Commanding Officers

    CDR Lewis Levi Snider*...Dec '44 - Jan '46... first captain of the USS Willard Keith DD775...prior to     his command of the Willard     Keith, LCDR Snider was the recipient of two (2) Silver Stars "for     conspicuous galantry and intrepidity in action against the     enemy" in the South Pacific while serving   on other destroyers in July '43 and June '44.  He was awarded the Bronze Star as     commander of     the Willard Keith during the Okinawa Campaign in May - July '45.

    CDR Edward Maynard Day*...January '46 - February '48

    CDR Frank Hardman Brumby Jr.*...February '48 - December '49

    LCDR George R. Warren Jr.*...December '49 - April '50

    None...decommissioned - April '50 - October '50

    CDR A. R. Drea...October '50 - September  '51

    CDR Leslie James O'BRIAN Jr.*...September '51 - January ' command during rescue and escort duties assisting the     crippled merchantman SS Flying Enterprise before that ship broke up and sank in heavy seas near Plymouth, England.     World- wide coverage of the Willard Keith's involvement took place that January of '52.  Leslie James O'Brien Jr. retired with     the rank of Rear Addmiral in 1972.

    CDR Herman Kennedy Rock*...January '53 - July '54...Commanded the Willard Keith in September '53, sailing to the Far East     via the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, Red Sea and Indian Ocean, crossing the Equator near Singapore where the majority of     the "Pollywag" crew was initiated as "Trusty Shellbacks" into "The Ancient Order of the Deep".  During her Far Eastern tour,     The Willard     Keith operated out of the Japanese ports of Yokosuka and Sasebo, participating with the hunter/killer group in the     United Nations blockade of the Korean coast and then returning to Norfolk via Midway Island, Hawaii, San Francisco, Panama     Canal and Havana, Cuba in March '54 with over 44,000 miles

​    CDR Frank John Coulter*...July '54 - April '55

    CDR Phillip Michael Donahue*...April '55 - November '56

    CDR Carl Richard Berquist*...November '56 - April '58 (Exec. LCDR Phelan)

    CDR W. R. GIBSON...April '58 - September '59...commanded in June/July '59 when, to celebrate the opening of the St. Lawrence     Seaway, the Willard Keith and twenty seven other combatant naval vessels accompanied President Eisenhower and Queen     Elizabeth II to the Great Lakes for commemoration of the Chicago International Fair and Exposition.  The ships visited 39 ports     and were the first salt-water warships to arrive in the Great Lakes since the Battle of Erie in the War of 1812!

    CDR Julius Theodore Bachman*...September '59 - July ' command during a clandestine operation off the coast of Cuba in     April '61 involving the "Bay of Pigs" invasion/fiasco.  The Willard Keith and other destroyers, though not directly involved in     warfare, "painted over" the ships' names and numbers, took down the flags during excursions to and from Key West.  Apparent     to some of the Keith's crew, there were a lot of unknown personnel "coming and going" on board and the Willard Keith's     activities     concluded with escorting several small boats back to Key West. 

    CDR Claude Leonidus Tyler*...July '61 - April ' command during the Cuban missile crisis October / November '62.  The     "quarantine" (i.e. blockade) of Cuba primarily involved one U.S. carrier, two cruisers, 22 destroyers and two guided missile     frigates...intercepting both merchant shipping en route to Cuba and Soviet submarines operating in the area.  In total, 183 ships     representing the might of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet patrolled the waters around Cuba.

    CDR Claiborne Sheldon (Tim) Bradley...April '63 - August ' command October '63 when the Willard Keith was transferred       to DESRON 34 for duty as a Naval Reserve Training (NRT) ship.

    CDR Dale Calvin Brumbaugh*...October '64 - March '66

    CDR Francis Joseph Beitzer...March '66 - August '67

    CDR Donald James Maynard...August '67 - July '69  Taps - Sept. 26, 2021

    CDR Henry Gerald Ehleringer*...July '69 - August '71

    CDR Billy Jeryl White...August '71 - March '72

    LCDR John Raymond Brandon*...March '72 - July '72...the last commanding officer of the Willard Keith before its list and     transferred to the Republic of Columbia where the ship was renamed Caldres DD-02.  She served the Columbian Navy until     disposition in 1977.

CDR. Leslie J.Obrien
Updated: August 30, 2023