Join the U.S. Naval Institute on 1 December 2022 at 1500 EST at the Jack C. Taylor Conference Center, in Annapolis, MD. The topic of the discussion will be World War II at Sea.  

The Pacific Theater in World War II was the largest in the war—indeed, in any war. Managing it was an unprecedented task that fell to a generation of naval leaders including Chester Nimitz, Raymond Spruance, William Halsey, and Willis Lee, among others. This panel will discuss and assess their separate and collective roles in the war including their strengths and weaknesses.

We welcome our audience in-person and via live-stream on the U.S. Naval Institute’s YouTube Channel.

Registration is required.    

Moderator: Craig Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy where he taught for thirty years and served as Department Chair. From 2017 to 2020 he was the Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of seventeen books, and winner of the Lincoln Prize, the Roosevelt Prize, the Morison Prize, the Barondess Prize and the Dudley Knox Medal for Lifetime Achievement. His most recent book is Nimitz at War, published in 2022.


Thomas J. Cutler has been serving the U.S. Navy in various capacities for more than fifty years, including an in-country combat tour in Viet Nam and sea duty in cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers, and patrol craft. A former faculty member in both the Seamanship & Navigation and History Departments at the U.S. Naval Academy, he currently holds the U.S. Naval Institute’s Gordon England Chair of Professional Naval Literature and is a Fleet Professor of Strategy and Policy with the Naval War College (since 1992). He is the author of many articles and books, including A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy; The Battle of Leyte Gulf; Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam; and The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75: A Retrospective

Trent Hone is an authority on the U.S. Navy of the early twentieth century and a leader in the application of complexity science to organizational design. He studied religion and archaeology at Carleton College in Northfield, MN and works as a consultant helping organizations learn and innovate more rapidly. Mr. Hone regularly writes and speaks about leadership, organizational learning, and naval history.  His most recent book is Mastering the Art of Command: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific and Victory in the Pacific (Naval Institute 2022). 

Paul Stillwell is an independent historian and retired naval officer. He worked for thirty years at the U.S. Naval Institute as an oral historian and editor of Naval History magazine. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including four on battleships and an award-winning volume on the Navy's first African American officers, The Golden Thirteen. His most recent book is Battleship Commander: The Life of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee Jr., and has received the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award and the John Lyman Book Award.



Craig Symonds


Thomas J. Cutler


Trent Hone


Paul Stillwell

This event will take place at the U.S. Naval Institute's Jack C. Taylor Conference Center, which is located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy. All guests must register in advance and must have a valid government-issued ID. Directions and parking information will be shared with you closer to the event date. 


3:00 pm - 4:15 pm (EST)

Panel Discussion

Audience Q&A

4:15 pm

Panelists and moderator will be available to sign books upon the conclusion of this discussion. 

This event is made possible through general support to the U.S. Naval Institute.