The Naval Institute recently released the oral history of the late Admiral Noel A. M. Gayler (1914-2011), one of the U.S. Navy’s first aces of World War II, who later served as Commander-in-Chief Pacific at the end of the Vietnam War. He retired from the Navy in 1976.
In the mid-1980s Admiral Gayler sat for a series of interviews with historian Paul Stillwell of the Naval Institute. In the following excerpt, Gayler recalls his activities around the time of the Japanese surrender in September 1945.
I was the air operations officer on Vice Admiral John S. “Slew” McCain’s Second Carrier Task Force staff in August 1945 when I was detailed to Rear Admiral Oscar C. Badger II’s task group in advance of the surrender ceremony. There were concerns that the Japanese surrender might not be genuine—or at least that there might be fanatical resistance groups. So it was decided to mount an enormous air demonstration that day. The plan was to launch 1,200 airplanes flying at 500 feet—and just keep it going. My job was to stand by with a mike in my hand, and if there was a problem, I would call in the air strikes. As everybody now knows, we went in without incident.