Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, USN
By Edward J. Marolda
Arthur D. Struble (June 28, 1894-May 1, 1983) was the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet at the outset of the Korean War and for the next eight months of that momentous conflict. Struble was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Walter and Hanna Struble. Appointed to the Naval Academy in 1911, Arthur graduated four years later and took a commission in the Navy.
The young officer spent World War I on board battleship South Dakota, cruiser St. Louis, store ship Glacier, and destroyer Stevens. In 1919 and 1920, Struble served as Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of destroyer Shubrick, which was involved in the Haiti crisis of that period. For the next two decades, his assignments alternated between service at sea on battle staffs and warships and ashore at the U.S. Naval Academy, Navy headquarters in Washington, and the naval district headquarters in San Francisco, California. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 found him in command of light cruiser Trenton, then operating near the Panama Canal.
After a tour in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations early in the war, Struble served as chief of staff of the Western Naval Task Force, the U.S. Navy's major command for the Normandy invasion in June 1944. Convinced of his special talents in amphibious warfare, in August 1944 the Navy gave him command of an amphibious group that led the assaults on Leyte, Mindoro, and Luzon in the Phillipines. His outstanding performance in these operations earned him the Distinguished Service Medal.
From September 1945 to April 1948, Struble directed the Pacific Fleet's mine clearance and amphibious forces, gaining valuable insight on coastal and inshore operations in the Far Eastern setting. Rear Admiral Struble complemented this experience with service in Washington as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Operations) and as Naval Deputy on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Having impressed the right people with his leadership abilities and professional skills, Struble was promoted to vice admiral and selected as Commander Seventh Fleet in May 1950. In Washington when the North Korean People's Army invaded the Republic of Korea, Struble flew to the Far East in time to direct the first carrier strikes on Pyongyang. At the same time, he oversaw execution of President Truman's order on June 26th that the Seventh Fleet "neutralize" the Strait of Taiwan by placing naval forces between Mao Tse-tung's Chinese Communists on the mainland and Chiang Kai-skek's Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan. Surface ships, carrier and shore-based aircraft, and submarines of his command promptly established patrols in the disputed waters off China. Units of the Navy's Taiwan Patrol Force would carry out this mission for the next two decades.
Struble, and Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, his brilliant amphibious force commander, developed the operational plan and led the forces that executed the masterful amphibious assault at Inchon in September 1950. Under Struble's control, as Commander Task Force 7, for Operation Chromite, were 230 U.S. and allied aircraft carriers, battleship Missouri, cruisers, destroyers, minesweepers, and amphibious vessels and the U.S. X Corps, comprised of the 1st Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division. Careful staff planning, accurate intelligence, successful deception operations, and effective logistic support measures helped ensure the success of Operation Chromite. The assault at Inchon was a classic demonstration of amphibious warfare. General Douglas MacArthur's bold plan, executed by Struble and Doyle and the marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the UN coalition, soon freed South Korea from the invading Communist army.
In the months after Inchon, the working relationship between Struble and Doyle deteriorated as a result of professional and personal differences. Thereafter, Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, Commander Naval Forces, Far East, charged Doyle with managing the amphibious aspects of the war and Struble with handling the fleet's air interdiction, close air support strikes, and naval gunfire support operations. Naval forces under Struble?s command helped stop North Korean ground offensives and protect the allied reinforcements pouring into the port of Pusan, and brought naval power to bear on the enemy ashore.
Detached as Commander Seventh Fleet on March 28, 1951, Vice Admiral Struble returned to the United States to lead the First Fleet on the West Coast and then to serve with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. From May 14, 1952 to May 30, 1955, he worked on the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations. Before retirement from the Navy on July 1, 1956, Struble commanded the Eastern Sea Frontier and the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Vice Admiral Struble died on May 1, 1983.
Admiral Arthur Dewey Struble - Biography
Alexander, Joseph H. Fleet Operations in a Mobile War: September 1950-June 1951. Naval Historical Center, 2001.
Buell, Thomas B. Naval Leadership in Korea: The First Six Months. Naval Historical Center, 2002.
Field, James A. History of United States Naval Operations: Korea. Washington: Naval History Division, 1962.
Cagle, Malcolm W. and Frank A. Manson. The Sea War in Korea. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1957.
U.S. Navy Biographical Files, Operational Archives, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
Utz, Curtis A. Assault from the Sea: The Amphibious Landing at Inchon. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1994.
Reproduced with permission from: Tucker, Spencer C., ed. Encyclopedia of the Korean War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000.