Forrestal, James Vincent
James Vincent Forrestal (fôr´Ĭstôl´, fŏr´–), 1892–1949, U.S. secretary of the navy (1944–47) and secretary of defense (1947–49), b. Beacon, N.Y. He was a naval aviator in World War I and later began (1923) a career as an investment banker. He was appointed administrative assistant to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (June, 1940), under secretary of the navy (Aug., 1940), and secretary of the navy (1944) as successor to Frank Knox. With the reorganization of the War and the Navy departments, he became the first secretary of defense (see Defense, United States Department of). Illness forced his resignation, and he later committed suicide.
See study by C. Simpson (1967); biography by T. Hoopes and D. Brinkley (1992).