WILLIAM F. HALSEY, JR., ADMIRAL (1882-1959)



Admiral Halsey is shown standing next to General MacArthur. His signature appears next to his four stars on the right-hand shirt collar on the signed surrender photograph. The black fluid ink shows a slight change to brown.

Halsey was born October 30, 1882 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1904 which was the same year his future adversary, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy.

During World War I, he commanded destroyers which escorted convoys through the German U-Boat infested Atlantic Ocean. After the war, he became a Naval Aviator at the age of fifty-two. His extensive experience in active on sight command, coupled with his clear understanding of the importance of air power, led to his appointment as Commander, Aircraft, Battle Force Pacific and additional duty as Commander Carrier Division Two. He was serving in this command when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Admiral Halsey was placed in command of the Naval Task Force that launched the Army planes of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle on the first bombing raid on the main Islands of Japan on the 18th of April 1942. Later in 1942, he was appointed by Admiral Nimitz as Commander South Pacific and South Pacific Area.

Forces under his command defeated the Japanese in the Battle of Santa Cruz on the 26th Of October 1942, and in the following months defeated the Japanese in the Battle for Guadalcanal and the Solomon Island chain. During this period he signed the citation awarding the Navy and Marine Corps medal to a future President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, for heroism in saving his crew of PT Boat 109 after it was rammed and sunk in 1943.

Between the 23rd and the 25th of October 1944, Halsey was in tactical command under Nimitz during the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. This Battle near the Philippines virtually destroyed the Japanese Navy.

In the final phases of the war, Halsey's THIRD FLEET participated in the latter stages of the invasion of Okinawa. The American Naval Forces in combination with the British Fleet comprised the greatest mass of sea power ever assembled.

The Battleship USS MISSOURI (BB-63) was Admiral Halsey's Flagship when it was ordered by President Truman to Tokyo Bay to be the sight of the surrender ceremony. During the war Halsey's slogan for the THIRD FLEET was "Hit hard, hit fast, hit often." The hitting now came to an end on the starboard verandah deck of the Flagship of the THIRD FLEET.