Fitch, Aubrey W.

Aircraft carrier commander, led air units in South Pacific, Deputy CNO (Air) 1944-45

Price: $50.00

Description:
(1883-1978) US Navy ADM, held important aviation-related commands from the 1920s and was Superintendent of the US Naval Academy 1945-47. USNA 1906, he served in WW I and reported for aviation instruction in Pensacola June 1929, becoming a naval aviator Feb. 4, 1930. He was CO of the Navy's 1st aircraft carrier, USS Langley, 1931-32. After commanding the Hampton Roads Naval air Station to June 1935, he was chief of staff to Commander, Aircraft, Battle Force, assuming command of USS Lexington April 1936. After attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island June 1937-May 1938, Fitch took command of NAS Pensacola June 1938. In spring 1940, he led Patrol Wing 2, based at Pearl Harbor and 7 months later, broke his flag in USS Saratoga as Commander, Carrier Division 1. In Dec. 1941, he was one of the most experienced carrier commanders. His flagship, Saratoga, was prominent in the attempt to reinforce Wake Island Dec. 1941 and was torpedoed late Jan. 1942. RADM Fitch relieved VADM Wilson Brown April 3, 1942, breaking his flag in USS Lexington. During the Battle of the Coral Sea, he was Commander of Task Force 17.5, consisting of "Lady Lex" and Yorktown, and was named Officer in Tactical Command by Task Force commander ADM Frank J. Fletcher. That battle, the first where neither side came within gun range of the other, stopped the Japanese thrust at Port Moresby, but Lexington was the 1st US aircraft carrier sunk in the war, May 8, 1942. He shifted his flag to USS Minneapolis, also flagship of Task Force 17. For the Battle of the Coral Sea, he was awarded his 1st Distinguished Service Medal. He again broke his flag in his former flagship, Saratoga, but the task group was too late for the Battle of Midway. On Sept. 20, 1942, 6 weeks after the 1st US amphibious operation at Guadalcanal, Fitch assumed command of Aircraft, South Pacific Force. He flew numerous hazardous flights into combat zones, and received a Distinguished Flying Cross. Under his command, AirSoPac, ultimately with Navy, Army, Marine and Royal New Zealand air units, greatly succeeded in protecting Allied shipping, and providing air cover in the Solomons. His aircraft performed essential reconnaissance missions before the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands Oct. 1942 and at Guadalcanal. Later, he oversaw early night bombing experiments using radar and encouraged using specially modified aircraft to obtain photographic intelligence. For his efforts in that area he received a gold star in lieu of a 2nd Distinguished Service Medal. In summer 1944 he became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air). VADM Fitch was Superintendent of the Naval Academy Aug. 16, 1945-Jan. 15, 1947, 1st airman to head the Academy, and instrumental in creating the Department of Aeronautics, authorized Nov. 28, 1945. 2 x 3 1/2 card signed as VADM US Navy and Superintendent of the US Naval Academy, (Annapolis), October 23 1945. With mounted (unsigned) news photo of Fitch and then Capt. Charles E. Rosendahl inspecting damage to USS Minneapolis.

Condition: Very good
Type:Signed Card






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