First U.S. Carrier Offensive 01 February 1942

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Not content to wait for the next Japanese attack, Admiral Chester Nimitz sent two of his warrior admirals out to hit back less than two months after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Task Force 8 under Vice Admiral “Bull” Halsey onboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) and Task Force 17 led by Rear Admiral “Black Jack” Fletcher onboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5) bombed and bombarded enemy installations on the islands of Jaluit, Kwajalein, Makin, Wotje,   and Mili. Two TBD (Torpedo Bomber Douglas) Devastators ditched in the lagoon at Jaluit (Click on their numbers for the rest of their stories, TBD 1515 and TBD 0298). Japanese A5M4 Claudes from Taroa clashed with American carrier planes over the Marshalls. Though outnumbered, lightly armed, and completely unprotected the Mitsubishi fighters managed to shoot down three SBD dive bombers, damage a couple Wildcats, and dive bomb a cruiser. Thanks to their excellent maneuverability only two Type 96 fighters were lost and their pilots survived.

The Pacific was no longer a one-armed fight, as the United States Navy pressed its first offensive into Japanese controlled waters. The war was on…

Vice Admiral "Bull" Halsey

Notice Admiral Fletcher's top ribbon...yes, it is the Medal of Honor.

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