The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Naval Historical Center #NH 104263.
Cropped by author
“Socrates” or “Soc” to his
were awed by his photographic memory and recognized him as a thinker,
Charles H. McMorris graduated sixth in his class from
1912 and spent the first seven years of his career in destroyers. He was twice an
instructor at the Naval Academy (where he was known as "The Phantom of the Opera") and graduated from the Navy War College
McMorris was on Kimmel’s staff as head of the war plans section at the time of Pearl Harbor and was retained by Nimitz when he took over command of Pacific Fleet. McMorris urged a strategy of daring carrier raids against Japanese outposts in the Mandates in an attempt to gain the initiative, but failed to see the value in massing, or at least pairing, carriers. He was a major proponent of the attempt to relieve Wake. In May 1942 McMorris was given command of the San Francisco, a necessary step on the road to flag rank. He led her through some tough fights at Guadalcanal before being promoted to rear admiral in November 1942 and taking command of a task force in Alaskan waters.
McMorris’ finest moment came on 26 March 1943, when he intercepted a Japanese convoy off the Komandorski Islands that was escorted by a superior cruiser force. McMorris' force was on the verge of destruction when the Japanese abruptly broke off and retreated, leaving him the victor.
McMorris became chief of staff to
Nimitz in May 1943 and
remained in this post for the rest of the war. He was one of the few
senior officers who supported Nimitz's
strategy of attacking Kwajalein
directly, without first assaulting the outer atolls of the Marshalls. McMorris was promoted
admiral in September 1944.
Postwar, McMorris commanded 4 Fleet and served on
the General Board, becoming its president. He commanded 14 Naval
District prior to his retirement in September 1952.
considered tactless and
overly critical by some officers, which may have impeded his rise to
command. Many considered him a brilliant planner, but some thought he
sometimes got carried away in his enthusiasm. He clashed with Holland Smith, whom he had
left off the orders for the Tarawa
operation on the grounds that Navy officers were capable of running the
operation without Marine Corps
assistance. (Nimitz sided with Smith on that one.) McMorris described
the ugliest man in the Navy, but was up against
some some stiff competition.
||Born at Wetumpka, Alabama
||Graduates from Naval Academy,
standing 6th in a class of 156.
||Commander, DD Walke
||Instructor, Naval Academy
||Instructor, Naval Academy
||Graduates from Navy War College
||Operations officer, U.S. Fleet
||Captain||War plans officer, Pacific Fleet
||Commander, San Francisco
||Commander, Cruiser Division 3
||Chief of staff, Pacific Fleet
||Commander, 4 Fleet
||Commandant, 14 Naval District
||Dies at Valparaiso, Chile
Dupuy et al. (1992)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007-2011, 1914 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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