Oral Raymond Swigart was born in Columbia City, Indiana, 9 October 1897. He attended the Columbia City High School and then received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. Swigart captained the naval academy's wrestling team and was part of the American contingent at the 1920 Summer Olympics held in Antwerp, Belgium. He competed in Greco-Roman Wrestling, Lightweight Division.
Following his graduation from Annapolis, Swigart began his career as an officer and served aboard ships during the 1926-1933 timeframe.
During World War II Swigart served as commander of the USS Melville a destroyer tender, and was tasked with escorting some of the first troops to Britain in early 1942. He later served in command of a flotilla of Landing Ship, Tanks (LST) in the Pacific Theatre. Swigart received two Legions of Merit and the Bronze Star for his service.
He retired in 1951 at the rank of Rear Admiral.
Rear Adm. Oral Raymond Swigart Sr. 75 dies on June 21 in Paris, France. Death was attributed to an apparent coronary attack.
A native of Columbia City, Ind., he had a distinguished naval career of 30 years with duties on various classes of naval vessels from battleships to mine-laying craft. As commanding officer of the USS Melville and later in command of LST Flotilla 8, he transported the first contingent of troops to Ireland, Scotland in June 1942. He also landed troops and supplies at Bora Boara and Tonga Tabu, Tonga Islands and Wellington, New Zealand. He later landed elements of the First Marine Division at Tulagi, Solomon Islands with re-supply trips to the Guadacanal area. He also landed troops at Leyte and at Manila. He was a graduate of the class of 1921 from the Naval Academy.
He was awarded the Legion of Merit, one star and Combat V, a Bronze Star, The European-African Middle-Eastern Area ribbon with one star and the Asiatic-Pacific Area ribbon with five stars and the Philippine Liberation medal with two stars.
He's is survived by his wife, Margaret Williams Swigart, at home: a son, Col. Oral R. Swigart Jr., USMC and seven grandchildren. He was also the father of Capt. Robert Williams Swigart, USMC, who was killed in action in Vietnam in July 1967.
Obituary Source: The Capital. Annapolis, Maryland. Friday Jun 29, 1973, Page 10.
Legion of Merit Medal w/Star, 2nd Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, American Defense Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal.
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