graduate

Giffen, Robert C. (1886-1962)


Photograph of Robert C. Giffen

Naval Historical Center

"Ike" Giffen was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1907. He commanded a destroyer on antisubmarine patrol during the First World War.

Giffen commanded Cruiser Division 7 when war broke out. He commanded escort forces for Atlantic convoys, including the Murmansk run, and participated in Operation TORCH, the landings in North Africa in the autumn of 1942,all of which made him a favorite of Admiral King. By January 1943 Giffen had brought Task Force 18, with heavy cruiser Wichita and two escort carriers, to the South Pacific. In his first action, off Rennell Island on 29-30 January 1943, he showed a surprising inflexibility in his tactical thinking, disposing his ships poorly for air defense, failing to order course changes for fear of missing a rendezvous, and ending up losing heavy cruiser Chicago to air attack. Halsey had no use for Giffen after this defeat, but Nimitz was less scathing in his criticism and gave Giffen a second chance in the North Pacific.

Giffen's division provided fire support in the Aleutians in June 1943, at Makin in November 1943, at Kwajalein in early 1944, and during the raid on Truk in February 1944. He also participated in operations in the Marianas in the summer of 1944. In late 1944 he was promoted to vice admiral and given command of the Carribean Sea Frontier. Postwar he served as commander of the Atlantic Fleet Service Force before retiring in 1946.

Service record

1886-6-29     

Born at West Chester, Pennsylvania
1907
Midshipman
Graduates from Naval Academy. Assigned to BB Virginia
1913
Lieutenant junior grade     
Washington Navy Yard
1915

DD Wainright
1917
Lieutenant commander     
Commander, DD Trippe
1918

Commander, DD Schley
1919-8

San Francisco Shipyard
1934
Captain
Instructor, Naval Academy
1938-3-10     

Commander, CL Savannah
1940

Navy War College
1940-11-1

Director, Naval Reserve Policy Division
1941-3
Rear admiral      Commander, Cruiser Division 7
1943-1-4

Commander, Cruiser Division 6
1944-5-14
Vice admiral
Commander, 10 Naval District and Carribean Sea Frontier
1945-8-26

Commander, Atlantic Fleet Service Force
1946-9

Retires
1962-12-10

Dies at Annapolis, Maryland

References

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Garfield (1965)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-2-29)
Pettibone (2006)



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