Fletcher Frank Jack, born 29-04-1885 in Marchalltown, Iowa, appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from his native state in 1902 and upon the outbreak of World War I he served as Gunnery Officer of USS Kearsar, until September 1917, after which he assumed command of USS Margare. A week after Pearl Harbor, Fletcher was sent west with the carrier Saratoga (Task Force 11) to provide relief. The next day the Japanese successfully invaded Wake Island. The task force was recalled by Admiral William Satterlee Pye who was “keeping the seat warm” until Admiral Chester William Nimitz could arrive at Pearl and take over as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. On 01-01-1942, Rear Admiral Fletcher, a surface fleet admiral, was chosen over more senior officers to lead a carrier task force, Task Force 17. He learned air operations on the job while escorting troops to the South Pacific. He was junior TF commander under tutelage of the experts: Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey during the Marshalls-Gilberts raids in February. In June 1942, he was the Officer in Tactical Command at the Battle of Midway with two task forces. As the U.S. took the offensive in August 1942, Vice Admiral Fletcher commanded the Task Force 61’s invasion of Tulagi and Guadalcanal by the 1st Marine Division. Fletcher used the carriers he had saved two weeks later when he fought a superior Japanese fleet intent on counter-invasion in the carrier aircraft Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Fletcher, as always, was second guessed by non-combatants, and was criticized by Admiral Ernst King in Washington, for not pursuing the Combined Fleet as it withdrew. This criticism may have affected the decision to not return Fletcher to his command after his flagship, the carrier USS Saratoga, was torpedoed and damaged by a Japanese submarine on 31-08-1942. Fletcher himself was slightly injured in the attack on Saratoga, suffering a gash to his head and was given his first leave after eight months of continuous combat. He was placed in charge of the whole Northern Pacific area, holding that position until after the end of World War II, when his forces occupied northern Japan. He also held that command when he ordered the front to bombard the Kurile Islands and other operations as well.
Death and burial ground of Fletcher, Frank Jack.
He retired in Mai 1947. Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher died on 25-04-1973, four days before his 88th birthday at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He is buried on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2. Close by in Section 2, the graves of the General, Commander 92nd “ Negro Division”, Edward “Ned” Almond, Major General, Commander 8th Bomber Command Europe, Frederick Anderson, Navy Admiral, “Operation Crossroads”, William Blandy, General, Commander 32nd Infantry Division, Clovis Byers, Navy Admiral. Battle of the Leyte Gulf, Robert Carney, Air Force General Lieutenant, Claire Chennault, Lieutenant General, Commander 4th Corps, Italy Campaign, Willis Crittenberger, Brigadier General, First African-American General, Benjamin Davis, Quartermaster Lieutenant General, John Lesesne De Witt, Major General and Head OSS, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Brigadier General, Speck Easley, Marine Corps Major General, Commander 1st Raider Battalion, Merrit “Red Mike” Edson, Lieutenant General, VIII Army, Robert Eichelberger, and Navy Admiral, Commander VII Forces, William Fechteler, Lieutenant General, Commander 86th Infantry Division, Ridgely Gaither, Major General, Commander 29th Infantry Division, D-Day, Charles Hunter Gerhardt, General Lieutenant and commander of the 80th Infantry Division, Horrace Logan “Mac” McBride.