WILLIAM J. MILLICAN, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Millican '28

Date of birth: April 24, 1903

Date of death: October 17, 1944

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1928 Lucky Bag:

Loss

1928 Millican 1.jpg

William was lost when USS Escolar (SS 294) was sunk, probably by a mine, on or about October 17, 1944. He was the commanding officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS S-29 (SS-134) 1 Jan 1939
  • Captain USS S-18 (SS-123) 31 May 1939 - 31 Mar 1942
  • Captain USS Thresher (SS-200) 26 Jun 1942 - Mar 1943
  • Captain USS Escolar (SS-294) 2 Jun 1944 - Oct 1944
  • Lieutenant 1 Jul 1936
  • Lieutenant Commander 1 Jan 1942
  • Commander (T) 15 Sep 1942

In the book "Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats" there is a gripping account of Thresher, when William was CO, successfully attacking a Japanese cargo ship and then narrowly escaping destruction.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander William John Millican (NSN: 0-62082), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. THRESHER (SS-200), on the FOURTH, FIFTH, and SIXTH War Patrols of that submarine during the period 26 June 1942 to 10 January 1943, in an area entirely controlled by enemy Japanese air and naval forces. Although opposed by heavy enemy forces, Lieutenant Commander Millican pressed home his attacks with vigor and skillful determination and succeeded in sinking 26,000 tons of enemy shipping by accurate gunfire, in probably sinking 11,000 tons and in damaging another 11,000 tons without substantial damage to materiel or injury to the personnel of his command. The courageous devotion to duty of Lieutenant Commander Millican and the men under his command and their tenacious fighting spirit enabled the THRESHER to evade the enemy's vigorous countermeasures and complete an aggressive and successful mission.

General Orders: Commander Southern Pacific Forces: Serial 0140 (February 4, 1943)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander William John Millican (NSN: 0-62082), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. THRESHER (SS-200), during operations in the Sunda Strait in the SIXTH War Patrol of that vessel during the period 5 January to 10 March 1943. Taking advantage of every favorable opportunity to strike at the enemy, Lieutenant Commander Millican daringly maneuvered his ship into position and attacked, sinking two enemy transports totaling 19,000 tons, a tanker of 7,000 tons, and damaging a third transport of 12,000 tons. By his expert seamanship and courageous initiative, he evaded hostile countermeasures and brought his ship through without damage. His gallant conduct throughout this period was a continuation of his illustrious record and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 0944 (May 30, 1943) & Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 321 (December 1943)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander


Class of 1928

William is one of 17 members of the Class of 1928 in Memorial Hall.