Captain William Max Harnish
7 June 1966 - 20 October 1966
Graduated from the Naval Academy in 1939
Retired with the rank of Rear Admiral
William Max Harnish was born November 1, 1919 in Illinois, the son of W.E. Harnish and the late Bess S. Harnish. He attended the University of Illinois for two years prior to entering the Navy as a Misshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in June, 1939. He graduated 26th in the accelerated class of 1943 that graduated in June, 1942.
As an Ensign he then reported aboard the battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55), serving on her in the South and Central Pacific until June, 1944. At that time he returned to the United States for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in August, 1945. After serving with VF-5A and 1A, he was Flag Lieutenant for Commander Fleet Air, West Coast. He then reported to the Naval Postgraduate School for a course in Aeornautical Engineering (Armament) which he completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951.
Following this tour he served as Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer of VA-75, flying AD aircraft in the Atlantic Fleet and with Task Force 77 in Korea. In 1953 he was ordered to shore duty as Head of the Air to Air Control Section, Armament Division, Bureau of Aeornautics. In 1955 he returned to sea duty as Commanding Officer, VF-21, and flew FJ-3 Furies from USS Forrestal (CVA-59) during her shakedown and from USS Bennington (CVS-20) with the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific. He then attended the Naval War College, Newport, RI in 1957-'58 and went to duty in the Special Projects Office of the Polaris program in 1958.
In January, 1959, he was ordered to USS Forrestal (CVA-59) as Navigator. In November of that year he was detached for duty under instruction at the Office of the Assistant Director for Naval Reactors, Division of Reactors Development, Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C. In January, 1961, he reported as Prospective Executive Officer, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), and when she was commissioned in November of that year he became Executive Officer. he was detached from Enterprise in February, 1964 and in May, 1964 assumed command of USS Chipola (AO-63).