Naval Academy Class of ‘78 Shines with Four 4-Stars

U.S. Naval Academy graduate Adm. Kurt Tidd assumed command of U.S. Southern Command Jan. 14, making him the 4th active duty member of the Class of 1978 to be a serving 4-star.

Tidd was promoted to his current rank in a ceremony held at the Naval Academy Jan. 2.

Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, are all members of the Naval Academy Class of 1978.

“The Naval Academy has a tradition of graduating leaders for the nation; men and women of character and consequence,” said academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. “For one class to have four current 4-star admirals is an amazing feat, and it’s a testament to our mission and the quality of our graduates.”

The admiral rank did not exist during the first 87 years of the U.S. Navy. David Farragut was the first naval officer to achieve the rank, in 1866. George Dewey was the first academy graduate to be promoted to admiral, in 1899.

In the 170-year history of the Naval Academy, 215 graduates reached the rank of four-star admiral. Four of those 215 eventually reached the 5-star rank, or “Fleet Admiral,” including Chester Nimitz, Frank Leahy, William “Bull” Halsey and Ernest King.
Only four other USNA classes have had four or more active duty 4-stars serving at the same time:

Class of 1897
Adm. Thomas C. Hart
Adm. Arthur J. Hepburn
Fleet Adm. William D. Leahy
Adm. Orin G. Murfin
Adm. Harry E. Yarnell
Class of 1927
Adm. George W. Anderson Jr.
Adm. Charles D. Griffin
Adm. Ulysses S. G. Sharp Jr.
Adm. John S. Thach

Class of 1933
Adm. Charles K. Duncan
Adm. Ignatius J. Galantin
Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Adm. Waldemar F.A. Wendt

Class of 1973
Adm. John C. Harvey
Adm. Eric T. Olson
Adm. Gary Roughead
Adm. Robert F. Willard