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Adm Frank Jack Fletcher
Birth: Apr. 29, 1885
Marshalltown
Marshall County
Iowa, USA
Death: Apr. 25, 1973
Bethesda
Montgomery County
Maryland, USA

US Navy Admiral, Vera Cruz Medal of Honor Recipient. A nephew of US Navy Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher, his military career spanned World Wars I and II during which he saw combat action in six major campaigns was the operational commander at the pivotal Battles of Coral Sea and of Midway. He was appointed to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1902, graduating in February 1906, and commissioned an ensign following two years at sea. He spent his early years on the battleships USS Rhode Island, USS Ohio, and USS Maine and also spent time on the yacht USS Eagle and the frigate USS Franklin. In November 1909 he was assigned to destroyer USS Chauncey, a unit of the Asiatic Torpedo Flotilla. In April 1910 he became commander of the destroyer USS Dale (DD-4) and in March 1912 returned to the USS Chauncey as Commanding Officer. In December 1912 he was transferred to the battleship USS Florida and was aboard her during the US occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, in April 1914. For distinguished conduct in battle at Veracruz, he received the Medal of Honor. In July 1914 he became Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet. The following year, he returned to the US Naval Academy for duty in the Executive Department. After the US entered World War I in April 1917, he served as Gunnery Officer of the battleship USS Kearsarge until September 1917, after which he assumed command of the patrol vessel USS Margaret, followed by a short assignment on the destroyer USS Allen in February 1918 before taking command of the destroyer USS Benham in May 1918. From October 1918 to February 1919 he assisted in fitting out the destroyer USS Crane at San Francisco, California and then became Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Gridley upon her commissioning. In April 1919 he returned to shore duty at Washington DC and became the head of the Detail Section, Enlisted Personnel Division in the Bureau of Navigation until September 1922. He returned to sea duty in the Pacific, with having consecutive command of the destroyer USS Whipple, the gunboat USS Sacramento, the submarine tender USS Rainbow, and the submarine base at Cavite in the Philippines. In March 1925 he returned to the US and served at the Washington Navy Yards, Washington DC until 1927 when he returned to sea duty and became Executive Officer of the battleship USS Colorado. From 1929 until 1931 he attended the Senior Course at the Naval War College followed by the Army War College in Washington DC. In August 1931 he became Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, US Asiatic Fleet, and in the summer of 1933 he was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington DC until November 1933 when he became Aide to the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Claude A. Swanson until May 1936. The following month he assumed command of the battleship USS New Mexico, flagship of Battleship Division 3. In December 1937 he became a member of the Naval Examining Board, and in June 1938 became Assistant Chief of Bureau of Navigation in Washington DC. In September 1939 he returning to the Pacific and became Commander, Cruiser Division 3, Commander, Cruiser Division 6, Commander Cruiser Scouting Force, and Commander Cruiser Division 4, until December 1941. After the US entered World War II that month, he was sent to Wake Island aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, but then was recalled before arrival. In January 1942 he became commander of Task Force 7 and led it in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, and the Battle of Midway in June. His flagship, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, was severely damaged and ultimately sunk by the Japanese at Midway; however, the Japanese lost four of their aircraft carriers. He was promoted to the rank of vice admiral and continued to command a carrier group at sea after shifting his flag to the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. In August 1942 he became commander of Task Force 61 and led the invasion of Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands by the US 1st Marine Division, followed by the naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons, in which his forces sank another Japanese aircraft carrier. In November 1942 he returned to the US and became Commander of the Thirteenth Naval District at the Puget Sound Naval Yard in Bremerton, Washington, and Commander, Northwestern Sea Frontier. The following year, he was placed in charge of the whole Northern Pacific area, holding that position until after the end of World War II, when his forces occupied northern Japan. In 1946 he was appointed to the Navy's General Board at Washington DC and retired in that position in May 1947, with 41 years of continuous active military service. In addition to the Medal of Honor, his military awards and decorations include the Navy Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Purple Heart, the World War II Victory Medal, and the World War I Victory Medal. He was then promoted to the rank of admiral on the retired list for having been especially commended in combat in accordance with an Act of Congress passed on March 4, 1925 and February 23, 1942 (colloquially known as a "tombstone promotion"). He died at the age of 87, just four days shy of his 88th birthday. The Navy destroyer USS Fletcher was named in his honor. In the 1976 film "Midway" he is played by actor Robert Webber. His Medal of Honor citation reads: " For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Under fire, Lt. Fletcher was eminent and conspicuous in performance of his duties. He was in charge of the Esperanze and succeeded in getting on board over 350 refugees, many of them after the conflict had commenced. Although the ship was under fire, being struck more than 30 times, he succeeded in getting all the refugees placed in safety. Lt. Fletcher was later placed in charge of the train conveying refugees under a flag of truce. This was hazardous duty, as it was believed that the track was mined, and a small error in dealing with the Mexican guard of soldiers might readily have caused a conflict, such a conflict at one time being narrowly averted. It was greatly due to his efforts in establishing friendly relations with the Mexican soldiers that so many refugees succeeded in reaching Vera Cruz from the interior." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Martha R Fletcher (1895 - 1974)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 2, Lot 4736-E
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bill Heneage
Record added: Jul 20, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6623703
Adm Frank Jack Fletcher
Added by: William Bjornstad
 
Adm Frank Jack Fletcher
Added by: Lorenzo Brieba
 
Adm Frank Jack Fletcher
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
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Admiral, thank you for your service to our our country and most importantly being a vital part of the tactical decision making that turned the Japanese back at Midway in June of '42.
- Daniel Moran
 Added: May. 31, 2014
Thank you for your military service to our country, in peacetime and war. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: May. 13, 2014

- David Wend
 Added: Apr. 29, 2014
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