USS Rainier (AE-5) Captains

Here are a few photos and bios of some of our Captains- more will be added later as we receive photos, bios and memories from you, the former shipmates of these fine commanders.

Captain W. W. Mock


Captain of Rainier at her commissioning in 1940.

CAPT G.C. Bullard


After serving as Captain of Rainier, Captain Bullard went on to command the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard in 1961.

CAPT Joseph K. Thompson


Captain Thompson assumed command of Rainier in 1961. Before coming to Rainier, he was Operations Staff Officer with the 26th NORAD egion, Hancock Field, NY. He graduated from New York University in 1938 with a degree in Finance. In 1942, he received a MS Degree in Management Engineering from Rensseler Polytechnic. He was originally commissioned in 1941and was promoted to CAPT in 1960. He was born in Mobile, AL, but resided in New York. He had three sons, John, Foster and Stephen.

CAPT Thompson relieves CAPT Bullard in 1961 at NAD Concord, CA


Captain William J. Moran



Captain William J. Moran entered the Navy in 1941 and graduated from flight training in December of that year. His first assignment was to a squadron aboard the carrier USS Hornet, which was sunk at Santa Cruz in the Pacific. His squadron continued to fight from a base at Guadalcanal. In 1943 he became a fighter flight instructor in Florida, followed by a cruise attached to a squadron on the carrier USS Intrepid. After the war, he served as a member of the staff of ComCarDiv 17 aboard the USS Badaong Strait, followed by a hitch at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, CA. From there he was assigned to the Naval War college in 1954. He became CO of Rainier in August 1965 and after leaving Rainier became CO of the USS Randolph (CVS-15).He held the Distinguished Flying Cross with two stars and the Air Medal with three stars.

Captain Vincent F. O'Rourke



Captain Vincent F. O'Rourke was born in New York City and joined the Navy in 1943. In 1944 he completed flight training as an Air Cadet and participated with VF-74 in the Southern France landings in WW2. From there he went to the Pacific with VF-47 and participated in the Okinawa landings and Philippine Liberation. After the was he was assigned to various duty stations, and in the meantime attained a BS in Aeronautical Engineering at Brown University and an MA in Industrial Engineering at Purdue. He was Air Officer and XO of the carrier USS Oriskany in 1963 and 1964. He was a graduate of the Naval Test Pilot School and the Armed Forces Staff College. He has been awarded the Navy Cross with Gold Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three stars, as well as the Navy Commendation Medal. He assumed command of the Rainier in 1966 following a refit at the Pacific Shipyard in San Francisco.

Captain J.C. Smith


Captain John C. Smith relieved Captain O'Rourke on 2 AUG 1967, at sea in the Gulf of Tonkin. He graduated from the Naval Academy in June, 1946 and served aboard the cruiser USS Oakland and aboard LSM-341 in the Yangtze River Group. He reported for submarine duty in 1949 rising to the position of CO of the USS Tusk. He was a professor of Naval Science at the University of Wisconsin and served on the staff of ComSubPac. He holds the Master of Arts from Boston University. He assumed command of Sub Division 11, comprised of four nuclear submarines. When he assumed command of Rainier, Captain Smith and his family resided in Orinda, CA.(From the 1967 Cruise Book)


CAPT James R. Sanderson



Here's a full page about Captain Sanderson. We're happy to report that VADM Sanderson (Ret.) is still alive and well, and that he was a featured speaker on the subject of the Naval Air War in Korea at the Naval Air Symposium on May 9, 2002 at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, where he shared the dais in a series of panel discussions with other distinguished aviators from the Korean was aas well as some of the original seven Mercury astronauts, including Senator John Glenn. He was honored in 1996 by the Tidewater (VA) Scout Council as a long time Eagle Scout, having earned that rank in the 1930's. He is a member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. After leaving Rainier, he assumed command of the carrier Saratoga.
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