Adm William "Bull" Halsey
"Hit hard, hit fast, hit often!"


       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. 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. He earned his Naval Aviator's Wings at the advanced age of 52, the oldest person to do so in the history of the U.S. Navy. 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. He provided support for General Douglas MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines in 1944. 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 August 16, 1959 and was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery, next to his father, Captain William Frederick Halsey. His wife, Frances Grandy Halsey (1887-1968), is buried with him.


Funeral of Adm William "Bull" Halsey


Gravestone of Adm William "Bull" Halsey


Promotions

Graduated from Naval Academy - Class of 1904
Ensign - February 2, 1906
Lieutenant (junior grade) - February 2, 1909
Lieutenant - February 2, 1909
Lieutenant Commander - August 29, 1916
Commander - February 1, 1918
Captain - February 10, 1927
Rear Admiral - March 1, 1938
Vice Admiral - June 13, 1940


Decorations and Awards

Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Medal with three gold stars
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Mexican Service Medal
Victory Medal, Destroyer Clasp
American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal


Quotes by Adm Halsey

       "Hit hard, hit fast, hit often!"

       "[Admiral Nelson's counsel] guided me time and again. On the eve of the critical battle of Santa Cruz, in which the Japanese ships outnumbered ours more than two to one, I sent my task force commanders this dispatch: ATTACK REPEAT ATTACK. They did attack, heroically, and when the battle was done, the enemy turned away.All problems, personal, national, or combat, become smaller if you don't dodge them, but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. Carry the battle to the enemy! Lay your ship alongside his!"

       "I never trust a fighting man who doesn't smoke or drink."

       "There are no great men. Just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstance to meet."


Current Ship Commissioned under name USS Halsey


Movie entitled "The Gallant Hours"

       This classic film is about Admiral Halsey's leadership of the US forces in the South Pacific during the early part of World War II. The film is more about leadership than warfare. Combat is not depicted on screen, so this film would not appeal to those who seek lots of action. I strongly recommend the film, especially to history buffs. Helped in fact by an astonishing physical resemblance to Admiral William F. Halsey that audiences today can't appreciate, James Cagney in his next to last film before retirement makes a very believable and strained Bull Halsey recollecting those harrowing weeks during the seesaw battle for Guadalcanal. The Gallant Hours is also a tribute to the men of our fighting forces in the Pacific who took and held on to the key island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons and halted the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations. Director Robert Montgomery did the film in documentary style and at times you feel like you're in the brain of Admiral Halsey, weighing each decision he makes with him. The Gallant Hours is a fine character study of one of America's greatest naval heroes and should not be missed.


References

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq36-5.htm
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/halsejr.htm
http://www.quotatio.com/h/halsey-william-bull-hit-hard-hit-fast-hit-often-080145.html


       Countless veterans from WWWII, Korea and even the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the military and may suffer from the deadly cancer asbestos mesothelioma as a result. For more information about this cancer and how it affects members of the military community please visit the MAA Center website.







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