Gravely, Samuel Lee, Jr.

Gravely, Samuel Lee, Jr., 1922–2004, U.S. naval officer, the first African American to hold the rank of admiral, b. Richmond, Va. Joining the Naval Reserves in 1942, he became (1944) the first African American officer commissioned by the Naval Reserve Officer Training Course, serving until 1946. Recalled to active duty in 1949, he rose through the ranks, joining the regular Navy (1955) and becoming the first black American to command a U.S. warship (the destroyer Falgout) in 1962. After holding other commands, he was promoted to rear admiral in 1971 and vice admiral in 1976, when he also assumed command of the 3d Fleet. Gravely retired in 1980.

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