Admiral ‘Mike’ Boorda, Former CNO, Died 26 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today, we remember US Navy Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda, the only Sailor to rise from Seaman Recruit up through the ranks to four-star admiral and the highest ranking office in the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations.

Admiral Boorda died on this date: May 16, 1996. He was 56 years old (November 26, 1939 – May 16, 1996).

Admiral Boorda lied to the recruiter and enlisted in the Navy at 16 (some sources say 17), not unlike many of his era. He was often referred to as a “Sailor’s Sailor” and never forgot the “White Hats” from which he came.

“He finished high school while in the Navy and rose through the ranks to Personnelman First Class (E-6)….”

He finished high school while in the Navy and rose through the ranks to Personnelman First Class (E-6) before being commissioned an Ensign under the Navy Integration Program in August, 1962.

Admiral Boorda died of an alleged suicide following a dispute regarding whether or not he was authorized to wear a combat “V” on two of his decorations. He was distraught over the unintentional wearing of the award and allegedly committed suicide rather than cause more trouble over that dispute for his US Navy.

I was privileged to meet Admiral Boorda several times at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, following my retirement from the Navy.

Admiral Boorda was a hero to those of us who served during his tenure and who respected his service to our US Navy.

May Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda Rest In Peace in Eternity.

Admiral Mike Boorda: Was it Suicide or Really Murder?

by Guest Author Mike Campbell

As someone who briefly knew and worked with the deceased Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda, I share HB Auld, Jr.’s admiration and affection for this fine man, one of the last of the “Old School” Navy leaders. (see previous article: “Admiral Mike Boorda: An Amazing Sailor Died 25 Years Ago” below).

In the late 1980s, as a Navy civilian, I interviewed Admiral Boorda for two stories I wrote for the now-defunct Navy Editor Service, which supported Navy ships and Marine Corps facilities worldwide with news and feature articles they could get nowhere else. He was always gracious and generous with his time and information, and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with him.

I was shocked when I learned of his death in 1996 and immediately doubted the official suicide story, which was that Boorda was distraught over mistakenly wearing the wrong military medal, something completely absurd on its face.

Soon, the late, great retired Army Major Glenn MacDonald, editor-in-chief of, broke through the stonewall of this wicked cover-up and interviewed a Navy corpsman who had arrived at the death scene shortly after the crime occurred, and who reported to Glenn that the admiral had “two gunshot wounds” to his chest, something those who actually commit suicide are not wont to acquire.

Here is Glenn MacDonald’s story, available now only in the archives of Free Republic:


Copyright © May 2012 by Glenn MacDonald,

A few years later, Tony Bonn of The American Chronicle shed much more light on why the military and political establishment may have wanted Admiral Boorda dead.  Bonn’s story from March 2014 is linked here:

© The American Chronicle

Besides these two shining examples of investigative journalism and truth-telling, virtually nothing can be found anywhere attesting to this disgraceful chapter of our history, which is fast become one Big Lie after another.

Admiral Mike Boorda was an American hero, and his brutal murder remains among the most successfully covered up crimes in Navy history. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Guest Author of the above, Mike Campbell, is a successful former Navy Journalist and author of several decades. He has authored three highly acclaimed books on the disappearance of famed American aviatrix Amelia Earhart: “With Our Own Eyes (Eyewittnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart)” and two editions of “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last (Propaganda Versus Fact in the Disappearance of America’s First Lady of Flight).” Both books continually rate at or near the top of best sellers on Amazon and elsewhere in the search for the truth about Amelia Earhart. Additionally, Mike Campbell blogs frequently at: “The Truth at Last” Web site is He can be contacted at

Admiral Mike Boorda: An Amazing Sailor Died 25 Years Ago

by HB Auld, Jr. and Harold Gerwien

The Navy lost an incredible leader and Sailor 25 years ago on May 16, 1996, when Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda took his own life. He will always be remembered as a “Sailor’s Sailor,” having risen from Seaman Recruit (E-1) to Admiral (O-10), the only Sailor ever to do so.

These remembrance photos posted on the anniversary of Admiral Boorda’s death were taken over the years by photojournalist and friend, Harold Gerwien. Harry’s essay below contains more on this amazing Sailor: Admiral Mike Boorda.

A Sailor’s Sailor

Harold Gerwein

In 1956 a 16-year-old high school dropout lied to a Navy recruiter about his age and joined the Navy. Thirty-nine years later he had risen to the highest rank and the highest office in the U.S. Navy: Four Star Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations. Seaman recruit to four-star Admiral and CNO had never been done till Admiral Mike Boorda came along.

He truly was a Sailor’s Sailor!

Our paths crossed several times before I retired and after. He visited Norfolk many times and as a photographer for the newspaper Soundings I was privileged to have covered those visits. He always remembered me and called me by my name. I felt real special.

He was always the guy with the warm smile and can-do-attitude. He was a man of his word.

He always carried a little green notebook; the Navy calls them Wheel house books! He would listen to sailors’ complaints or suggestions and write them down so as not to forget them.

For most of us, his suicide came as a complete shock. It has been 25-years. He has not been forgotten. Tens of thousands of sailors still remember Admiral Boorda.

Above are some photos I took over the years.

My favorite is the close-up and the warm smile.

At the commissioning of the USS Chief, Admiral Mike Boorda pauses with the side-boys as honors are rendered.

Two weeks prior to his death, I had a visit for an interview and photo session at his office in the Pentagon.

The last photo is on the flight deck of USS Saratoga, Mayport Florida, May 1987. My dear friend and shipmate, Jeff Doty took a photo of me at work with then, one-star Admiral Boorda and my boss Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb Jr. — Harold Gerwien, Photojournalist

I first met Admiral Boorda in person in the 1990s when I was working as a civilian at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Admiral Boorda made several trips out to Bethesda and on many occasions, we made arrangements for him to film segments there for Navy News This Week, a weekly Navy video news program. Watching him during those visits, I was amazed at how he routinely put all the Sailors around him at ease. He ALWAYS took the time to talk to any Sailor who had a question for him and he answered honestly and forthright every time.

I so admired and respected Admiral Mike Boorda. His like will not pass this way again, soon.

Rest your oars, Sir. We have the Watch!

God bless you, Sir! — HB Auld, Jr., Author