Naval War College Class of 1963-1964
In 1963, the first African American naval officers reported as students to the U.S. Naval War College. Commander Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. joined the College of Naval Warfare (senior class) and LCDR George I. Thompson, joined the College of Naval Command and Staff (junior course), one year before passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act and fifteen years after President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 establishing equal opportunity and treatment for all military.
Samuel Gravely achieved many firsts for African-Americans in the Navy: first Captain (unrestricted line), first to command a Navy ship, USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD 707) and the first Vice Admiral.
The Naval Historical Collection houses a collection of papers written by Naval War College students in fulfillment of graduation requirements dating from the early 1900s. The collection includes the paper written by Vice Admiral, then Commander, Gravely on Naval Amphibious Forces in Limited War.
The Naval War College is home to the VADM Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. Naval Warfare Research Group, named for VADM Gravely, which devotes research attention to the topics of integrated air and missile defense and undersea warfare.
Visit the Naval History and Heritage Command's website to learn more about Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely's career.