Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Marc Mitscher

Marc Andrew Mitscher, (26 January 1887 - 3 February 1947) was an admiral in the United States Navy, notable as commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force in the latter half of World War II in the Pacific.

Mitscher was born in Hillsboro, Wisconsin, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1910 and served 2 years at sea in Colorado. Commissloned ensign 7 March 1912, he served in San Diego during the Mexican campaign, and in September 1915 he reported for aviation training in North Carolina, one of the first ships in the Navy to carry an airplane. Designated naval aviator No. 33 on 2 June 1916, he served at various east coast naval air stations and in the Offlce of the Chief of Naval Operations before reporting to Seaplane Division 1. On 10 May 1919 he took off from Newfoundland as pilot of NC-1. His plane and NC-3 landed in heavy fog near the Azores, but heavy seas prevented them from joining NC-4 in completing the first transatlantic air passage. For his part in this historic operation, Mitscher received the Navy Cross.

In addition to several shore-based commands, Mitscher, during the next two decades, served in aircraft carriers Langley and Saratoga, seaplane tender Wright, and as commander Patrol Wing 1. Between June 1939 and July 1941 he served as assistan t chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. Thence, he fitted out carrier Hornet and assumed command at her commissioning in October 1941. While under his command, Hornet launched the Doolittle Raid against Japan in early 1942 and thus gained fame as "Shangri La". He captained her during the mighty Battle of Midway 4 to 6 June, but was detached from the carrier 30 June, less than 4 months before her loss 26 October during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.

Mitscher commanded Patrol Wing 2 until December when he became commander fleet air, Noumea. In April 1943 he became commander air, Solomon Islands, and from August to January 1944 he commanded fleet air, west coast. Returning to the central Paciflc as Commander, Carrier Division 3, he was appointed vice admiral 21 March 1944 and ordered to take command of TF 58. This fast carrier task force, which operated alternately as TF 38, inflicted severe and irreparable damage on Japanese ground installations and a gainst enemy naval and merchant shipping. His hard-hitting, wideranging carriers pounded the enemy from Truk to the Palaus, along the New Guinea coast, and throughout the Marianas. His eager, resourceful aviators devastated the enemy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea during June 1944. During the next year his warring carriers spearheaded the thrust against the heart of the Japanese Empire, covering successively the invasion of the Palaus, the liberation of the Philippines, and the conquest of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During these operations he repeatedly led the fast carriers northward to pound the Japanese home islands.

By July 1946 when he returned to the United States to serve as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air, Mitscher had received, among other awards, two Gold Stars in lieu of a second and third Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars. He served briefly as commander 8th Fleet and on 1 March 1946 became Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with the rank as admiral. While serving in that capacity, Mitscher died at Norfolk, Virginia.

The words of Admiral Arleigh Burke provide the greatest tribute and recognition of his leadership, "He spoke in a low voice and used few words. Yet, so great was his concern for his people--for their training and welfare in peacetime and their rescue in combat--that he was able to obtain their final ounce of effort and loyalty, without which he could not have become the preeminent carrier force commander in the world. A bulldog of a fighter, a strategist blessed with an uncanny ability to foresee his enemy's next move, and a lifelong searcher after truth and trout streams, he was above all else--perhaps above all other--a Naval Aviator."

Several ships of the Navy have been named USS Mitscher in his honor.


External link

This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.