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First Name: Forrest

Last Name: Sherman

Birthplace: Merrimack, NH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Percival

Date of Birth: 30 October 1896

Date of Death: 22 July 1951

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1917 - 1951
Forrest Percival Sherman

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1918

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


Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman

U.S. Navy

Forrest Percival Sherman was born on 30 October 1896, in Merrimack, NH, the son of Frank James and Grace Allen Sherman.  He graduated from Melrose High School, Melrose, MA and was attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1914 when he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), as a member of the Class of 1918. However, due to America's entry into World War I, the 199 members of the Class of 1918 actually graduated, and were commissioned as Ensigns, on 28 June 1917. Sherman graduated second in his class and, while a Midshipmen, was awarded the Class of 1871 Prize (Navy Dress Sword and Knot) as a member of the graduating class most proficient in Practical and Theoretical Ordnance and Gunnery. 

During World War I, he served on the gunboat USS Nashville (PG-7) in the Mediterranean; he later served on the destroyer USS Murray (DD-97), which was based in Brest, France. In August 1919, he joined the battleship, USS Utah (BB-31), and a year later he was assigned to the destroyer USS Reid (DD-292), Flagship of Commander Destroyer Squadron One, Atlantic Fleet.  He then served as Flag Lieutenant attached to the battleship USS Florida, Flagship of Commander Control Force, Atlantic Fleet.

In June 1922, Sherman reported to the Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, FL, for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator on 22 December 1922. He joined Fighting Squadron Two, Aircraft Squadrons Battle Fleet, in April 1923.  In 1924, he returned to NAS Pensacola to serve as an instructor until June 1926. During the following year, he attended the Naval War College.  He reported to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) in June 1927 and served on that carrier from her commissioning on 14 December, until December 1928.  He then joined Scouting Squadron Two, based on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), and was placed in command of that squadron in April 1929.  In May he was assigned duty as Flag Secretary on the staff of Commander Aircraft Squadrons, Battle fleet, USS Saratoga, and remained in that assignment until June 1930.

Sherman was an Instructor in the Department of Seamanship and Flight tactics at the USNA during the school year 1930-31 and, during that year, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.  In May 1931, he rejoined Saratoga with duty on the Staff of Commander Aircraft, Battle Fleet, U.S. Fleet.  In June 1932, he assumed command of Fighting Squadron One, based on the Saratoga. The squadron won the Aircraft Gunnery Trophy in 1932-33, and he was commended by the Secretary of the Navy for the high efficiency of his squadron. He personally won the Navy "F" in both dive-bombing and fixed guns.

He reported for duty, in June 1933, to the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he was in charge of the Aviation Ordnance Section until June 1936.  After serving as Navigator of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4), he was promoted to Commander and assigned to duty as Fleet Aviation Officer on the Staff of Commander, Battle Force. From January 1938 to February 1940, he was on the Staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet. During his tour of duty in the War Plans Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, he was a member of the Permanent Joint Board of Defense, Canada-United States, and also served as Naval Aviation Advisor at the Atlantic Conference in August 1941. That duty ended in February 1942, and the following three months was spent at Headquarters, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, as a member of the Joint Strategic Committee. After being promoted to Captain in May 1942, he assumed command of the USS Wasp (CV-7) and took her through the first month of the Solomon Islands Campaign. Sherman was in command of the carrier on 15 September 1942, when, in the area of the Solomon Islands, she was sunk by three out of the six torpedoes fired at her from a Japanese submarine.

Following the sinking of Wasp, Sherman was awarded the Navy Cross "For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS Wasp and Flag Captain to the Commander of a Task Force during the occupation of Tulagi-Guadacanal and subsequent operations."

He then became Chief of Staff to Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet and, for his service, was awarded the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct from 14 October 1942, to 24 November 1943 …" 

In November 1943, Rear Admiral Sherman was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. He held that position for the remainder of World War II, playing a critical role in planning the offensives that brought victory in the Pacific. He represented the Navy in the initial conferences with the Japanese at Manila in August 1945 and he was present aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the formal surrender of the Japanese was signed on 2 September 1945. 

In October 1945 he was ordered to duty as Commander, Carrier Division One, and in December 1945, he became Deputy Chief Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he was responsible for plans, fleet operation and training, intelligence and joint activities.

In January 1948, Sherman was named Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Mediterranean. That title was changed to Commander Sixth Task Fleet, on 1 June 1948, and he served in that assignment until November 1949. He assumed the duties of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), with the rank of Admiral, on 2 November 1949.  At the time, at age 53, he was the youngest man to ever hold that post. (That record held until 1 July 1970, when Admiral Elmo Zumwalt became CNO at the age of 49.)

During the next sixteen months, Sherman helped the Navy recover from a period of intense political controversy (such as the so-called 'Revolt of the Admirals') and oversaw its responses to the twin challenges of a brutal war in Korea and an intensifying 'cold war' elsewhere in the world.

Death and Burial

On 22 July 1951, following a sudden series of heart attacks, Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman died in Naples, Italy, while on a military and diplomatic trip to Europe. He was 55 years old.

His body was returned to the United States and buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 27 July 1951. Under Department of Defense policies and plans published in 1949, Admiral Sherman was given a Special Military Funeral by virtue of his position as Chief of Naval Operations.

Medals, Awards & Badges

Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart
World War I Victory Medal with Patrol Clasp
American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Meda
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
Naval Aviator Badge


Two destroyers have been named USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931 & DDG-98)
Sherman Island, Antarctica was named for him
Forrest Sherman Field, NAS Pensacola - home of the Blue Angels
Forrest Sherman Field, Hospital Point, US Naval Academy.
The US Department of Defense School in Naples, Italy was formerly called Forrest Sherman High School.

"He was able. He was a patriotic American. He was a fine gentleman. The country's loss is great, and so is mine." President Harry S. Truman, speaking of Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman, quoted in "Death in Naples" in TIME magazine, 30 July 1951.

Honoree ID: 47   Created by: MHOH




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