Paul Robert Ignatius was born on November 11, 1920, in the city of Glendale, California, into the family of Armenian migrants Hovsep and Eliza Ignatosian. Since childhood, Paul showed great love for military art which was influenced by his father telling various military stories.
Paul successfully graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Southern California and later at the Harvard Business School. However, the outbreak of WWII changed his life plans. He along with hundreds of thousands of young Americans was drafted to the army.
Paul Ignatius would serve at the US fleet. With the US entering the war, the Harvard Business School was reformatted into the Naval Academy to train young volunteers. Paul showed great success, which allowed him to get assigned to the fleet.
However, before that, he had to undergo basic training at Fort Sulscher, New York. After the training, Paul went to serve in Fort Camp Blending in October 1943.
On October 11, 1944, young lieutenant Paul Ignatius was sent to the US 7th naval strategic fleet commanded by Admiral Thomas Kinkaid. In the morning of October 17, the frontline fleet troops captured the small islands at the entrance to Leyte Gulf. The large-scale Philippine landing operation began.
Describing these events, Lieutenant Ignatius wrote: “General Douglas MacArthur made a promise that the United States would return to the Philippines. The moment could not be missed. For us, it was a chance to fragment the Japanese fleet and cut it off from the Dutch India, inflicting a final defeat on them.”
The largest sea battle in history lasted until October 26, 1944, and ended with the defeat of Japan. Paul Ignatius showed remarkable courage and received not only promotion but also a US Navy Medal for a well-conducted military operation during the Battle of Surigao.
During the last years of the war, Ignatius carried out excellent service, conducting brilliant naval battles against the Japanese. After the final surrender of Japan in May 1945, Paul returned to America with triumph.
Upon returning, Paul received a degree from the University of Southern California and Harvard. He married in 1949 and moved to California.
After the marriage, Paul decided to return to Boston where he would engage in business and research activities. These would bring big dividends to him. Paul together with Harvard professor Sterling Livingston founded a consulting research department that prepared projects for the US Department of Defense.
Paul’s talent and ingenuity were noticed by the White House, and he was invited to work in Washington. In the same year began the Korean War, and he was entrusted with the development of a basic strategy for the naval blockade of Korea.
Paul brilliantly performed his task, having developed a brilliant plan for the Inchon landing operation which changed the course of the war. The Battle of Inchon is considered to be one of the most glorious pages in US naval history.
In 1953, Paul Ignatius was appointed a board member of the George Marshall Foundation and the Federal City Council at the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.
In 1975, the bloody Vietnam War began. Paul Ignatius from the very beginning was an ardent opponent of the war, which was the cause of his and US President Dwight Eisenhower’s disagreement. The unfortunate start of the war and its great losses would lead to the defeat of the Republicans in the presidential elections of 1961.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected as the President of the United States. The new US Secretary of Defense was Robert McNamara who would entrust Paul Ignatius the position of the deputy chief of the general staff of the US Army.
Having developed brilliantly designed operations one after another, Ignatius was to be appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1963. However, the assassination of US President John Kennedy postponed the date of appointment.
After assuming the US presidency after John Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson nevertheless signed a decree appointing Paul Robert Ignatius to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense. Ignatius did not stay long at the new position, however; his merits in the new victories in Vietnam impressed the new president.
In 1967, Paul Robert Ignatius was appointed the United States Secretary of the Navy. Under him, the US Navy reached a fundamentally new level, with new-generation destroyers and battleships being designed. In 1969, Paul Ignatius decided to retire from the federal government due to health issues.