Laural F. was one of twelve men from Fisher Controls, Marshalltown, Iowa, to enlist together. They had accepted one round of deferments and couldn't bring themselves to stay out of the war any longer.
He was a plank holder, (commissioning crew) of USS Flint (CL-97) that included eight people from Marshalltown and three from Fisher. He said they didn't know it at the time, but they could have had a permanent deferment because Fisher was making parts for the heavy water system of the secret Manhattan Project (atomic bomb). They also made tiny regulators to control high altitude air pressure in the Norton bomb sight and parts for arresting gear of aircraft carriers. Fisher received an "E" award for WW2 contributions.
USS Flint was one of only eight anti-aircraft cruisers. Survivors were reclassified CLAA on 18 March 1949. Flint carried
12- 5 inch-38 dual purpose guns with a 55 pound projectile that could reach out 9 miles or to 37,000 feet of altitude to ward off enemy bombers attacking our carrier fleet. These guns could fire15 rounds per minute per barrel, but nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition were required per aircraft kill even with the proximity fuse. At 6,000 tons, the anti-aircraft cruisers were lighter than a regular light cruiser of 10,000 tons. [A destroyer today is 9,000 tons.] The first four ships of this class commissioned in 1942 and carried 16- 5" 38 dual purpose guns, but were considered top heavy and the waist guns were removed for the second batch commissioned in 1943-44 which included Flint.
Two ships of the first batch of four were sunk at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on
13 Nov 1942 -- the Atlanta (CL-51) and the Juneau (CL-52). An American cruiser force had to stop a Japanese battleship force that was covering the arrive of a Japanese Army division. These cruisers were too light to fight in such a surface gun battle, but all of our carriers had been sunk or were damaged and under repair, so these two anti-aircraft cruisers had to join in and make their contribution. Together they sank two enemy destroyers. The Juneau took the Five Sullivan Brothers down with her. Two new American battleships, Washington (BB-56) and South Dakota (BB-57) arrived in time for the second night of fighting and defeated the Japanese. The Japanese attribute their loss of the Pacific War from their inability to retake Guadalcanal. Americans agree.
Flint was commissioned in 1944 with three others of her class. They arrived in the Pacific in time for the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines. Flint then protected carriers in strikes on Luzon, Taiwan, the coast of China and on airfields on the main islands of Japan, including Tokyo, proceeding the Invasion of Iwo Jima. At Iwo Jima she helped fight off kamikaze attacks. Suppression attacks on Japan were repeated before the invasion of Okinawa, then she provided bombardment support for Marines.
Lauren shared some information and wanted to make the point that Fletcher was not alone in stopping the enemy. That 4 million sailors plus 12 million marines, army and air force fought hard for that victory. He took exception to my observation that although Fletcher could have lost the war and that more famous admirals that came after Fletcher -- after we had mobilized industry, after we had thousands of modern ships, had hundreds of thousands of superior planes , and had armed and trained millions of men -- could not have lost the war. Most of the men who died were late in the epic Pacific War, in the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and he was there to see it.
-- phone conversation, 6Dec2010
My father, Frank B., was Admiral Fletcher's yeoman during the battles
of Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. As a young yeoman on Admiral
Fletcher's staff, he took dictation directly from Admiral Fletcher.
Dad, now 92, has always spoken about Admiral Fletcher with honor and
respect. Dad has always felt that historians have not given
Admiral Fletcher the recognition and respect that he deserved.
Since 2000, Dad, a retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer, has traveled
each June to San Francisco to attend a Battle of Midway celebration
honoring veterans of that battle. In recent years he has taken
copies of "Black Shoe Carrier Admiral" to these events and given
them to the event speakers, always admirals or generals.
Kudo's to you for your effort the preserve "Black Jack" Fletcher's
legacy with deserved respect, dignity, and honor. -- email 10Dec
I am from near Marshalltown and received the book for Christmas and am pleased to see that this great admiral is finally receiving his due. I was on the USS Oakland and on deck when Bunker Hill was hit. It was a terrible thing, a lot of good men suffocated because it happened so fast. Admiral Fletcher shortened the war.
-- phone conversation with Norm J.
USS Oakland (CLaa-95) , click
Alerted by snooper planes winging near the group of Okinawa early in the morning of 11 May 1945, Oakland (CLaa-95)'s crew scrambled to general quarters but an attack failed to materialize. When the Japanese did strike, it was like a bolt of lightening when two Kamikazes plummeted into the flight deck of Bunker Hill (CV–17), 2000 yards from the light cruiser. Gasoline fires flamed up and several explosions took place. The ship suffered the loss of 346 men killed, 43 missing, and 264 wounded. A trio of life rafts were cut loose from Oakland to aid in the rescue of Bunker Hill survivors.
USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) , click
"I still cannot forgive him for his desertion of the landings area. I suggest to name him as the greatest Admiral of both World Wars is to
draw a very long bow, he never had a sea command again after the Solomons campaign, hardly the best Admiral ever." -- email 13
Errata. From the author : I mixed up the captions on pictures of USS Chester and Chicago, but they were sister-ships and look the same.
This was found and corrected in the second printing. the online stores sell the latest printing. Also was able to fix the spelling of Tulagi, I think.
The officers on HMAS Canberra are, of course, Australian, not Austrian. Opps! MiraSmart.
Second printing. Added flaps from aborted dust jacket project to body pages. and six new pages of Home Front and two pages as The Rest of the War chronology. Page numbering is now sequential. Added to classmates --
Patric Bellinger, USNA '07, all Pacific PatWings, all Atlantic Air ; and
Marc Mitscher, he attended two years in class of '08, was expelled and re-admitted graduating with class of '10. Miscellaneous editing of superficial appearance changes, which is endless. CreateSpace
There have been ten proof rounds (so far). Most are fixes to alignment of lists and subtitles. Each proof round generates five copies, which is why we have discounted proofs available.
Proof round ten involved fixes to the table on activities of Japanese carriers,. An error was corrected (Ryujo was sunk at Eastern Solomons, not Hosho); other instances are correct. While fixing that table many blank periods were filled in. That valuable table had been duplicated later in the book. The second instance was replaced by expanding the section of Japanese ship types.
Rounds 11-14 added classmates who were fighting admirals, fixed Nanking in one place, started adding 2010 to home front comparison, and continued with alignment.
Final version had 24 rounds of revisions.
Planned Hardcover Edition. No time soon, creating a dustjack will take a while. And we hope to add an Index -- at this point it cannot differentiate between the ship, USS Iowa, and the town of Marshalltown, Iowa. The basic text will be the same as the paperback including page size, contain all 110 pictures, and the dozen or so reference tables. A section will be added on submarine types and discussion of dud torpedoes which were so important to the war, and we will conclude with a couple pages to mention Hiroshima, Magic Carpet, and the GI Bill.
About this page: feedback - Comments to and by the author of "Fletcher, Task Force Commander".
Created : 07Dec2010.
Updated: 15Mar2011 thru 23Dec2013.
Back to: home page
Contact us at :
URL : http://www.ww2pacific.com/feedback.html