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Sprague, Thomas Lamison (1894-1972)


Photograph of Thomas L. Sprague

National Archives #80-CF-8005-1

Cropped by author

Thomas L. Sprague was born in Ohio and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1917. He served convoy duty during the First World War and commanded a destroyer after the war. He took flight training in 1921 and held numerous staff and sea postings, including superintendent of Naval Air Training in 1937-1940. He was executive officer of Ranger during the Neutrality Patrol of 1940-1941.

Sprague helped commission escort carrier Charger in February to December 1942 and Intrepid in August 1943. He commanded Intrepid in raids against the Marshalls and Truk. Promoted to rear admiral and command of Carrier Division 22 in June 1944, he covered the invasions of Guam and Morotai before commanding Task Group 77.4.1 at Leyte Gulf. His unit was far enough south to escape damage when Kurita broke through San Bernardino Strait and attacked Clifton Sprague's division further north. (The two men were not related.)

Sprague briefly commanded training carriers before taking command of Carrier Division 3, a fast carrier division, off Okinawa in April 1945. He became chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel after the war, was promoted to vice admiral, and commanded Air Force Pacific Fleet until his retirement in 1952. He briefly returned to active duty in 1956-1957 to help negotiate base agreements with the Philippine government.

Service record

1894-10-2     

Born at Lima, Ohio
1917
Ensign     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 19th in a class of 199. Assigned to CL Cleveland
1918-4

DD Montgomery
1920
Lieutenant
Commander, DD Montgomery
1921

Flight training
1931

Commander, Scout Squadron 6
1937

Superintendent, Naval Air Training, Pensacola
1940-6
Commander     
Executive officer, CV Ranger
1941-6
Captain
Commander, AV Pocomoke
1942-3-3

Commander, CVE Charger
1942-12

Chief of staff, Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet
1943-3-8

Acting commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet
1943-8-16    
Captain
Commander, CV Intrepid
1944-3-28     

Commander, Alameda Naval Air Station
1944-7-27
Rear admiral      Commander, Carrier Division 22
1944-12-16     

Commander, Carrier Division 11
1945-2

Commander, Carrier Division 3
1945-12

Deputy chief, Bureau of Naval Personnel
1947

Chief, Bureau of Naval Personnel
1949-8
Vice admiral

1949-10

Commander, Naval Air, Pacific
1950-2-1

Commander, 1 Fleet
1952-4-1
Admiral
Retires
1956

Recalled to active duty to help negotiate base agreements with the Philippine government
1972-9-17

Dies at Chula Vista, California


References

Boatner (1996)

Dupuy et al. (1992)

Morison (1958)
Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-6-21)
Pettibone (2006)
Tuohy (2007)



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