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King, Fleet Admiral Ernest J. Papers 


Dates: 1941-1945

Collection Number: HDCL/28 (Formerly COLL/589)

Finding aid (PDF)

See also: CNO Biography

Historical Note

9th Chief of Naval Operations

(26 March 1942 – 15 December 1945)

Fleet Admiral King led the Navy to victory over the Axis navies in World War II. The strong-willed leader oversaw the enormous expansion of the U.S. fleet and its successful employment against America’s enemies in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean.

Born in Lorain, Ohio, Ernest J. King graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1901. In World War I, he was an assistant to the chief of staff of Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet. After the war, he gained experience in submarine operations. Shifting to naval aviation, he eventually rose to Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. In 1941, as Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, King directed undeclared warfare against German U-boats that preyed on American shipping. When the United States entered World War II, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet. Three months later, President Roosevelt named King Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations. He served in both positions for the remainder of the war. Congress promoted him to Fleet Admiral in December 1944. King was a strong advocate for the U.S. Navy in his dealings with the other U.S. armed forces and with America’s allies. King was instrumental in building a powerful battle fleet that defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific and helped destroy the German U-boat menace in the Atlantic. USS King (DLG-10, later DDG-41) was commissioned in his honor.

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of this collection consists of official and semi-official correspondence of Fleet Admiral Ernest King from his service as Chief of Naval Operations and Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, from 1941 to 1945. In addition to World War II planning and operations, documentation is included on such subjects as unification of the armed forces, international conferences held during World War II, and periodic meetings with the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The majority of King's personal papers are held by the Library of Congress.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Papers of Ernest J. King, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

World War, 1939-1945--Naval Operations, American.
United States. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations--Organization.
United States. Navy Dept.--Organization.
Logistics, Naval.
United States--Armed Forces--Organization.
B-36 bomber.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.


8 cubic feet


For associated photographic materials, please visit the photo archive donated collections related to Ernest J. King, UA 02.06 and NHF-137

Published: Tue Aug 10 11:01:25 EDT 2021