William W. Outerbridge, a member of the MMI HS class of 1923, was a pivotal figure in the defense of the United States during World War II. On December 7, 1941, Outerbridge, who was the commander of the USS Ward, made history by firing the first shots in defense of the country during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His quick actions resulted in the detection and sinking of a Japanese two-man midget submarine in the harbor. Outerbridge’s early education took place at MMI before he went on to graduate from the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy in 1927. He was born in Hong Kong and his time at MMI helped shape him into the brave and decisive naval officer he became. His actions on that fateful day in Pearl Harbor were a testament to his training and character. Outerbridge’s heroic actions on December 7th were not his only contributions during the war.
During World War II, Captain William Outerbridge demonstrated his bravery and commitment by serving in both the Pacific and Atlantic. He took part in various operations, including the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Normandy, as well as engagements in Cherbourg, France, Ormoc, Mindoro, Lingayon Gulf, and Okinawa. He also played a crucial role in carrier task force strikes against Tokyo and the Japanese mainland. After the war, he continued to contribute to the naval community by attending and teaching at the Naval War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. In 1957, he retired from the Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral and passed away in 1986. We honor and remember his service and dedication.