Nixon was eligible for an exemption from military service, both as a Quaker and through his job working for the OPA, but he did not seek one and was commissioned into the United States Navy in August 1942. He was trained at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island and was assigned to Ottumwa Naval Air Station, Iowa, for seven months. He was subsequently reassigned as the naval passenger control officer for the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command, supporting the logistics of operations in the South West Pacific theater. After requesting more challenging duties, he was given command of cargo handling units. Nixon returned to the United States with two service stars (although he saw no actual combat) and a citation of commendation, and became the administrative officer of the Alameda Naval Air Station. In January, 1945, he was transferred to Philadelphia's Bureau of Aeronautics office to help negotiate the termination of war contracts. There he received another letter of commendation, this time from Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. In October 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant commander. He resigned his commission on New Year's Day 1946.
Richard Nixon joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 29. Richard Milhous Nixon was born on 9 January 1913 to Francis Anthony and Hanna Milhous Nixon in Yorba Linda, California. After attending public schools in California, Nixon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Whittier College in 1934. Continuing his education at Duke University, where he acquired a Bachelor of Laws in 1937, Nixon returned to Whittier, California to practice law. In January 1942, Nixon became an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, D.C. where he worked until he accepted an appointment as lieutenant junior grade in the United States Naval Reserve on 15 June 1942.
Following his appointment, Nixon began aviation indoctrination training at the Naval Training School, Naval Air Station in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. After completing the course in October 1942, he went to the Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he served as Aide to the Executive Officer until May 1943. Looking for more excitement, Nixon volunteered for sea duty and reported to Commander Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was assigned as Officer in Charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command at Guadalcanal in the Solomons and later at Green Island. His unit prepared manifests and flight plans for C-47 operations and supervised the loading and unloading of the cargo aircraft. For this service he received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force for "meritorious and efficient performance of duty as Officer in Charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command... " On 1 October 1943, Nixon was promoted to lieutenant.
From August through December of 1944, Nixon was assigned to Fleet Air Wing EIGHT. From December through March 1945, he served at the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. In March, his next assignment was as the Bureau of Aeronautics Contracting Officer for Terminations in the Office of the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Eastern District, headquartered in New York City. In that capacity he had temporary additional duty at various places, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York City, and East Hartford, Connecticut. When he was released from active duty on 10 March 1946. He was promoted to Commander in the Naval Reserve on 1 June 1953.
While on active duty besides the Letter of Commendation, Nixon earned the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He is entitled to two engagement stars on the Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal for supporting air action in the Treasury- Bougainville operations from 27 October to 15 December 1943 and for consolidation of the northern Solomons from 15 December 1943 to 22 July 1944. Nixon transferred to the Retired Reserve of the Naval Reserve on 1 June 1966.