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This is a contributing entry for Remembering WWI in Norfolk and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

World War One allowed opportunities for individuals that in some cases may not have had any. However, World War One also gave arise and more influence to people in influential positions. Reginald Whitehurst Steward was a World War One opportunist.


  • Vintage picture of Virginia Tech
  • Old Domionon Tobacco Company becomes Atlantic Dominion Distributors
https://atlanticdominiondistributors.com/
  • Example of high ranking naval personnel during World War One
https://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyUS-Ranks.htm

Born on January 8th, 1895, Reginald Steward was a highly educated man. Attending high school at Norfolk High School in Virginia then continuing his education to Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Prior to World War 1 Reginald Stewart worked in the tobacco business. The company that employed him was Old Dominion Tobacco Co. Today this company still exists, and if a person is familiar with the Hampton Roads area of Virginia they may have seen Atlantic Distribution Company before. Reginald Steward enlisted in the United States Navy on June 5th, 1917. Unlike most people that enlist in the military as a lower rank, due to his high education and business background he enlisted as Chief Master at Arms. 

During the war, due to his high ranking position he did not participate in any combat during the war. However, his position required him to train and prepare recruits for combat. Since the start of his enlistment he worked at several different bases training recruits and even military officers. He took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to him and moved up the ranks to become a 2nd Lt j.g. in the United States Navy. 

After the conclusion of World War 1 Reginald Steward, war experiences were very positive. "Strictly in Favor of Military service and very glad that I had the opportunity to serve." Although he did not fight the war physically he did however train people that did. His education allowed him the opportunity to gain the position he did during his enlistment however his drive is what allowed him to become 2nd Lt. 

Steward, Reginald. Virginia War History Commission, Norfolk, Virginia Records, MSS 0000-182, Sargeant