Fletcher Grades Spruance
Captain Howard C. Cohen, JAGC, USNR (Ret.)
In “Grading Midway’s Commanders” (June, pp. 14–19), Jonathan Parshall undertook an assessment of the leadership of the six most important admirals overseeing and undertaking the Battle of Midway. Among those, of course, were Rear Admirals Frank Jack Fletcher (overall U.S. commander and in Task Force 17) and his subordinate, Rear Admiral Spruance, in Task Force 16.
But how did Fletcher grade Spruance in the after-action fitness report? The report, among other memorabilia, adorns a wall of the office of the President of the Naval War College. In the FITREP, Fletcher gave Spruance the highest grades in judgment, initiative, moral courage, cooperation, loyalty, perseverance, reactions in emergencies, and industry. But the reporting senior gave only the second highest grades (though still very high indeed) in intelligence, force, leadership, endurance, and military bearing (and neatness of person and dress).