September 2, 1945
Birmingham native Noel Gayler attended the surrender of Japanese Forces aboard the USS Missouri, ending World War II. Gayler achieved the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy and became the first person to earn three Navy Cross medals, which he received for his actions as an ace fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater of the war. In 1969, he became the sixth director of the National Security Agency, a position he held until his appointment as commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command in 1972. In this position, Gayler oversaw the end of the Vietnam War and personally welcomed home former American prisoners of war, including fellow Alabamian Jeremiah Denton.