A list of retired United States Navy admirals can be found at the official website of the U.S. Navy. The "Leadership" link on the homepage navigation bar opens a drop-down menu where the "Biographies" link can be found. The first "click here" option on the "Biographies" page is for "The biographies of Navy leaders and flag officers," and the link will open a page displaying an alphabetical listing of more than 250 retired admirals, vice admirals and rear admirals.
The rank of admiral is a four-star flag officer grade in the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The grade of admiral also reflects the highest rank that can be achieved in these three services since 1946, when the five-star rank of fleet admiral was discontinued.
The rank of captain was the highest rank in the U.S. Navy until 1862, when the U.S. Congress conceded to the position that the navy should possess officers who shared equal rank status with generals in the U.S. Army. It was also pointed out to the U.S. Congress that the Navy needed a higher rank in order to prevent disputes from developing between captains. Contributing to the original lack of congressional enthusiasm for the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy was the impression that the grade was too reminiscent of British royalty.