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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

World War II-Asiatic-Pacific Theater 1941-1946

The war in the Pacific was essentially a maritime war.

It was on the sea that Japan depended for materials to sustain her; via the sea she launched her aggressions, and the first attack was intended to destroy the nucleus of the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The vital core of the American military effort was the contest for control of the seas, from which all the other operations-at sea, amphibious, on land, or in the air- branched and received their support.

As the Japanese drove south to seize territory in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Indonesia, the few United States and Allied warships available offered valiant resistance against overwhelming odds. A carrier task force closed Japan and launched Army aircraft on first strike against the home islands. It was carrier actions in the Battle of the Coral Sea which caused the Japanese invasion force to turn back from its goals of Port Moresby and southeast New Guinea.

A month later the decisive Battle of Midway provided the turning point in the war. In the amphibious assault and defense of Guadalcanal, at sea and ashore, the advance of Japan into the South Pacific was halted. Step-by-step amphibious operations were launched from the South Pacific Area and westward through the mid-Pacific by Admiral Nimitz, and northward from the Southwest Pacific by joint forces under General MacArthur.

New concepts and techniques in mobile logistic support and underway replenishment made a high tempo of sustained operations possible. U.S. submarines took a heavy toll of Japan's warships and devastated the merchant marine, thereby servering her lifeline.

The capture of the Marianas, and later Iwo Jima, provided fixed bases for air attacks against Japan, and the Fifth Fleet drastically reduced the power of Japanese aviation in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Operations around Leyte destroyed much of the remaining enemy surface fleet as the recapture of the Philippines began.

At Okinawa the fleet faced and survived the fanatic attacks of Kamikazes. The isolation of Japan from the sea was made essentially complete by an intense mining campaign, and the final attacks on the remnants of the Japanese fleet.

The end came quickly after the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. The situation in China and other areas required that the U.S. Navy continue to operate in the Far East.

8 Silver and 3 Bronze Stars


1. Pearl Harbor-Midway
2. Wake Island
3. Philippine Islands operation
4. Netherlands East Indies engagements
5. Pacific raids (1942)
6. Coral Sea
7. Midway
8. Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings
9. Capture and defense of Guadalcanal
10. Makin raid
11. Eastern Solomons
12. Buin-Faisi-Tonolai raid
13. Cape Esperance
14. Santa Cruz Islands
15. Guadalcanal (Third Savo)
16. Tassafaronga
17. Eastern New Guinea operation
18. Rennel Island
19. Consolidation of Solomon Islands
20. Aleutians operation
21. New Georgia Group operation
22. Bismarck Archipelago operation
23. Pacific raids (1943)
24. Treasury-Bougainville operation
25. Gilbert Islands operation
26. Marshall Islands operation
27. Asiatic-Pacific raids (1944)
28. Western New Guinea operations
29. Marianas operation
30. Western Caroline Islands operation
31. Leyte operation
32. Luzon operation
33. Iwo Jima operation
34. Okinawa Gunto operation
35. Third Fleet operations against Japan
36. Kurile Islands operation
37. Borneo operations
38. Tinian capture and occupation
39. Consolidation of the Southern Philippines
40. Hollandia operation
41. Manila Bay-Bicol operations
42. Escort, antisubmarine, armed guard and special operations
43. Submarine War Patrols (Pacific)

12 December 2000