graduate

Ainsworth, Walden Lee (1886-1960)


Photograph of Admiral Walden "Pug" Ainsworth
Tuohy (2007)

Walden "Pug" Ainsworth graduated from the Naval Academy in 1910 and participated in the Vera Cruz Expedition in 1914. He became an expert in ordnance and commanded destroyers before becoming a instructor at the Naval Academy and a naval ROTC professor at Tulane University. He was commanding Destroyer Squadron 2, part of the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic, when war broke out.

Ainsworth took command of battleship Mississippi on 19 December 1941. From May 1942 to December 1942, he was acting Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet in place of Robert Theobald,who had been sent to the Aleutians. He was subsequently promoted to rear admiral and took administrative command of all Pacific Fleet destroyers on 4 July 1942. Given command of Cruiser Division 9  and Task Force 67 built around it, he operated aggressively in the Solomons, on one occasion conducting a daring bombardment of Munda on New Georgia.

Ainsworth was later given command of Task Force 18 and commanded the Allied forces in the battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara. Both were thought to be Allied victories at the time, but radio intelligence eventually proved that Japanese losses were far less than thought. It took some time for Ainsworth and his fellow cruiser admirals to learn to let their destroyers operate independently while their cruisers stayed out of range of the "Long Lance" and employed long-range gunnery.

Ainsworth commanded the fire support group for the Guam operation and screens for carrier task groups before becoming the administrative commander for all cruisers and destroyers in the Pacific.

Boatner describes Ainsworth as "tall, beefy, and genial but a strict disciplinarian". Morison described him as "Tall, hearty ... with a sailor's light blue eyes, florid complexion, and engaging smile..." He was one of the best fighting admirals of the surface fleet.

Service record

1886-11-10     

Born in Minneapolis
1910-6-3
Ensign     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 73rd in a class of 131. Assigned to BB Iowa.
1912

AP Prairie
1914

BB Florida
1917-5

AP DeKalb
1918

America
1918

Frederick
1919-2

Inspector of ordnance, Navy Armor and Projectile Plant
1921

Executive officer, AP Hancock
1923

Executive officer, CL Birmingham
1923

Commander, Marcus
1924-8

Inspector of ordnance, New York Navy Yard
1925

Staff, Destroyers Squadrons, Asiatic Fleet
1927-7

Commander, Paul Jones
1928

Instructor, Naval Academy
1931

BB Idaho
1933

CA Pensacola
1934

14 Naval District
1935

Naval War College
1936-6
Commander     
Executive officer, Mississippi
1938

Professor of Naval Science and Tactics, Tulane University
1940-7-22
Captain     
Commander, Destroyer Squadron 2
1941-12-19

Commander, BB Mississippi
1942-7-4
Rear admiral     
Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet
1942-12-10

Commander, Cruiser Division 9
1944-10-31

Commander, Cruisers-Destroyers, Pacific Fleet
1945-8-20

Commander, 5 Naval District
1948-12-1

Retires
1960-8-7

Dies at Bethesda Naval Hospital

References

Boatner (1996)

DANFS

Morison (1950)
Pettibone (2006)

Spector (1985)
Tuohy (2007)



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