Admiral James L. Holloway III, who slipped his cable on 26 November 2019, stands as one of the towering U.S. Navy leaders of the late 20th century. As an officer on board the destroyer USS Bennion (DD-262), he earned a combat decoration during the decisive World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf. He flew hundreds of combat missions as a naval aviator in Korea, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross. James Holloway also led naval forces into battle during the Vietnam War’s Rolling Thunder campaign as the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65). He once again entered the fray as Commander, Seventh Fleet, in the final, pivotal operations of the conflict. Through precision mining and bombing operations, the naval forces in his charge helped compel North Vietnamese leaders to accept a negotiated settlement of the war.1
1. “20th Chief of Naval Operations Leaves Behind a Legacy of Service,” 27 November 2019, Naval History and Heritage Command; Admiral James L. Holloway III, obituary, Washington Post, 1 December 2019, C8. Admiral Holloway’s Navy career is discussed at greater length in this author’s forthcoming work, Admirals under Fire: The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War.
2. ADM James L. Holloway III, USN (Ret.), Aircraft Carriers at War: A Personal Retrospective of Korea, Vietnam, and the Soviet Confrontation (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007), 250–56, 263, 264; Holloway interview with Marolda, 22, 42.
3. Holloway interview with Marolda; Edgar F. Puryear Jr., American Admiralship: The Moral Imperatives of Naval Command (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2005) 396–99; Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen, Rickover: Controversy and Genius (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982), 346–47.
4. Memo, CNO 09 “Eyes Only,” 7 December 1973, Zumwalt Coll., acc. no. 6210709001, Texas Tech Vietnam Archive.
5. Memorandum to the Secretary of the Navy, “personal and private,” Goals for the Next CNO (December 1973), Zumwalt Coll., acc. no. 6210709005, Texas Tech Vietnam Archive.
6. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting, White House, 19 August 1976, Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Staff for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Convenience Files, box 27, WSAG Meeting, Korean Incident, 4, 10. See also Richard A. Mobley, “Revisiting the Korean Tree-Cutting Incident,” Joint Force Quarterly 35 (Summer 2003): 112.
7. Christopher J. Lamb, The Mayaguez Crisis, Mission Command, and Civil-Military Relations (Washington, DC: JCS History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2018); Malcolm Muir Jr., End of the Saga: The Maritime Evacuation of South Vietnam and Cambodia (Washington, DC: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2017).
8. Polmar and Allen, Rickover: Controversy and Genius, 481.
9. John Lehman, On Seas of Glory: Heroic Men, Great Ships, and Epic Battles of the American Navy (New York: The Free Press, 2001), 346, 348.
10. Holloway interview with Marolda, 33. See also Edgar F. Puryear, American Admiralship (Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press, 2008), 136–38; memo, Brent Scowcroft to President, “Kissinger Report re SALT,” 21 January 1976, Ford Library; memo, Scowcroft to the President, “Talking Points for Today’s NSC Meeting on SALT,” 21 January 1976, Ford Library; Minutes of National Security Council Meeting, 21 January 1976, Ford Library.
11. Holloway interview with Marolda, 33; Puryear, American Admiralship, 136–38; memo, Brent Scowcroft to President, “Kissinger Report re SALT”; Scowcroft to the President, “Talking Points for Today’s NSC Meeting on SALT”; Minutes of National Security Council Meeting; Holloway, Aircraft Carriers at War, 412-13.
12. Holloway, Aircraft Carriers at War, 383–85; Puryear, American Admiralship, 141–43.
13. Edward J. Marolda, Ready Seapower: A History of the U.S. Seventh Fleet (Washington, DC: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2012), 91. See also Holloway interview with David Winkler, 21 May 1997, Naval Historical Foundation, 9–10.
14. John Lehman, Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at Sea (New York: W. W. Norton, 2018), 48.
15. Holloway, Aircraft Carriers at War, 391.
16. Holloway, Aircraft Carriers at War, 392–93; John B. Hattendorf, U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1970s (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 2012).
17. Holloway, Aircraft Carriers at War, 390. See also Hattendorf, U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1970s, xvi-xvii; Peter Swartz, U.S. Navy Capstone Strategies and Concepts (1970–1980): Strategy, Policy, Concept, and Vision Documents (Alexandria, VA: Center for Naval Analyses, 2011)