Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Center, Omaha,
Nebraska, and on the staff of Commander, Navy Reserve Training Command in Omaha. He then
served in the Officer Distribution Section, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Arlington, Virginia.

Returning to sea, he served as Commissioning Executive Officer, USS PONCE (LPD 15), and as
Commanding Officer, USS VOGELGESANG (DD 862), in the early 1970's. Following an additional
tour at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 34. During this tour,
he commanded the 1978 Great Lakes Cruise Squadron, the first presence of Navy warships on
the Great Lakes in over 30 years.

Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1980, he served as Deputy Commander, Navy Reserve Force and
Commander, Navy Reserve Surface Force in New Orleans, Louisiana, until his retirement from
the Navy on 1 March 1985.

Bill lived the remainder of his service-oriented life in Orange Beach (Ono Island), Alabama. He
held membership in numerous professional and business organizations including serving as the
President of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, Pensacola Chapter in the early 1990's. He
was a founding member of the Perdido Bay United Methodist Church in Pensacola in 1989, and
he served as a Red Cross Volunteer at the Naval Hospital, Pensacola for over 20 years.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joan Harvey Daniels, and their three children, CAPT
William Dwight Daniels, '77 USN, Ret. (Carla), Jane Daniels Ferguson (Tom) and Kimberly Daniels
Lloyd (Lamar), 7 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. Also surviving are Bill's sister, Jean
Daniels Howells, his sister-in-law, Jean Harvey Leer, and nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service and celebration of Bill's life was conducted on 23 November 2019 at Perdido
Bay United Methodist Church. A Service of Committal and inurnment will be held at the Naval
Academy Columbarium on 6 April 2020 at 1130. Memorial donations may be made to the Naval
Academy Foundation, 274 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402 (www.usna.com).

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