A Navel Hero
Michael Burgan, History Author and playwright

Admiral William Halsey earned his nickname “Bull” with a colorful personality and aggressive attitude. His favorite slogan summed up his approach to waging war: “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.” During World War II, Halsey was one of America’s top admirals. His tactics helped stopped the advance of Japanese forces in the Pacific.

Halsey studied medicine before entering the Naval Academy in 1900. By 1909, he was commanding his own ship. He was a rear admiral and commander of the aircraft carrier Enterprise when World War II began. Bad weather kept Halsey from reaching Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, where he and his ship would have been an easy target for attacking Japanese planes. Halsey then led raids on Japanese positions in the central Pacific. In late 1942, at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Halsey’s forces repulsed a Japanese attack. After that key victory, America began taking the offensive in the Pacific, and Halsey was later named commander of the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet

Toward the end of the war, Halsey’s forces provided naval support during the invasion of the Philippines and at the Battle of Okinawa. In July 1945, ships and planes under Halsey’s command began to attack the Japanese mainland. Shortly after the war ended, Halsey was appointed fleet admiral. He retired in 1947.

Did you know...

In April 1942, William Halsey led the fleet that escorted Captain James Doolittle, his men, and their planes, for a daring raid on Tokyo.

Michael Burgan studied history at the University of Connecticut before embarking on his career of writing about history, current events, geography, science, and more for children. He worked at Weekly Reader for six years before becoming a freelance author. He is a member of Biographers International Organization and edits its monthly newsletter, The Biographer's Craft. A produced playwright, he is also a member of the Dramatists Guild.

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