Frank Jack Fletcher
Born: 29 April 1885, Marshalltown, Iowa
Died: 25 April 1973, Bethesda, Maryland
He brought the damaged carrier Yorktown back to Pearl Harbor by late May, and merely three days later, after furious efforts to put the carrier back in the line, sailed with a patched up Yorktown to meet the rest of the US fleet at Midway. In the following engagement, Fletcher's planes sank Soryu, but again bad luck found Fletcher, in the incarnation of Hiryu's flight groups. Hit by bombs and torpedoes in two waves, the ship survived due to the gallant efforts of Captain Elliott Buckmaster and his crew, but was sunk - without Admiral Fletcher who had rightly left the ship and transfered to the Heavy Cruiser Astoria - by a prowling Japanese submarine.
Promoted to Vice-Admiral during the period of lull between the Midway and Guadalcanal operations, Admiral Fletcher led the three carriers during the latter operation. However, by then he had become unsuited for carrier command, as the loss of two carriers under his command had made him too cautious. Fearing the Rabaul based Betty bombers, he had turned his ships away from Guadalcanal, allowing Admiral Mikawa of the IJN to slip past after destroying the Allied covering group off Savo Island. Retaining his command nevertheless, Fletcher performed, again, too cautiously during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, resulting in a tactical draw where a victory had been possible. Accordingly, he was relieved as carrier commander and spent the rest of the war as commander of the Northern Pacific Area, in which function he led the occupation of Hokkaido after the war. Upon resigning in 1947, Fletcher was, for his wartime deeds, promoted to full Admiral.