Distinguished Alumni in the Armed Forces

Rear Admiral William R. Schmidt '68
Distinguished Alumni in the Armed Forces

Through hard work, dedication and a strong love of his country...1968 East Tennessee State University graduate William R. Schmidt has attained the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Rear Admiral Schmidt has served our country in many capacities. He has endured several extensive duties throughout the world, as well as serving in various administrative capacities, including a stint at the White House. The Tennessee native was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Candidate program after serving two years as an Enlisted Reservist. He is also a graduate of the Naval War College and the National War College.

Rear Admiral Schmidt bravely fought during the Vietnam Conflict aboard the USS Vernon County, which is homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. Following this assignment, he also served on the USS Preble, based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1978, Rear Admiral Schmidt assumed command of USS Bronstein, which is homeported in San Diego, California. Upon completion of this command tour, he served as the Naval Aide to President Ronald Reagan. Following his White House tour, he was assigned to the Strategic Concepts Group on the Chief of Naval Operation's staff. He later attended the National War College in Washington D.C.

In 1984, Rear Admiral Schmidt returned to Japan to command the USS Oldendorf. As a forward deployed unit of the Seventh Fleet, Oldendorf saw extensive Battle Group operations in the Pacific, and was Flag Ship for CTF Seven Five during the historic port visit to China in 1986. In early 1987, Rear Admiral Schmidt returned to the Naval Military Personnel Command as the Washington Placement Officer. In March 1989, he assumed command of Destroyer Squadron Twenty-three. He completed two deployments as part of Battle Group Delta, linked with USS Constellation and Independence. It was also during this tour that he participated in Operation Desert Shield as Commander, U.S. Maritime Intercept Unit in the North Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman. From July 1991 to January 1993, Rear Admiral Schmidt served as Chief of Staff, Commander Third Fleet. In May 1993, he was assigned as Executive Assistant and Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy. In September 1995, he became Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group One and Commander, Constellation Battle Group, which deployed to the Arabian Gulf in April 1997. He attained the rank of Rear Admiral in June of last year and currently holds the post of Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel -- Memphis. He will assume the duties as Commander, Navy Personnel Command later this year.

For his extensive military service and bravery, Rear Admiral Schmidt has been awarded the Legion of Merit with four gold stars, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V'. He is also authorized to wear the Presidential Service Badge.

Rear Admiral Schmidt currently resides in Millington, Tennessee. His wife, the former Rebecca Reifsnyder of Bernville, Pennsylvania and their three children -Amy Elizabeth, Andrew William, and Kara Marie will join him this summer. They now reside in Coronado, California where they are completing the academic school year.


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