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Gerald Bogan

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Gerald Bogan (1894-1973) was a pioneer in United States Navy aviation, commanding carrier task groups in World War Two in the Pacific, rising to command the United States First Fleet after the war, and retiring as a vice admiral after the Revolt of the Admirals.

Graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1916, he qualified as a pilot in 1924, and was a fighter squadron commander by 1926. He took command of the carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), and then carrier task groups in wartime. Operations in which he commanded units included the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and air operations in the Philippines in November 1944, for which he received the Navy Cross.

WWII relations

During the war, he was considered outspoken and ambitious. His first unit command was of escort carriers, in Operation FORAGER, the invasion of the Marshall Islands, beginning with the Battle of Saipan. During this operation, he was extremely critical of the performance of his flagship, USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70), a distaste tahat continued after this operation. Calling it the "worst ship [he'd] seen in any navy", and, save for its air officer, "the entire complement was incompetent." Later, after the Action off Samar, he refused to attend the presentation of the Presidential Unit Citation to the unit to which Fanshaw Bay belonged. [1]

Moving from the escort carriers to fleet carriers, he then took a unit of fleet carriers, Task Group 58.2, into the invasion of Tinian, while part of the United States Fifth Fleet under Admiral Raymond Spruance. Later in 1944, he commanded the same ships as Task Group 38.2 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as part of United States Third Fleet under Admiral William Halsey.

He criticized Halsey for not avoiding a typhoon, formally at the board of inquiry and more scathingly at later interviews. [2] Bogan, however, also was reported to have had trouble tracking the typhoon. [3]

Postwar

During the Revolt of the Admirals, an internal memorandum in which Bogan had complained about cuts in naval aviation, the direction of national security and the overemphasis on Air Force heavy bombers. As it went through channels, it was endorsed by strategic planner Admirals Arthur Radford and Chief of Naval Operations Louis Denfield. Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews, however, charged Bogan with with “faithlessness” and “insubordination” for their opposition to unification.[4] It led to his forced retirement as commander of the First Fleet.[5]

References

  1. William Y'Blood (1987), The Little Giants: U.S. Escort Carriers against Japan, U.S. Naval Institute, p. 71
  2. William Tuohy (2007), America's Fighting Admirals: Winning the War at Sea in World War II, Zenith, p. 326
  3. Y'Blood, p. 269
  4. Andrew L. Lewis, Revolt of the Admirals, Air Command and Staff College, U.S. Air Force, p. 29
  5. Michael T. Eisenberg (1993), Shield of the Republic, Volume I (1945-1962), St. Martin's Press p. 156, 160