Paul Ignatius
59th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
September 1, 1967 – January 24, 1969
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byCharles F. Baird (Acting)
Succeeded byJohn Chafee
Personal details
Paul Robert Ignatius

(1920-11-11) November 11, 1920 (age 103)
Glendale, California, U.S.
SpouseNancy Weiser Sharpless
Children4, including David and Adi

Paul Robert Ignatius (November 11, 1920) is an American government official who served as Secretary of the Navy between 1967 and 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Lyndon Johnson Administration.

Life and career

Ignatius in 2013

Ignatius was born in 1920 in Glendale, California, the son of Armenian parents who migrated to the United States, Elisa (née Jamgochian; Armenian: Ժամկոչեան) and Hovsep "Joseph" B. Ignatius (original last name – Ignatosian; Armenian: Իգնատոսեան).[1][2] Ignatius' ancestors came from the historic Armenian settlement of Agin near Kharpert.[3] Ignatius is a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation and member of the Federal City Council and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He has served previously as cofounder and chairman of the board of trustees for Logistics Management Institute; chairman, president and CEO of Air Transport Association; president of The Washington Post newspaper and executive vice president of The Washington Post Company; Secretary of the Navy; Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics), Under Secretary of the Army, and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations and Logistics).[4]

While serving as Secretary of the Navy, he presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Captain William Loren McGonagle for the heroism he demonstrated during the 1967 USS Liberty incident.[5][6] McGonagle's Medal of Honor was not presented to him by the President of the United States in a public ceremony at the White House, as is customary, but was instead presented at the Washington Navy Yard. This is the only time in history it has been done this way.[7] At the time of the ceremony, President Lyndon B. Johnson was in the East Room of the White House overseeing the graduation of high school students from Capitol Page School.[8] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, a longtime Liberty advocate, was also in attendance.[9] Moorer explained the award was presented in this manner because the attack on the USS Liberty had been covered-up by the incumbent presidential administration.[10]

He founded Harbridge House, Inc., a Boston management consulting and research firm. Ignatius received his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California (Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Tau) and his MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He served as a commissioned lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in World War II, principally as an aviation ordnance officer aboard escort aircraft carrier USS Manila Bay (CVE-61) in the Pacific.[11] He has two sons and two daughters.[12] David Ignatius is a columnist for The Washington Post, and a novelist. Adi Ignatius is editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review. Both daughters, Sarah and Amy, have practiced law.[13] Amy Ignatius is a Superior Court Judge in New Hampshire.[14] Sarah Ignatius has worked for decades as a non-profit executive director.[15]

Personal life

He married Nancy Weiser Sharpless (1925–2019) in 1947.[16] They had four children, including David and Adi. He turned 100 on November 11, 2020. He currently lives in Washington D.C.[17]


On May 23, 2013, the Navy announced that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) would be named for him. It was commissioned at Port Everglades, Florida on July 27, 2019.[18][19]


  1. ^ - America: The Land of Opportunity Archived 2007-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Yamada, Katherine (29 January 2014). "Verdugo Views: Distinguished alum has Armenian heritage". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  3. ^ Paul Ignatius, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, to Speak at Genocide Centennial Banquet
  4. ^ Department of Defense Key Officials, September 1947-December 2017
  5. ^ "Liberty Survivors Say US Still Downplays Israel's Attack on Ship". Arab America. 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  6. ^ "The Violation of the "Liberty"". U.S. Naval Institute. 1978-06-01. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  7. ^ Scott, James (2009-06-02). The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-5482-0.
  8. ^ Scott, James (2009-06-02). The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-5482-0.
  9. ^ Thurber, Jon (1999-03-11). "Capt. William McGonagle; Won Medal of Honor After Israelis Attacked Ship". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  10. ^ McAllister, Bill (1991-06-15). "SPY SHIP BROUGHT IN FROM THE COLD". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  11. ^ "Ignatius, Paul R". NHHC. Retrieved 2022-12-19.
  12. ^ "At the Navy's Helm; Paul Robert Ignatius". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  13. ^ Nahapetyan, Haykaram (2022-06-01). "Washington's 102-year-old Armenian: Former Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius". The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  14. ^ Lessard, Ryan (2014-10-01). "Executive Council Confirms Three New Judges".
  15. ^ "NAASR hires Sarah Ignatius as first executive director". The Armenian Weekly. 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Living the Armenian-American dream, how Paul Ignatius inspired so many".
  18. ^ Navy Names Next Two Destroyers
  19. ^ Langdon, Alana (July 29, 2019). "Warship USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) Brought to Life". Retrieved 2020-01-10.
Government offices Preceded byStephen Ailes United States Under Secretary of the Army February 1964 – December 1964 Succeeded byStanley Rogers Resor Preceded byCharles F. Baird (acting) United States Secretary of the Navy September 1, 1967 – January 24, 1969 Succeeded byJohn Chafee