January 26, 1887 - Adm. Marc Mitscher (right) is born in Wisconsin. Graduating from Annapolis in 1910, Mitscher was fascinated by aviation from the earliest days of his career. Transferring to the air service in 1915, he earned his wings the following year as Naval Aviator No. 33. After commanding various naval air stations during World War I, he spent the interwar years in staff assignments and serving aboard the early carriers USS Langley and USS Saratoga. Promoted to captain in 1938, Mitscher oversaw the construction of USS Hornet and took command of the ship upon its commissioning in 1941. In this role when the US entered World War II, he played a key role in April 1942 Doolittle Raid and took part in the Battle of Midway two months later. Commanding Allied air forces in the Solomons in mid-1943, Mitscher assumed command of Carrier Group 3 the following January. Leading his carriers, he supported the island-hopping campaign and mounted a massive strike on the Japanese anchorage at Truk. In March, Mitscher was promoted to vice admiral and his command evolved into the massive Fast Carrier Task Force. Striking across the Pacific, his carriers played key roles in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf in 1944. After going ashore for planning duty, Mitscher returned in early 1945 for the campaigns against Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Following the war, he was given command of the US Atlantic Fleet. He was in this post when he died on February 3, 1947.
US Navy Leaders - World War II:
- Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
- Fleet Admiral William "Bull" Halsey
- Admiral Raymond Spruance
- Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher
Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Command