Adm. William A. Owens 1940-
Retired Admiral Owens was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota, graduating from Bismarck High
School in 1958. On the encouragement of his father, he decided to apply to the U.S. Naval Academy in
Annapolis, Maryland. He was accepted, graduating in 1962.
Owen’s naval career includes more than 10 years or 4,000 days of service on a submarine, including duty
in the Vietnam War. He served in four strategic nuclear powered submarines and three nuclear attack
submarines, including tours as Commanding Officer of USS Sam Houston and USS City of Corpus Christi.
From November 1990 to July 1992, Owens commanded the U.S. Sixth Fleet, from which the first attacks of
Desert Storm were launched, and NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces Southern Europe. He then
directed the post-Cold War restructuring of the U.S. Navy as the first Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments.
On March 1, 1994, Owens was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. In this capacity, he was the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer, overseeing more than
1.5 million people in uniform. He retired in 1996.
After leaving the military, Adm. Owens has served as president, chief operating officer, and chairman along with
the membership on the board of directors of several high-profile corporations and charitable organizations.