Military Wiki
John Geraerdt Crommelin, Jr.
Nickname "Bomb-run John"
Born (1902-10-02)October 2, 1902
Died November 2, 1996(1996-11-02) (aged 94)
Place of birth Montgomery, Alabama
Place of death Montgomery, Alabama
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Rear Admiral
Unit Naval aviation, USS Enterprise, Navy headquarters
Battles/wars World War II
Other work Gubernatorial, Senate, Vice Presidential and Presidential candidate

Rear Admiral John Geraerdt Crommelin, Jr. (October 2, 1902 – November 2, 1996) was a prominent United States Navy officer and later a frequent political candidate who championed white supremacy.

Early life and naval career

Born in Montgomery, Alabama as eldest of five brothers, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1923. Previously he grew up in Montgomery and in Elmore County, Alabama.

He saw combat at the Pacific during World War II. All of his brothers also graduated from the US Naval Academy and two of them were killed in action during World War II.

Crommelin earned a reputation as a courageous and skillful naval aviator, and the nickname "bomb-run John". He served as an executive officer as well as air officer aboard the Enterprise and was chief of staff aboard the carrier Liscombe Bay when it was sunk in the Makin Island campaign off the Gilbert Islands.

In 1946, Captain Crommelin was given command of America's newest and most modern aircraft carrier of the time, the USS Saipan.[1]

In 1949 he served at Navy headquarters in The Pentagon at the rank of captain. He became there a vocal critic of [1] military politics, warning of the dangers of concentrating military authority in the hands of a few, despite being in active service. Captain Crommelin publicly complained that the Defense Department was scuttling naval air power and showing improper favor to the Air Force, and that "a Prussian General Staff system of the type employed by Hitler" was being imposed on the armed forces under unification.

Crommelin was publicly reprimanded by Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, then Chief of Naval Operations, for making public confidential Navy letters linking top admirals to active opposition against unification. He was transferred to San Francisco, California. After he continued his criticism in the face of orders to keep silent, he was ordered by Admiral Sherman to be furloughed at half pay, beginning early in 1950.

His activity and views became publicly well-known. In 1950 The New York Times's military affairs expert Hanson W. Baldwin wrote that Captain Crommelin was a "stormy petrel who wouldn't shut up." Others consider him another "Eagle of the Sea" plucked by "The harpies of the shore...".

Crommelin retired from active duty with the rank of Rear Admiral in May 1950, after 30 years of service. He went to operate a part of his family plantation, named Harrogate Springs, in Elmore County, raising a variety of crops.

USS Crommelin, the twenty-eighth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided-missile frigates, is named for the Crommelin brothers, although inclusion of John G. is presently considered politically incorrect although his photograph appears with his brothers on the military website. Despite his later misguided political efforts, he is still recognized as a naval hero.[2]

Political activity

Although he was widely praised and credited for his courage in speaking out for his views and for his previous distinguished combat career, Crommelin's reputation suffered from his later political involvement. He was an open and unashamed racist, segregationist and anti-Semite, even when such sentiments were becoming less fashionable in Alabama.

Alongside his Senatorial and Gubernatorial bids in Alabama, he was nominated for by the minor far-right National States' Rights Party (not to be confused with the more moderate Dixiecrats), as the running mate of Governor of Arkansas Orval Faubus.

During the United States presidential election of 1968 he ran in the Democratic New Hampshire primary, winning only 186 votes (0.34%) and finishing fifth.

None of his electoral bids was successful.

He married Lillian E. Landis in 1930. They had two daughters and one son.

Electoral history

Alabama United States Senate election, 1950

  • J. Lister Hill (D) (inc.) – 125,534 (76.54%)
  • John G. Crommelin (Independent) – 38,477 (23.46%)

Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate from Alabama, 1956

  • J. Lister Hill (inc.) – 247,519 (68.20%)
  • John G. Crommelin – 115,440 (31.81%)

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1958 (Democratic primary)

  • John Malcolm Patterson – 196,859 (31.82%)
  • George Wallace – 162,435 (26.26%)
  • Jimmy Faulkner – 91,512 (14.79%)
  • A.W. Todd – 59,240 (9.58%)
  • Laurie Battle – 38,955 (6.30%)
  • George Hawkins – 24,332 (3.93%)
  • C.C. Owen – 15,270 (2.47%)
  • Karl Harrison – 12,488 (2.02%)
  • Billy Walker – 7,963 (1.29%)
  • W.E. Dodd – 4,753 (0.77%)
  • John G. Crommelin – 2,245 (0.36%)
  • Shearen Elebash – 1,177 (0.19%)
  • James Gulatte – 798 (0.13%)
  • Shorty Price – 655 (0.11%)

Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate from Alabama, 1960

  • John Sparkman (inc.) – 335,722 (86.68%)
  • John G. Crommelin – 51,571 (13.32%)

United States presidential election, 1960

  • John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson (D) – 34,220,984 (49.9%) and 303 electoral votes (22 states carried)
  • Richard Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R) – 34,108,157 (49.5%) and 219 electoral votes (26 states carried)
  • Harry F. Byrd/Strom Thurmond/Barry Goldwater (Independents) – 15 electoral votes (Mississippi and Alabama unpledged and faithless electors from Oklahoma)
  • Unpledged electors (D) – 286,359 (0.4%) and 0 electoral votes
  • Eric Hass/Georgia Cozzini (Socialist Labor) – 47,522 (0.07%)
  • Rutherford L. Decker/Earle Harold Munn (Prohibition Party) -–46,203 (0.07%)
  • Orval E. Faubus/John G. Crommelin (National States' Rights Party) – 44,984 (0.07%)

Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate from Alabama, 1962

  • J. Lister Hill (inc.) – 363,613 (73.71%)
  • Donald G. Hallmark – 72,855 (14.77%)
  • John G. Crommelin – 56,822 (11.52%)

Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate from Alabama, 1966

  • John Sparkman (inc.) – 378,295 (56.98%)
  • Frank E. Dixon – 133,139 (20.05%)
  • John G. Crommelin – 114,622 (17.26%)
  • Margaret E. Stewart – 37,889 (5.71%)

United States presidential election, 1968 (Democratic primaries)


Party political offices
Preceded by
National States' Rights Party Vice Presidential nominee
Succeeded by
J. B. Stoner

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