Fletcher (DD 992) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1992

Page 6 of 104


Fletcher (DD 992) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1992 Edition, Page 6
Page 6

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W..-M-..,,v1.n...-Y--vw-nw-rr.-L Y - ADMIRAL FRANK JACK FLETCHER Frank Jack Fletcher was born in Marshalltown, Iowa on 29 April 1885. Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from his native state in 1902, he was graduated from Annapolis on 12 February 1906 and commissioned an Ensign on 13 February 1908 following two years at sea. The early years of his career were spent on the battleships RHODE ISLAND, OHIO, and MAIN. He also spent time on USS EAGLE and USS FRANKLIN. In November 1909 he was assigned to USS CHAUNCEY, a unit of the Asiatic Torpedo Flotilla. He assumed command of USS DALE in April 1910 and in March 1912 returned to CHAUNCEY as Commanding Officer. Transferred to USS FLORIDA in December 1912, he was aboard that battleship during the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico in April 1914. For distinguished conduct in battle engagements in Vera Cruz he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Upon the outbreak of World War I he served as Gunnery Officer of USS KEARS ARGE until September 1917, after which he assumed command of USS MARGARET. He was assigned to USS ALLEN in February 1918 before taking command of USS BENHAM in May of 1918. For distin- guished service as Commanding Officer USS BENHAM, engaged in the important, exacting, hazardous duty of pa- trolling European waters and protecting vitally important convoys, he was awarded the Navy Cross. Fletcher later returned to Asiatic Station, having consecu- tive command ofthe USS WHIPPLE, US S S ACRAMENTO, USS RAINBOW, and Submarine Base, Cavite. He served at the Washington Navy Yard from March 1925 until Septem- ber 1927, became Executive Officer of USS COLORADO, and completed the Senior Course at the Naval War College, Newport in June 1930. He became Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet in August 1931. In the summer of 1933 he was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Following this assignment he had duty from November 1933 to May 1936 as Aide to the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Claude A. Swanson. Fletcher assumed command of USS NEW MEXICO, flagship of Battleship Division THREE in June 1936. In December 1937 he became a member of the Naval Examini g board, and became Assistant Chief of the B ureau of Naviga- tion in June 1938. Returning to the Pacific between Septem- ber 1939 and December 1941 he became Commander Cruiser, Division THREE, Commander Cruiser Division SIX, Com- mander Cruiser, Scouting Force, and Commander Cruiser Division FOUR. He was in command of one of the two Task Forces participating in the Marshall- gilbert Islands in Feb- ruary 1942 and was second in command during the Salarnaua- Lae operations. On 19 April 1942, Fletcher was designated Commander Cruisers, Pacific Fleet. He was in command in May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea. In June during the Battle of Midway, he was senior Task Force Commander, his flag flying in USS YORKTOWN. It was in this battle that the Japanese suffered the first decisive defeat in three hundred and fifty years, changing the balance of naval power in the Pacific. During the Guadacanal-Tulagi landings on August 7 and 8, 1942, he commanded two of the three Task Forces engaged as well as the American Task Forces in the ensuing battle of the Eastern Solomons. Fletcher was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal "for exceptionally meritorious service as Task Force Commander, United States Pacific Fleet..." during the battles in the Coral Sea and off Midway Island in June 1942. It was revealed in July 1945, that a Task Foroe under his overall command had made the first penetration through the Kurile Islands in the sea of Okhtosk on March 3 and 4, 1945, and the same task force on february 4, 1944 bombarded Paramushire in the first sea bombardment of the Kurile Islands. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the War Department for "...his professional ability and able leadership in the vast wartime expansion and organiza- tion of naval installations in the North Pacific Area...between October 1943 and August 1945." Admiral Fletcher was also awarded the Mexican Service Medal, World War I victory Medal, Destroyer Clasp, Yangtze Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Cam- paign Medal, World War II victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp. Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher died 25 April 1973. 2 l -

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