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Bogan, Gerald Francis (1894-1973)


Photograph of Gerald F. Bogan

Naval Historical Center #NH 93199. Cropped by author.

Gerald Bogan was among the pioneering Navy aviator who was recommended to Ernest King in the spring of 1942 for early promotion to flag rank. He commanded carrier Saratoga in late 1942, commanded antisubmarine aircraft in the Atlantic, and was promoted in January 1944 to rear admiral and command of Carrier Division 25, which consisted of the four escort carriers Fanshaw Bay, Midway, White Plains, and Kalinin Bay. An extremely ambitious man, Bogan felt slighted to be assigned to command escort carriers rather than fleet carriers, and took out his frustrations on the crew of his flagship, Fanshaw Bay, whom he continued to criticize long after the war. 

Bogan was transferred to command of  Carrier Division 4 and Task Group 38.2 built around it in time for the battle of Leyte Gulf, during which his air units inflicted heavy damage on Kurita's fleet while it was crossing the Sibuyan Sea. He expressed disgust when Halsey sent McCain's task group back to Ulithi for refueling. He tried to warn Halsey that the Center Force had turned around and was once again headed east late in the afternoon, but his warning was brushed off by a staff officer. He was later critical of Halsey for failing to guard San Bernardino Strait, declaring that "I'm clear in my own mind that it was a great mistake on Halsey's part." He contrasted the fast carrier commanders of 3 Fleet and 5 Fleet (Tuohy 2007):

Pete Mitscher was a consummate master of naval airpower. When he ran it, it was a professional outfit, doing a professional job, in a professional way. When McCain ran it, it was a [expletive] circus. He'd come up with one screwy idea after another. One night we changed the bomb load three times for morning strikes. Theose kids had been working 24 hours on the flight deck, and when you have to change a load of bombs on 47 planes three times during the night, because he thought that different bombs might be better on the targets we were going to hit, it was disgusting to me, but there was nothing you could do about it.

Bogan was likewise scathing in his criticism of Halsey for sailing his fleat into a typhoon:

Halsey had a date to support MacArthur two days later. I felt it was just plain [expletive] sloppiness and stupidity. All the information was available that this area we went to was going to be the heart of the typhoon. I thought it a needless tragic loss of life and materiel.

Bogan led the strike against Cam Ranh Bay on 10 January 1945, sailing within fifty miles of the great base. The Japanese refused to react, much to the disappointment of the Americans.

Though pugnacious and ambitious, Bogan was regarded as an excellent pilot and first-rate air commander by both his superiors and subordinates.

Service record

1894

Born at Mackinac Island, Michigan
1912
Ensign
Graduates from Naval Academy. Assignd to BB Vermont
1914

Instructor, Naval Training Station, Great Lakes
1916

CL Birmingham
1924

Flight training
1925

CVL Langley
1942-10
Captain Commander, CV Saratoga
1943-6

Commander, Aircraft, 10 Fleet
1943-10

Commander, Norfolk Naval Air Station
1944-1
Rear admiral     
Commander, Carrier Division 25
1944-7

Commander, Carrier Division 4
1946-2
Vice admiral    
Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet
1949-1-8     

Commander, 1 Task Fleet
1950-2

Retires
1973

Dies


References

Hornfischer (2004)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-1-16)
Pettibone (2006)

Prados (1995)

Spector (1985)
Tuohy (2007)



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