Sprague, Clifton Albert F, VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1950-1951, Commander Alaskan Sea Frontier
Service Years
1917 - 1951
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Robert Cox, YNCS to remember Sprague, Clifton Albert F (Ziggy), VADM USN(Ret).

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Contact Info
Home Town
Dorchester, MA
Last Address
San Diego, CA

Date of Passing
Apr 11, 1955
Location of Interment
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - San Diego, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
P 1622

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
WWII Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, WWII Memorial National Registry
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Notable career events:
- Entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1914 and graduated one year early on June, 28, 1917 in response to World War 1.
Nicknamed "Ziggy" at the USNA.
Served in the Atlantic on the Gun Boat Wheeling during World War 1 employed on combat patrol and escort duties in the Azores and Gibraltar areas.
Was designated as one of the Navy's first 300 Flight Officers in August 1921.
Credited with assisting inventor Carl Norden with improvements to aircraft carrier arresting gear on Lexington and Saratoga in the late 1920s.
Was the first U.S. Navy Pilot to fly a non-stop round trip flight from Hawaii to Midway Island in February 1934.
Was CO of Sea Plane Tender Tangier during the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.
Commanded the fast carrier Wasp in 1943 and 1944.
Promoted to Rear Admiral in July 1944.
His Task Unit 77.4.3 fought off the superior Japanese Centre Force at Leyte Gulf (Battle Off Samar) on October 25, 1944.
Served as Commander of Carrier Division 26 at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Commanded Carrier Division 2, embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) which operated against the Japanese home islands of Kyushu, Honshu, and Hokkaido in the summer of 1945.
Was Commander, Navy Air Group for Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in July 1946.
In November 1950, was the first U.S. Navy Admiral to fly over the North Pole.
The guided missile frigate USS Clifton Sprague (FFG-16) commissioned March 21, 1981.
Inducted into the Carrier Aviation Hall of Fame in 1985.
Other Comments:

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: Task Unit 77.4.3
General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 0193 (
January 19, 1945)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Clifton Albert F. Sprague, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, Task Unit SEVENTY-SEVEN POINT FOUR POINT THREE (TU-77.4.3), consisting of six escort carriers and aboard the U.S.S. FANSHAW BAY (CVE-70), in action against the enemy from 18 through 25 October 1944. Rear Admiral Sprague furnished air support to amphibious attack groups landing troops on the shores of
Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands. On 25 October 1944, this Task Unit was taken under fire by a strong enemy force consisting of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, and was under air attack from Japanese suicide dive bombers. In the face of overwhelming enemy fire power and speed he repeatedly launched aircraft against the enemy Fleet, directed torpedo attacks by the screen, and so skillfully maneuvered his force that only two of his carriers were lost. His stubborn defense and damage inflicted on the enemy ships by ships and aircraft of his command was a major factor contributing to the Japanese decision to retire from the Battle of Samar Island. Admiral Sprague's personal courage and determination in the face of overwhelming enemy surface gunfire and air attack were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyAdvancement Schools and CoursesNAS PensacolaNAS Anacostia
USS Lexington (CV-2)US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)VP-8 Fighting TigersNAS Norfolk
USS Yorktown (CV-5)NAS Seattle/SandpointUSS Wasp (CV-18)USS Bennington (CV-20)
USS Shangri-la (CV-38)NAS Corpus Christi/Truax FieldNAB Coronado, CA
  1917-1919, USS Wheeling (PG-14)
  1919-1919, USS Manley (DD-74)
  1920-1920, USS Tennessee (BB-43)
  1920-1921, Naval Flight Training
  1921-1922, NAS Pensacola
  1922-1923, VS-1
  1923-1926, 132X, Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia
  1923-1926, NAS Anacostia
  1926-1928, 132X, NAS Hampton Roads
  1928-1929, USS Lexington (CV-2)
  1929-1931, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1931-1934, VP-8 Fighting Tigers
  1934-1936, NAS Norfolk
  1937-1939, USS Yorktown (CV-5)
  1939-1940, USS Patoka (AO-9)
  1940-1942, USS Tangier (AV-8)
  1942-1943, Commander Gulf Sea Frontier
  1943-1943, Boston Navy Yard
  1943-1943, NAS Seattle/Sandpoint
  1943-1944, USS Wasp (CV-18)
  1944-1945, Carrier Division 25 (COMCARDIV 25)
  1945-1945, 132X, USS Bennington (CV-20)
  1945-1945, Carrier Division 26 (COMCARDIV 26)
  1945-1945, Carrier Division 2 (COMCARDIV 2)
  1946-1946, USS Shangri-la (CV-38)
  1946-1948, 132X, Primary Flight Training, NAS Corpus Cristi, TX
  1946-1948, NAS Corpus Christi/Truax Field
  1948-1948, Carrier Division 6 (COMCARDIV 6)
  1949-1950, NAB Coronado, CA
  1950-1951, Commander Alaskan Sea Frontier
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 World War I/Convoy Duty - Azores and Gibraltar areas
  1941-1941 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Wake Island
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Saipan
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Tinian
  1944-1944 New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Morotai
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Samar28
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation1
  1946-1946 Operation Crossroads (Bikini Atoll)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyNaval War CollegeNaval War College
  1914-1917, United States Naval Academy
  1939-1939, Naval War College
  1940-1940, Naval War College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III) Monument, San Diego, CA6
  Biography of VADM C.A.F. Sprague, USN
  Jun 28, 1917, Commissioned as Ensign
  Oct 15, 1917, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Mar 08, 1918, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Jun 10, 1930, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Dec 01, 1937, Promoted to Commander
  Jan 03, 1942, Promoted to Captain
  Jul 09, 1944, Promoted to Rear Admiral
  Oct 28, 1944, CTU 77.4.3 POST-BATTLE NAVAL MESSAGE
  Oct 29, 1944, CTU Task Unit 77.4.3 Action Report
  Apr 01, 1945, "THEY HAD US ON THE ROPES" by C.A.F. Sprague
  Jan 01, 1951, Retired
  Apr 13, 1955, Internment at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery1
  Mar 21, 1981, USS Clifton Sprague (FFG 16)6
  Nov 09, 2019, General Photos
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