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First Name: Frederick

Last Name: Sherman

Birthplace: Port Huron, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Carl

Date of Birth: 27 May 1888

Date of Death: 27 July 1957

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1910 - 1947
Frederick Carl Sherman

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1910

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Frederick Carl "Ted" Sherman
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Frederick Carl Sherman was the son of Frederick Ward and Charlotte Esther Wolfe Sherman. His grandfather, Loren Sherman, was the longtime editor and publisher of The Daily Times in Port Huron. His father, Frederick, sold the newspaper in 1907 and moved to California, where he was editor and publisher of The Daily Independent in Santa Barbara in 1911.

Military Career

Sherman graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1910 and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy. His initial assignments included duty on three ships: The Cruiser USS Montana (ACR-13); the Armored Cruiser USS Maryland (ACR-8); and the Pre-Dreadnought Battleship USS Ohio (BB-12). His next assignments, starting in 1914, were in submarines and lasted throughout WWI. His first duty was with the submarine USS H-2 (SS-29), attached to the Pacific Fleet and operated along the West Coast on various exercises and patrols until October 1917, when she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet. She did not see combat.

His next duty was as commanding officer of the submarine USS O-2 (SS-63), which patrolled off the New England coast and wasn't in any combat operations. The USS O-7 (SS-68), an O-class submarine, was commissioned on 4 July 1918, with Lieutenant Commander Sherman in command. During the final stages of WWI, O-7 operated out of Philadelphia, PA, on coastal patrol from Cape Cod to Key West, FL. On 2 November she departed Newport, RI, with a 20-sub contingent bound for European waters; however, the Armistice with Germany was signed before the ships reached the Azores, and they returned to the U.S. The first of Sherman's three Navy Crosses was awarded for his actions in command of O-7.

Between the Wars

After the Armistice with Germany, Sherman was navigator on the battleship USS Minnesota (BB-22). He then served in the Bureau of Engineering in Washington, DC until 1921, when he was named as Commanding Officer, Submarine Division Nine, at San Pedro, CA, and then, as of 16 July 1923, at Pearl Harbor, HI.

When Sherman was Gunnery Officer on the Battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48), his men won the Gunnery Trophy and Fleet Battle Efficiency Pennant; they also achieved a score for long range marksmanship that stood for years. In 1933, he commanded a destroyer division and, in 1934-35, was Aide to 11th Naval District Commandant, Rear Admiral George Tarrant.

After completing flight training and being designated a Naval Aviator in 1936 (at age 47) he was assigned to duty as Executive Officer of the Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3); in 1938, he was Executive Officer at the Naval Air Station in San Diego. In 1939, now a Captain, he commanded Patrol Wing in Panama. Following a Senior Course at the War College in 1940, Sherman became Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), and that was his duty station when WWII began following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

World War II

Sherman directed the Lexington's air operations during the aborted raid on Rabaul in February 1942, and then brought her into the Coral Sea where her planes participated in the Salamaua-Lae Raid on 10 March. During the Battle of the Coral Sea from 4-8 May, Lexington was the flagship of Task Force 11's Commander, Rear Admiral Aubrey Fitch. Despite Sherman's best efforts, the Lexington, a big target and not very maneuverable, was hit by two bombs from Japanese bombers during the battle. Damage control parties put out the fires and restored her to operational condition, but at 12:47 sparks from unattended electric motors ignited gasoline fumes near the ship's central control station. The resulting explosion killed 25 men and started a large fire. Around 14:42, another large explosion occurred, starting a second severe fire. A third explosion occurred at 15:25 and the ship's crew reported the fires as uncontrollable at 15:38. Sherman reluctantly ordered her abandoned and Lexington's crew began abandoning ship at 17:07. After the carrier's survivors were rescued, including Fitch, as her captain, Sherman was the last person over the side. At 19:15 the destroyer USS Phelps fired five torpedoes into the burning ship, which sank in 2,400 fathoms at 19:52. Two hundred sixteen of the carrier's 2,951-man crew went down with the ship, along with 36 aircraft. At the end of the world's first carrier battle, Sherman was out of a job - but he didn't have to wait too long for a new one.

Promoted to Rear Admiral, Sherman served as Assistant Chief of Staff to Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet and the Chief of Naval Operations, until October 1942. Six months after the loss of the Lexington, Sherman hoisted his flag on the carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) as he replaced Admiral Thomas Kinkaid. But Sherman was again out of a job when the Enterprise departed for an overhaul on 28 April 1943, because her replacement was the British carrier HMS Victorious.

However, he stayed in the South Pacific and was placed in Vice Admiral Aubrey Fitch's Commander, Air Forces, South Pacific Force (COMAIRSOPAC) office on Admiral William Halsey Jr.'s behalf. Halsey knew that Sherman deserved a carrier command, and recommended him for command of one of the new carrier forces at Pearl Harbor. Sherman was transferred to Pearl Harbor and became Commander, Carrier Division 2 (COMCARDIV2), on board the carrier USS Essex (CV-9), on 7 June 1943. Together with the Enterprise, Sherman conducted additional two-carrier formation operations until Enterprise left for repairs in the U.S. Conducting trials in two-carrier operations was a new thing in US Navy operations (using the Yorktown and Lexington together was by accident, and Enterprise and Hornet had divided up before the Battle of Midway.) It was a very short assignment; on 16 July, Sherman was sent back to the South Pacific as Commander, Carrier Division 1 (COMCARDIV1), aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3), the other available carrier. For a time, Sherman spent time training, then operating, and then training again; first with HMS Victorious, then with battleships and cruisers. But better times were coming for the admiral, beginning with the October arrival of USS Princeton (CVL-23), a new light carrier.

Sherman was soon to go to where he had almost gone 18-months before; to the Japanese fortress at Rabaul. Halsey's forces had invaded the northernmost Solomon's Island, Bougainville, on 1 November. The following night, Japanese forces under Admiral Omori attacked the US forces covering the landings, and were repulsed by Admiral A. Stanton Merrill. Although the Japanese lost a light cruiser and destroyer, other ships were waiting. As Omori returned to Rabaul, Vice-Admiral Kurita Takeo joined him with seven heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and four destroyers. Halsey knew that his forces wouldn't be able to stop the Japanese force if it ran south at night, and that he couldn't wait for air attacks from Sherman's carriers until then. So he immediately dispatched Sherman's forces north for an all-out strike against Rabaul - risking the loss of the venerable Saratoga, and the new, small Princeton.

Sherman's 97 planes (from a total of 112 planes on his carriers) hit Rabaul shortly before noon on 5 November and the attack was a decisive success. Although no enemy cruisers were sunk, the force was completely damaged and had to retire to Truk. A short time later, Sherman repeated the strike but with less success. Still, he had proven the feasibility of attacks against naval bases, even with their powerful defenses.

Still COMCARDIV1, Sherman assumed command of Task Group 58.3 during the 1944 Gilbert and Marshall operations, his flag flying from the carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17). However, because he had served at sea since early 1943, he was placed on recreational leave in March 1944. On 1 August, Sherman returned as COMCARDIV1 and relieved Rear Admiral Harrill. On 12 August, he became Commander of Task Group 58.3 (COMTG58.3) and was back in his element. He first conducted attacks against the Visaya Islands, hitting them on 31 August 1944. His task group was then used to attack Formosa, accompanied by Halsey's Third Fleet. In a 7-day battle, the US forces shot down 600 Japanese aircraft while losing 90 of their own. The Japanese air forces lost two-thirds of their air cover for the Leyte operations.

Sherman's task group was one of three available to Admiral Halsey in the vital three days of the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. His forces, east of Luzon and not too far away, were highly vulnerable to air strikes and were hit relentlessly by Japanese planes. Sherman's light carrier, Princeton, was sunk by a Japanese dive-bomber. He then united his forces with Halsey's remaining two carrier groups and headed north, where his units attacked Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's Deception Force near Cape EngaƱo. After ending this operation successfully and seeing that the Japanese would not make another attempt to attack the landing force off Leyte, Sherman was ordered to Ulithi to replace his air groups. His leave from battle was cut short when false reports of a Japanese movement toward the Leyte beaches reached the fleet on 1 November, and Sherman headed north again to support Admiral Bogan.

Sherman's, Montgomery's and Bogan's planes struck Philippine airfields on 5-6 November 1944. When Admiral McCain's flagship (he was Commander, Task Force 38) was hit and its replacement enroute to Ulithi, Sherman was temporarily given command of TF 38. After two months of conducting maneuvers around Ulithi, TF 38 made another foray on 30 December in support of the largest Pacific landing yet; the invasion of Luzon at Lingayen Bay. The Fast Carriers and Sherman's TG 58.3 roamed the seas; struck air fields; conducted fighter sweeps; and attacked related targets. After these operations ended well, Halsey and TF 38 stayed on the western side of the Philippines and attacked Cam Ranh in mid-January, with Sherman commanding two TGs.

In February 1945, Sherman was still COMTG58.3 and Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher relieved Halsey, despite his scheduled leave, because experienced TG commanders were scarce. Sherman supported the Iwo Jima landings, during which operation TF58 also struck Tokyo. That was the first carrier strike against Tokyo since the Doolittle Raider attacks exactly two years, ten months, and two days earlier. Another visit to Tokyo took place in March, along with strikes on airfields on Kyushu, and support of the operations against Okinawa and the support of the landings there.

On 14 June 1945, Sherman was informed that he was to get thirty days leave, a well-deserved promotion to vice admiral, and command of the 1st Fast Carrier Task Force. He became a Vice Admiral on 13 July 1945, and was present at the Surrender of Japan on the USS Missouri on 2 September. Because his leave ended after the war was over, Sherman was denied a wartime fleet command.

The Post-War Period

In the post-war period, Sherman first assumed command of the 1st Fast Carrier Task Force then, on 18 January 1946, he became the Fifth Fleet's third commander. But his qualities were not needed in the peacetime Navy, and Sherman struck his flag on the light cruiser USS Vicksburg (CL-86), on 3 September 1946. He retired from active duty on 1 March 1947.

An Act of Congress on 4 March 1925, allowed naval officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, allowed these promotions to three- and four-star grades. Vice Admiral Sherman met that requirement and was retired as a four-star Admiral.

Medals and Awards

In addition to 3 Navy Crosses, Admiral Sherman was awarded several other medals and awards including: Distinguished Service Medal (3); Presidential Unit Citation with 2 Bronze Stars; Legion of Merit with Combat V; and Honorable Appointment as Commander Military Division, Order of the British Empire.

In Retirement

Resolute in war [his motto: "Kill the bastards scientifically."], he was industrious in peace. For two years he was a feature writer on naval topics for the Chicago Tribune; he lectured; and he authored the book "Combat Command."

Active in political and civic activities, he was a member of the San Diego County Republican Central Committee; was a delegate to the 1948 Republican National Convention; a Director of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Balboa University; and Regional Coordinator, Civil Defense, Region 10, California.

He was a member of All Souls' Episcopal Church, and a 32nd Degree Mason.

Death and Burial

Admiral Frederick Carl Sherman died on 27 July 1957, at San Diego Naval Hospital. He is interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

He was survived by his wife of 41 years, Fanny Jessop Sherman; by one son, John Jessop Sherman; and by 3 grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 3371   Created by: MHOH




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