Accession Number : ADA263953

Title :   Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher: Scapegoat or Operational Artist?

Descriptive Note : Final rept. 19 Dec 92-22 Feb 93,

Corporate Author : NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI

Personal Author(s) : Hughes, W. D., III

Report Date : 22 FEB 1993

Pagination or Media Count : 39

Abstract : This paper examines Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher's decision to withdraw the three aircraft carriers during the early days of the Guadalcanal campaign in August 1942. Many officers, historians, and Marines to this day criticize this decision as a bad decision that resulted in the naval defeat at Savo Island on 9 August 1942 and as another example of the Navy deserting the Marines on the beach. Research into the original documents and a careful examination of the written histories provide a different insight into the roots of the decision, particularly when evaluating the decision with some principles of operational thinking as opposed to the sometimes disjointed tactical and strategic thought of 1942. By today's standards, the decision is correct. By yesteryear's standards, it also was the correct decision given the condition of the Navy, the strategic guidance and operational level friction, and the tactical situation. Admiral Fletcher followed orders providing the requisite tactical support while not risking the operational and strategic mission by further exposing his carriers to unnecessary risk.

Descriptors :   *NAVAL OPERATIONS, *DECISION MAKING, AIRCRAFT CARRIERS, BEACHES, FRICTION, GUIDANCE, HISTORIANS, ISLANDS, MISSIONS, NAVY, RISK, STANDARDS, MILITARY TACTICS, MILITARY STRATEGY, MARINE CORPS.

Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE