About Vice Admiral Francis W. Rockwell
Francis Warren Rockwell (July 2, 1886 – January 2, 1979) was a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy who served from 1908 to 1948.
Early life and career
Rockwell was born in South Woodstock, Connecticut. He entered the Naval Academy in 1908. After various assignments, he directed the fitting out of the destroyer Jarvis (DD-38) in 1912-1914. In 1914 he joined the faculty of the Naval Academy as an instructor in electrical engineering and physics, serving there until 1917 when the United States entered World War I.
World War I and interwar years
Rockwell served aboard the battleship New Jersey (BB-16) and aboard various destroyers in Queenstown, Ireland, during the war. He commanded Winslow (DD-53) in 1918 and then the new destroyer Thatcher (DD-162) in 1919. In 1920 he returned as an instructor at the Naval Academy, serving there until 1923. He was Gunnery Officer on Tennessee (BB-43) from 1923-1926. He returned as an instructor at the Naval Academy from 1926-1929 before commanding Robert Smith (DD-324), Dorsey (DD-117) and Medina before becoming Executive Officer on Mississippi (BB-41). After a stint in the Department of the Navy in Washington, D.C., he commanded Nevada (BB-36) from 1939 to 1941.
World War II
On November 5, 1941, Rockwell assumed command of the 16th Naval District, consisting of the Philippine Islands. He was present in Cavite Navy Yard when it was bombed on December 10, 1941. Most of Cavite's facilities were destroyed and the submarine Sealion (SS-195) was sunk. Rockwell estimated that 500 men were killed. The next day, with fires still burning, he recommended Cavite be stripped of usable fuel and equipment and abandoned. He organized the withdrawal of remaining Allied naval forces and civilian ships from the Philippines and left in March 1942. Then, he planned the naval transport of the invasion force for the Battle of Attu of May 1943. He returned to the Navy Department in 1943 and commanded the Atlantic Fleet's Amphibious Training Command until the end of the war.
Rockwell retired as Vice Admiral in 1948. He lived in Georgia until his death in 1979.