Willis "Doc" Lee
When World War II began, most theorists believed that battleships would be the decisive factors in the naval war. But it would be the submarine and the aircraft carrier that would ultimately play the decisive roles in the Pacific war at sea. The U.S. Navy's battleships suffered an ignominious entry into the war at Pearl Harbor, where many of them were sunk at their moorings. As the war progressed, these magnificent giants were largely relegated to the roles of shore bombardment and escort duty, more often swatting at tiny aircraft with small-caliber weapons than using their powerful main batteries to do battle on the great waters. Throughout the war, only a few opportunities arose for these frustrated warriors to engage the enemy directly, to fire great broadsides of armor-piercing rounds at enemy fleets, to do the job they were intended to do.