Sanford E. Woodard

Captain Sanford E. Woodard, skipper of Skagit, assumed command on July 20, 1957, relieving Captain L. L. Snider.

Born in Ashland, Kansas on October 9, 1913, he attended Medicine Lodge, Kansas public schools.

He enlisted in the Navy on August 10, 1931, and served at NTS San Diego, served aboard USS California, and was stationed at NTS (NOB) Norfolk, Virginia as a Seaman Apprentice.

On July 5, 1933 he was honorably discharged from the USS Reina Mercedes to enter the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.

As a Midshipman he won the Sabre "N" and was a member of the Trident Literary Society and the Reception Committee.

He graduated and was commissioned Ensign on June 3, 1937.

After graduation from the Naval Academy he served for two years in the USS Tennessee and one year in the USS Blue.

From June to September 1940 he had submarine instructions at the Submarine Base, New London Connecticut, and during the year following had successive duty in the USS Dolphin and the USS Argonaut.

In October 1941 he joined the USS Paul Jones.

From November 1942 until October 1944 he commanded the USS Whipple and from October 1944 until November 1945 he commanded the USS Forrest.

For six months he was on duty at the Naval Training Center, Bainbridge Maryland and in June 1946 was assigned to the Florida Group, Sixteenth Fleet.

Detached from that assignment in January 1949, he served until June of that year in the USS Portsmouth.

In August he assumed command of the USS John R. Craig, to serve until November 1951.

He attained the rank of Commander on September 23, 1949.

On December 1951 he was attached to the Office of Military Sea Transportation Service, Washington, D. C. followed by a two year tour of duty on the staff of the Joint United Military Advisory Group in the Philippines.

He attained the rank of Captain in March, 1956.

Before assuming command of Skagit, Captain Woodard attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

While serving as Captain of Skagit, the ship was involved in the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, Quemoy and Matsu Islands earning him and the crew the National Defence Service Medal.

Captain Woodard was relieved by Captain Marion H. Buass in Hong Kong on October 15, 1958

From 1960-1964 the Captain had been elevated to an LMD (Large Mahogany Desk) and served as the Logistics Officer for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Versailles, France.

And from 1964 to 1967 was the Vice President of the Board of Inspection and Survey for the Navy in Washington, DC.

In 1967 he retired from the Navy and moved back to the San Diego area.

He was retired for only about a year and a half, or so, when he got bored with skeet shooting and building/sailing a small sail boat, and took the Merchant Marine Test for Skipper.

After an intensive 2-week refresher course he aced the two-day exams.

He got a berth as Executive Officer on a MSTS ship going back and forth to the Orient, and died in his sleep aboard ship in San Francisco in April 1968.


Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal, 2 awards with the Combat V
Navy Commendation Medal
American Defence Service Medal with 1 Star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Stars
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 1 Star
American Campaign Medal
Victory Medal WWII
China Service Medal with 1 Star
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defence Service Medal with 1 Star
Korean Service Medal with 3 Stars
Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Philippine Defence Ribbon with 1 Star
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation


Photo and Biographical Information:

Tim and Sandy Woodard