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Sherman, Frederick Carl (1888-1957)


Photograph of Frederick C. Sherman

U.S. Navy. Via Wikipedia Commons

“Ted” Sherman was born in Michigan and graduated from the Academy in 1910. He served with cruisers and battleships for several years before transferring to submarines in 1914. He twice attended the Naval War College before transferring to aviation, becoming captain of the Lexington in 1940.

Sherman was the tactician behind Brown's early carrier operations, and he believed strongly in the value of massing carriers into a single task force.

After Lexington was lost at Coral Sea, with Sherman the last man off the ship, he was transferred to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations until October 1942.  He commanded carrier divisions until 1944, when he served briefly as commander of shore-based aircraft on the West Coast, then returned to sea to command carrier task forces for the remainder of the war. He led the Enterprise task group at Rennell Island and other task groups in the Marshalls, at Bougainville, during the raid on Rabaul, at Leyte, and at Okinawa.

Sherman was an aggressive and capable carrier task force commander, but he also had something of a chip on his shoulder. Tuohy (2007) tells of Sherman almost colliding with a young quartermaster on a narrow ladder:

"Son, who long have you been in the navy?"
"About a year, sir."
"Well, I've been in for forty years, and now people get out of my way when I'm coming. And when you're in forty years, they'll get out of your way. Do you understand me?"

Sherman responded to a 1943 survey of senior Navy officers with the opinion that aviators should have the dominant voice in Navy policy and should hold all the highest commands, including Nimitz'. John Towers assessed him as "Self-interest. Very unpopular with aviators because of intolerance. Able but not for high command because of personality absolutely precludes establishment of wholehearted loyalty" [sic]. His abrasive personality likely cost him the command of the Fast Carrier Task Force until the war was all but over. Sherman wrote several newspaper articles after the war attacking Spruance for his decisions at Midway and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  He was retired in 1947 for his participation in the postwar “Revolt of the Admirals” that sought to preserve an independent naval air arm.

Service record

1888-5-27     

Born in Port Huron, Michigan
1910
Ensign     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 24th in a class of 131
1914

Qualifies in submarines. Assigned to H-1
1916

H-2
1918-1-27

O-7
1936

Qualifies as naval aviator.
1940-6
Captain     
Commander, CV Lexington
1942-4-3
Rear admiral     

1942-5

Staff, Chief of Naval Operations
1942-11

Commander, Carrier Division 2
1943-7-16

Commander, Carrier Division 1
1944-3

Commander, Fleet Air, West Coast
1944-8

Commander, Carrier Division 1
1945-8-14

Commander, 1 Fast Carrier Task Force
1946-1-18
Vice admiral      Commander, 5 Fleet
1947-3-1
Admiral
Retires
1957-7-27

Dies at San Diego Naval Hospital


References

Boatner (1996)

Dupuy et al. (1992)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-1-18)
Pettibone (2006)
Tuohy (2007)


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