Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Raymond A. Spruance

Raymond A. Spruance (July 3, 1886 - December 13, 1969) was a US Navy admiral in World War II, victor of the Battle of Midway and commander in the capture of many islands of the Pacific Ocean, and later ambassador to the Philippines.

He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906 and received further education in electrical engineering a few years later. His seagoing career was extensive, including command of five destroyers and the battleship Mississippi. Spruance also held several engineering, intelligence, staff and Naval War College positions up to the 1940s. In 1940-41, he was in command of the Tenth Naval District and Caribbean Sea Frontier.

In the first months of World War II in the Pacific, Rear Admiral Spruance commanded a cruiser division. He led Task Force 16, with two aircraft carriers, during the Battle of Midway in early June. His decisions during that action were important to its outcome, which changed the course of the war with Japan. After the Midway battle, he became Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas and later was Deputy Commander in Chief. In mid-1943, he was given command of the Central Pacific Force, which became the Fifth Fleet in April 1944. While holding that command in 1943-45, with Indianapolis (CA-35) as his usual flagship, Spruance directed the campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and defeated the Japanese fleet in the June 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Admiral Spruance held command of the Pacific Fleet in late 1945 and early 1946. He then served as President of the Naval War College until retiring from the Navy in July 1948. In 1952-1955, he was Ambassador to the Philippines. Admiral Raymond A. Spruance died at Pebble Beach, California, in 1969.

USS Spruance (DD-963) was named in his honor.