Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

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By Rear Adm. Brian Fort
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

On Sept. 2, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony on the battleship Missouri to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The theme was “They Stood Tall, They Held the Line and They Set the Course to Peace,” and the focus was on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

Among the reasons last week’s commemoration was special for me personally, I had the chance to meet and speak with World War II veterans and United States Marines – always an honor; I was invited to speak about the history, heritage and legacy associated with Guadalcanal; and did I mention we were aboard the “Mighty Mo,” Battleship Missouri Museum!

Back in 1945, USS Missouri (BB 63) hosted the signing ceremony for the end of the War in the Pacific. At the time, Missouri was flagship of Adm. William “Bull” Halsey.

Adm. Chester Nimitz and Adm. E. J. King handpicked Halsey to serve as the wartime commander of the South Pacific for a reason. They needed someone with his “very particular set of skills,” to quote Liam Neeson. They needed him Halsey to take command in the South Pacific, where, according to the historical record, other Navy leaders were overly cautious and risk averse.

Halsey took charge in the Solomons, where our Marines were in a bitter fight with Imperial Japanese forces. He gathered all available ships, ordered mechanics to work around the clock to repair ships and make them battle-read, maximized use of patrol torpedo boats (to great effect) and changed the maritime strategy from strictly defense to bold offense – willing to take cruisers and destroyers to engage with more powerful Imperial Japanese Navy battleships.

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

No wonder the United States Marine Corps loves him to this day. Marines defended Henderson Field and beat back enemy forces throughout late summer and early fall of 1942. Then, on Friday, Nov. 13, under Halsey’s orders, Adm. Daniel Callaghan led a fierce and deadly fight against the enemy in Sealark Channel off Guadalcanal.

In a close and thunderous gunfight, five American cruisers and eight destroyers went up against two enemy battleships, one cruiser and 14 destroyers. The result: brutal wounds, terrible damage and significant losses on both sides. Callaghan lost four ships and was himself killed, but Imperial Japan lost one battleship and two destroyers – their seeming invincibility was smashed.

Halsey was deeply saddened by the losses of his Sailors and ships. Nevertheless, he and Nimitz considered the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific one of the key turning points of the war.

The Battle of Guadalcanal would wage on for several more months, but the clear naval victories in November meant that our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen would continue rising to the challenge to advance up the “ladder” toward Japan. At Guadalcanal, they stood taller, they held the line and they set the course to peace.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)

Today, we have 10 homeported ships in Pearl Harbor ready to protect freedom, security, stability and prosperity in the Pacific, and one of those ships is namesake to the take-charge admiral who ensured victory at Guadalcanal. The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey’s motto is a quote from Halsey, “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”

Like any of us, Adm. Bull Halsey was far from perfect. But in 1942, he was the right leader at the right place at the right time. If our call comes to “fight tonight” we will need bold leaders like Halsey who can inspire and lead warfighters. Semper Fi. Semper Fortis.

Editor’s note: Rear Adm. Brian Fort assumed command at Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Aug. 9. He was invited to speak to the community at the End of World War II ceremony aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial, which makes its home in Pearl Harbor.


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Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

Team Navy Competes at 2017 DOD Warrior Games

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Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of Team Navy at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago.

Team Navy is comprised of 36 Sailors and four Coast Guardsmen who are competing June 30 to July 8 against other military teams to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball.

This is first time the Navy has hosted the Games and is the first time they have been held in a public venue since the DoD became involved in hosting the Games in 2010.

Roster Sports Schedule

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6

Follow this blog throughout the Games for the latest on Team Navy.

Day 6 (July 6)

Cycling

Day 5 (July 5)

Field

Day 4 (July 3)

Archery

Day 3 (July 2)

Track

Day 2 (July 1)

Opening Ceremony

Warrior Games Opening Ceremony

It’s time for the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago opening ceremony with Jon Stewart. 39 Sailors are participating in the Paralympic-style completion for wounded, ill and injured service members in Chicago. Go Navy!

Posted by U.S. Navy on Saturday, July 1, 2017

CHICAGO (July 1, 2017) Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his wife Dana Richardson cheer during the Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games’ opening ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Chief Elliott Fabrizio/Released)
CHICAGO (July 1, 2017) Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his wife Dana Richardson cheer during the Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games’ opening ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Chief Elliott Fabrizio/Released)

Sitting Volleyball

LIVE NOW: Team Navy competing against United States Air Force in sitting volleyball at Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition, against other military branches, the United Kingdom and Australia for wounded, ill and injured service members. Go Navy!

Posted by U.S. Navy on Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rifle

Day 1 (June 30)

Team Navy Kicks Off 2017 Warrior Games

Warrior Games Day 1

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games got underway today in Chicago.Watch for a look at Team Navy’s competition in shooting, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball on Day 1.

Posted by U.S. Navy on Friday, June 30, 2017

Team Navy kicked off the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games June 30 in Chicago, Illinois, with competition in shooting, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

Read more on Navy.mil

Archery

Shooting

Wheelchair Basketball

About Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program

The mission of the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program is to deliver year-round competitive and recreation opportunities for wounded, ill or seriously injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. Adaptive sports — athletic activities that are modified to meet the abilities of injured or ill individuals — are essential to the recuperation of our wounded warriors. All enrollees in Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor are encouraged to make athletics a key component of their recovery and rehabilitation plans. The proven and lasting benefits of adaptive sports and reconditioning activities include higher self-esteem, lower stress levels and fewer secondary medical conditions.

Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor hosts a series of adaptive athletic reconditioning camps, provides information relative to recreational opportunities and facilitates enrollees’ participation in the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games. Non-medical care managers and recovery care coordinators, along with the transition coordinators, are encouraged to brief all recovering and transitioning service members about adaptive sports opportunities.

Once registered for the sports program, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen are provided with information on all athletic opportunities, including the annual trials where athletes can compete for a spot on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. Participants in the trials include active-duty service members and veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; amputations; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Athletes possessing professionalism, team spirit and the best qualifying times and/or scores are selected to compete on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. The DoD Warrior Games represent the culmination of participation in structured adaptive sports and reconditioning activities of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans throughout their recovery by encouraging participation in physical and cognitive activities, inspiring physical fitness, mental strength and peer support, and encouraging new opportunities for growth and achievement.


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Team Navy Competes at 2017 DOD Warrior Games