Admiral Raymond A. Spruance
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance was one of the most highly regarded flag officers in the US Navy. He was born in Baltimore to Alexander and Hisse Spruance. From there he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana and graduated from Shortridge High, going on to attend the Naval Academy at Annapolis. As a junior officer he sailed on Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. In 1926 he attended the Naval War College.
During the opening phase of World War II when the Japanese had the initiative he was assigned to Admiral Halsey's task force to escort the carriers in pinprick raids. At this time he caught the eye of Halsey which was to be fortunate both for him and America.
His most famous battle was Midway where a sudden skin disease put Halsey out of commission temporarily and forced him to take command of one of the two task forces waiting in ambush for the Japanese. He was lifted to full command when his superior, Fletcher, had his ship sunk under him. Fletcher with a humility not associated with admirals handed off the command on the quite reasonable grounds that he could not command from a lifeboat. Spruance both before and after Fletcher's misfortune made a series of precise calculations, making seemingly reckless attacks during the day then halting the pursuit at night of an enemy which was in a seemingly obvious state of rout(as it turned out the Japanese surface ships had set up a counter ambush and the Americans did not have specialized nightfighting aircraft present).
For the rest of the war he alternated command of the Central Pacific Fleet with Halsey culminating with the Marianas campaign in which he conquered Saipan and Tinian and liberated the previously captured American colony of Guam. He also won the Battle of the Philipine Sea vulgarly known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". In point of fact he was an off hand commander in the Marianas leaving Marc Mitscher with the Carrier Battle and Admiral Rick, "Kelly" Turner and General Holland Smith with the landing itself. His key decision was to choose continuing to cover the landing force over pursuit.
After the war he was to become President of the Naval War College and latter Ambassador to The Phillippines.
While he is sometimes criticized for his caution he has on the whole an approval rating from history. If it is any indicator of the Navy's opinion he has a destroyer class named after him.
- Ambadassador: Though when he became an ambassador he was a Retired Badass.
- Badass Bookworm: The Naval War College does not let idiots in.
- Four-Star Badass: Obviously. And unlike army generals, admirals were quite often under fire personally as indeed Spruance was so badass isn't just an affectation.
- Irony: One of his historical heroes was Admiral Togo.
- Jurisdiction Friction: This rather bedeviled him through his career. One of the things that World War II was most noted for was obsessive guild-ish rivalry between military occupational specialties each of whom was convinced that they alone would win the war. In Spruance's case he was accused of being an old school battleship officer who could not command carriers properly. In fact he was very competent at it even if he did not fit into the culture as well as Halsey or Mitscher.
- Married to the Job: He had a distant relationship with his son. He wasn't a bad father or an unloving one. He just fit the navy stereotype of taking to much of his professional mechanistic attitude home with him.
- Must Have Caffeine: Peculiarly for Americans of his time he liked gourmet coffee and brought his own grinder and roaster on campaign.
- According to Walter Lord his staff cast lots for who had to dine with him-not because they disliked him but because they hated his coffee.
- Nerves of Steel: He was famous for this. His nickname was "electric brain."
- Officer and a Gentleman
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Halsey was the more extroverted and boisterous, Spruance was the more introverted and calculating.
- The Spock: This is the trait he is most remembered for. He did not have blood running in his veins. He had liquid nitrogen.
- The Strategist: Obviously. He was an Admiral.