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Ralph W. Cousins (July 24, 1915 – August 5, 2009) was a United States Navy four star admiral and aviator. As an aircraft carrier pilot, Cousins led dive-bomber attacks against the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. During the Vietnam War from 1967–1969, Cousins commanded the attack carrier strike force of five carriers stationed off the coast of Vietnam. In 1970, Cousins was promoted to four star admiral and appointed Vice Chief of Naval Operations. From 1972 to 1975, he commanded the US Atlantic Fleet and NATO forces.

Ralph W. Cousins
Ralph Cousins.jpg
US Navy photograph of Ralph Cousins
BornJuly 24, 1915 (1915-07-24)
Eldorado, Oklahoma
DiedAugust 5, 2009(2009-08-05) (aged 94)
Newport News, Virginia
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1937-1975
Battles/warsWorld War II
Vietnam War
AwardsNavy Cross,
Distinguished Service Medal,
Legion of Merit,
Air Medal
Other workPresident of Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock

Cousins retired from the navy in 1975 and served as president and executive of Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock until 1979. He was promoted to President of Tenneco Europe based in London where he served with distinction from 1979 until his retirement in 1985. He died on August 5, 2009 from complications from a fall in Newport News, Virginia where he had lived since his retirement. His wife of 60 years, Mary McBride, had died in 2007. He left no immediate survivors.


  • Schudel, Matt (August 21, 2009). "Ralph W. Cousins, 94: Admiral Commanded NATO Forces, Led Naval Air Operation in Vietnam" (Newspaper article). Washington Post. Retrieved August 24, 2009.