Admiral Sylvester R. Foley Jr. ’50, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Sylvester “Bob” Foley Jr. ’50, USN (Ret.), has been part of the Navy community his entire life. His father, a Navy hospital corpsman in World War I and later assigned to the Fleet Marines, served throughout the Pacific. The family followed, including stints in Guam and the Philippines.
Admiral Foley’s three combat deployments to Southeast Asia included command of Attack Squadron 106 and Air Wing Eleven. He also commanded Coronado. He planned and carried out the home porting of his ship, Midway, in Japan, a first for a U.S. carrier. He developed the concept of language and customs indoctrination courses and helped settle dependents in off-base housing. For his leadership, Admiral Foley received the Legion of Merit.
Admiral Foley reported to the Pentagon as deputy director of Navy Strategic Planning. He returned to sea as commander of Carrier Group Seven, followed by command of the Seventh Fleet, earning him the first of his three Distinguished Service Medals. He went back to the Pentagon as deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations before commanding the Pacific Fleet from 1982 until his retirement in 1985.
“Taking command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with my
father in attendance was my proudest career moment,” Admiral Foley said. “He was
stationed at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and seeing his son, a four-star admiral, take command of the Pacific Fleet more than 40 years later was the culmination of a lifetime of Navy service for both of us.”Admiral Foley was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as U.S. assistant secretary of energy for Defense Programs. That work earned him a medal for distinguished service. Admiral Foley began a decade-long venture with Raytheon in 1991. While working as president of Raytheon Japan, he helped grow its annual business to more than $400 million. Admiral Foley is a recipient of Japan’s highest honor, the Order of the Rising Sun.
After chairing advisory groups reviewing national laboratories at Berkeley, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, Admiral Foley was asked to serve as vice president for laboratory management in the office of the University of California president to oversee management of the labs. He is credited with correcting safety and security problems and overseeing 12,000 people and a $5 billion annual budget.
Admiral Foley, a resident of Oakland, CA, and his late wife, Kathleen, have four children. Two of their children and two grandchildren have served in the Navy and Marines, with three of them graduating from the Academy.