A Fitting Namesake


Paul Robert Ignatius served as the 59th United States Secretary of the Navy from September 1, 1967, to January 24, 1969. He made significant contributions during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Ignatius and his wife, Nancy, DDG 117’s Ship Sponsor, have been married nearly 70 years and have four children.

Ignatius was born to Armenian immigrants in Glendale, California, Nov. 11, 1920. A natural leader, he was very active in Hoover High School, becoming the student body president. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Southern California in 1942 and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy.

As a Navy lieutenant during World War II aboard USS Manila Bay (CVE 61), Ignatius participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf to liberate the Philippines – it was the largest naval battle of World War II.

Ignatius received an MBA from Harvard University in 1947 and served on the staff of the Harvard Business School from 1947 to 1950 as a research associate and instructor.

Ignatius served for eight years in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Army in 1961, Under Secretary of the Army in 1964, Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1965 and was named Secretary of the Navy in 1967.

The Honorable Paul R. Ignatius with VADM William Martin aboard USS Little Rock

After his work in the government, he served as president of the Washington Post newspaper, executive vice president of The Washington Post Company, president and CEO of the Air Transportation Association and chairman of the Board of Trustees for Logistics Management Institute. He is also the author of “On Board: My Life in the Navy, Government, and Business.”

“I would tell young people today to be true to your values, to be honest, and to believe in the possibility of the future and the opportunities that lie therein.”