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Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.
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Military Personnel
    (November 29, 1920-January 2, 2000)
    Born in San Francisco, California
    US Navy Admiral
    Commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam (1968-70)
    Chief of Naval Operations (1970-74)
    Wrote 'My Watch' (1976) and, with his son Elmo Zumwalt III, 'My Father, My Son' (1986)
    He ordered the spraying of the defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam, exposing military personnel to the carcinogen dioxin.
    He said, 'I do not have any guilt feelings because I was convinced then and am convinced now that the use of Agent Orange saved literally hundreds and maybe thousands of lives.' (However, it seems to have caused hundreds if not thousands of deaths from cancer.)
    The directives he issued as Chief of Naval Operations were known as 'Z-grams.'
    His reforms of Naval culture were derided by traditionalists as 'the three Bs - beer, beards and broads.'
    He won a bronze star in the Battle of Leyte Gulf during World War II.
    He was youngest officer named as rear admiral, four star admiral and Chief of Naval Operations.
    As CNO, he reduced racism and sexism in the Navy.
    He lobbied Congress to establish a national registry of bone marrow donors.
    He lobbied Congress to provide funding for veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related diseases.
    Bobby Muller, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, said, 'No one has done more to face the consequences of Agent Orange and provide benefits to sick vets. Not many military officials wanted to deal with Agent Orange exposure.'
    His son died from cancer that was probably caused by Agent Orange (1988).
    He died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos while serving in the Navy.

Credit: C. Fishel


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