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Painting, Navy ship behind sailboat
Operational Archives Branch
Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060


Papers of Vice Admiral
Marc A. Mitscher,
1917-1951


Biographical Note

Marc Mitscher was born on 26 January 1887 in Hillsboro, Wisconsin. He attended school in Washington, D.C., and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906. After his graduation from the Academy on 3 June 1910, he was assigned to USS Colorado where he served until June 1912. While on Colorado, Mitscher completed his required two years of service and was commissioned an Ensign, effective 7 March 1912. Leaving Colorado, Mitscher served briefly on board USS South Dakota and in August 1912 reported to the gunboat Vicksburg. Detached from Vicksburg in August 1913, he served on the armored cruiser California and the destroyers Whipple and Stewart before being ordered to USS North Carolina for aviation training.

Designated Naval Aviator #33 on 2 June 1916, Mitscher was assigned to the Naval Aeronautic Station, Pensacola. He remained there until the U.S. entered World War I, when he was transferred to USS Huntington. Detached from Huntington in October 1917, he became Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station at Rockaway, Long Island and subsequently of Naval Air Station, Miami. In February 1919 Mitscher's relief arrived in Miami and he moved to the Aviation Section of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Mitscher next joined USS Aroostook, flagship of the Commander Air Detachment, Pacific Fleet, reporting on board in September 1919, and by December 1920 had assumed additional duty as Commander, Detachment of Air Forces at the Fleet Air Base in San Diego. Mitscher held this post until 1922, when he departed for a six-month tour as commander of the Naval Air Station at Anacostia. From Anacostia Mitscher went to the Plans Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics, remaining there for four years until he reported to the carrier Langley. Six months later he was assigned to Saratoga, then fitting out, and served on board that ship from her commissioning on 16 November 1927 though June 1929.

Following duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics, he became Chief of Staff for Commander Aircraft, Base Force, on board USS Wright. He served as such until June 1934 when he returned to Saratoga as Executive Officer. Detached from that carrier in June 1935, he was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics. In May 1937 he assumed command of Wright, and in November 1938 became commander of Patrol Wing One. Between June 1939 and July 1941 he served as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, after which he reported to USS Hornet.

Mitscher assumed command of Hornet upon her commissioning on 20 October 1941, and was on board when war was declared. Under his direction, Hornet participated in Doolittle's raid on Tokyo in April 1942, the Battle of Midway in June, and carried out raids on Japanese shipping and airfields. Relieved of command in July 1942, he assumed command of Patrol Wing Two and in December became Commander Fleet Air, Noumea. In April 1943, Mitscher was appointed Commander Air, Solomon Islands. From August 1943 to January 1944 he was in command of Fleet Air, West Coast, and then commanded Carrier Division Three until March. Mitscher continued his wartime service as commander of the Fast Carrier Task Forces TF 38 and TF 58. His actions in the Pacific earned him several decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and four Gold Stars; two in lieu of additional Distinguished Service medals, and two for additional awards of the Navy Cross.

He returned to the United States in July 1945 for duty as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air. Serving as Deputy Chief until March 1946, he then assumed command of the Eighth Fleet. Relieved of that duty in September 1946, Mitscher was named Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet. He held this post until his death on 3 February 1947.


Scope and Content Note

This collection contains personal papers of Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. The collection is divided into three series.

The Correspondence series, 1917-1951, includes letters written or received by Admiral Mitscher and letters to his wife, Frances, written after his death. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

During his years in the Navy, Mitscher received numerous decorations. The Citations series contains copies of the citations for two of his awards.

In the third series are Night Order Books, kept during Mitscher's duties in command of Task Forces 38 and 58. The Books contain instructions regarding course, speed, zigzagging, fueling, and other operational matters for execution at night while Mitscher was away from the Flag Bridge. They date from 13 June 1944 to 2 April 1945 and include important actions such as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, activities in the western Caroline Islands, attacks on Iwo Jima, Ulithi, Palau, and Formosa, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The books are arranged chronologically.


Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Papers of Marc A. Mitscher, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.


Extent

0.25 cubic feet


3 July 2003