Halsey Jr., William Frederick, FADM

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Last Rank
Fleet Admiral
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1945-1947, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
Service Years
1900 - 1947
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral

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Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by PO1 Jeff Frey (Ace) to remember Halsey Jr., William Frederick (Bull), FADM USN(Ret).

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Fishers Island, Suffolk County, New York

Date of Passing
Aug 16, 1959
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 2, Grave 1184

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Last Known Activity

William Frederick Halsey, Jr., was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on October 30, 1882, the son of the late Captain William F. Halsey, U. S. Navy. As a Navy junior, he made the usual round of schools prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy. President McKinley gave him an appointment in 1900.

While at the Naval Academy he distinguished himself in class committees and athletics, but not in scholarship. He was a member of the "Lucky Bag" yearbook staff, won his letter in football as a fullback and was president of the Athletic Association. As a First Classman, he had his name engraved on the Thompson Trophy Cup as the Midshipman who had done the most during the year for the promotion of athletics.

Upon graduation in February 1904, he was assigned to USS Missouri and later transferred to USS Don Juan de Austria in which he was commissioned an Ensign after having completed the two years at sea -- then required by law. In 1907, he joined USS Kansas and made the famous World Cruise of the Fleet in that battle ship.

For the next almost 25 years practically all his sea duty with the Fleet was in destroyers, starting in 1909 with command of USS DuPont (TB-7 commissioned in 1897), USS Lamson, USS Flusser and USS Jarvis. In 1915 he went ashore for two years of duty in the Executive Department at the Naval Academy.

During WWI he served in the Queenstown Destroyer Force in command of USS Benham and USS Shaw. From 1918 to 1921 he continued his destroyer service in command of USS Yarnell, USS Chauncey, USS John Francis Burnes and Destroyer Division Thirty-two. In October of 1920 he assumed command of USS Wickes and of Destroyer Division Fifteen. At that time a destroyer division commander also commanded the division flagship. Another shore cruise sent him to duty in the Office of Naval Intelligence, in Washington, -- which was his only duty assignment in that city. In October 1922, he was ordered as Naval Attache at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany. One year later, he was given additional duty as Naval Attache at the American Embassies in Christiana, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Stockholm, Sweden.

On completion of that cruise he returned to sea duty, again in the destroyers in European waters, in command of USS Dale and USS Osborne. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1927, he served one year as Executive Officer of the battleship USS Wyoming -- and then for three years in command of USS Reina Mercedes, station ship at the Naval Academy. He continued his destroyer duty on his next two-years at cruise starting in 1930 as Commander Destroyer Division Three of the Scouting Force. In 1932 he went as a student to the Naval War College.

Then in 1934, he embarked on his aviation career when he reported to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola for flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator on 15 May 1935, and went in command of the carrier USS Saratoga for two years, followed by one year in command of the Naval Air Station, Pensacola. In 1938, when he reached flag rank, he held successive commands of Carrier Division Two in USS Yorktown and Carrier Division One in Saratoga. In 1940, he became Commander Aircraft Battle Force with the rank of Vice Admiral. He was in USS Enterprise in that command when World War II broke out. In April 1942 he was designated Commander Task Force Sixteen, in Enterprise to escort the carrier USS Hornet to within 800 miles of Tokyo to launch the Army planes for the initial bombing of Japan.

In October l942 he was made Commander South Pacific Forces and South Pacific Area. With the rank of Admiral, and for the next 18 months he was in command of that area during the offensive operations of the U. S. Forces. In June 1944 he assumed command of the Third Fleet, and was designated Commander Western Pacific Task Forces. As such, he operated successfully against the Japanese in the Palaies, Philippines, Formosa, Okinawa and South China Sea. Subsequent to the Okinawa campaign in July 1945, his forces struck at Tokyo and the Japanese mainland. The last attack of his forces was on 13 August 1945. Admiral Halsey's flag was flying on USS Missouri on 2 September in Tokyo Bay when the formal Japanese surrender was signed onboard.

Immediately thereafter, 54 ships of the Third Fleet, with his four-star flag in USS South Dakota, returned to the United States for annual Navy Day Celebrations in San Francisco on 27 October 1945. He hauled down his flag in November of that year and was assigned special duty in the office of the Secretary of the Navy. On December 11, 1945, he took the oath as Fleet Admiral becoming the fourth and last officer to hold the rank.

Later, Fleet Admiral Halsey made a goodwill flying trip through Central and South America covering nearly 28,000 miles, and 11 nations. He was relieved of active duty in December 1946, and upon his own request transferred to the retired list on 1 March 1947. Upon retirement, he joined the board of two subsidiaries of the International Telephone and Telegraph Company and served until 1957. He was active in an unsuccessful effort to preserve the USS Enterprise as a national shrine, and was an elected Honorary Vice President of the Naval Historical Foundation.

He died on 16 August 1959 at Fishers Island Country Club.

Source: www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq36-5.htm

Time Magazine Article:
"Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit Often"

23 July 1945 Time Magazine:

Time Magazine Article:
"Bull's Eye"

Other Comments:
  • Earned The Navy Cross during command tour of USS Shaw(DD-68) in 1918 during WWI.
  • Prior to taking command of an Aircraft Carrier, he recieved aviation instruction, taking the more difficult Naval Aviator, rather than the Aviation Observer program.
  • Commanded Task Force 16, that transported LtCOL James Doolittle's B-25 Bombers for "Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo"
  • Noted to have said, when entering Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Enterprise on 8 December 1941. "Before we are through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken in hell."
  • Namesake for the USS Halsey(CG-23) and the USS Halsey(DDG-97)
  • Namesake of Halsey Fieldhouse at the US Naval Academy.
  • Namesake of Halsey Hall at the University of Virgina.
  • Mentioned in the Paul and Linda McCartney song "Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey"

Quotes credited to FADM Halsey:
  • "I never trust a fighting man who doesn't smoke or drink."
  • "If you want to go anywhere in modern war, in the air, on the sea, on the land, you must have command of the air."
  • "There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with."
  • "Hit hard, hit fast, hit often."
Related Links:

US Naval Historical Center Biography

US Naval Historical Center Photos

The Last Salute: Halsey's Special Military Funeral

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Naval Aviator Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyUS Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)DESRON 32, Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific (COMNAVSURFPAC)Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
Naval Attache/Asst Naval Attache, CNO - OPNAVNaval War College (Staff)USS Saratoga (CV-3)NAS Pensacola
COMTHIRDFLTSecretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
  1904-1906, USS Missouri (BB-11)
  1906-1909, USS Kansas (BB-21)
  1909-1911, USS DuPont (TB-7)
  1911-1913, USS Lamson (DD-18)
  1913-1914, USS Flusser (DD-20)
  1914-1915, USS Jarvis (DD-38)
  1915-1917, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1917-1918, USS Shaw (DD-68)
  1918-1921, DESRON 32, Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific (COMNAVSURFPAC)
  1921-1922, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
  1922-1924, Naval Attache/Asst Naval Attache, CNO - OPNAV
  1924-1925, USS Dale (DD-290)
  1925-1927, USS Osborne (DD-295)
  1927-1928, USS Wyoming (BB-32)
  1928-1930, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1932-1934, Naval War College (Staff)
  1934-1935, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1935-1937, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1937-1938, NAS Pensacola
  1938-1939, Carrier Division 2 (COMCARDIV 2)
  1939-1940, Carrier Division 1 (COMCARDIV 1)
  1940-1942, Commander Aircraft Battle Force
  1942-1945, COMTHIRDFLT
  1945-1947, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1943-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Leyte Gulf
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyNaval War College
  1900-1904, United States Naval Academy
  1932-1934, Naval War College
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