William Crowe, the Annapolis-trained submarine officer who rose to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died.

The Navy says he died overnight at Bethesda Naval Hospital. The cause of death was not immediately released.

The Kentucky-born Crowe graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. Decades later, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam at age 44.

President Reagan named him chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1985. In that role, he presided over the military conflict with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the U.S. Navy's protection of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war. He also participated in a groundbreaking series of meetings with his Soviet counterpart as the Cold War thawed in the late 1980s.

After Crowe retired from the military, President Clinton appointed him ambassador to Great Britain.