Sherman, Forrest Percival [Adm CNO]

biography    biography

[Adm. CNO USN]

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Admiral Forrest Sherman
Born October 30, 1896(1896-10-30)
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Died July 22, 1951(1951-07-22) (aged 54)
Naples, Italy
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy

Years of service 1917-1951
Rank Admiral

Commands held USS Barry (DD-248)
Scouting Squadron 2
Fighting Squadron 1
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Awards Navy Cross

Forrest Percival Sherman (30 October 1896 22 July 1951) was an admiral in the United States Navy and the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations until Admiral Elmo Zumwalt became Chief of Naval Operations in 1970.


Born in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Sherman was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1918, graduating in June, 1917 due to America's entry into World War I. During and shortly after World War I, he served in European waters as an officer of the gunboat Nashville (PG-7) and destroyer Murray (DD-97). In 191921, Sherman was assigned to the battleship Utah (BB-31) and destroyers Reid (DD-292) and Barry (DD-248), serving as Commanding Officer of the latter.

Following duty as Flag Lieutenant to Commander Control Force, Atlantic Fleet, he received flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida. Designated a Naval Aviator in December 1922, Lieutenant Sherman was assigned to Fighting Squadron 2 (VF 2) until 1924, when he returned to Pensacola as an instructor. Study at the Naval War College was followed in 1927 by service in the aircraft carriers Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3). While in the latter ship, he commanded Scouting Squadron 2 and was Flag Secretary to Commander Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet.

Promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant Commander in 1930 and Commander in 1937, during that decade Sherman served at the Naval Academy, commanded Fighting Squadron 1, had charge of the Aviation Ordnance Section of the Bureau of Ordnance, was Navigator of the aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-4), and had duty on a number of flag staffs. In 194142, he served with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and was a member of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States.

Captain Forrest Sherman worked closely with then US Army Major Albert C. Wedemeyer author of the "Victory Plan of 1941", "the blueprint...for the mobilization of the United States Army for World War 2". Wedemeyer, while working in the War Plans Department, was commissioned to write the "Victory Plan by General George C. Marshall.

"The Victory Plan predicted the future organization for an army that did not yet exist, outlined combat missions for a war not yet declared, and computed war production requirements for industries that were still committed to peacetime manufacture." Captain Forrest Sherman's personal relationship with Major Albert Wedemeyer "ensured a community of planning effort between the two services and pointed to a future in which the services would acknowledge that mobilization planning was a joint responsibility that one service alone could not conduct adequately." (From "Writing the Victory Plan of 1941" by Charles E. Kirkpatrick)

In May 1942, after reaching the rank of Captain, Sherman took command of the carrier Wasp (CV-7), taking her through the first month of the Solomon Islands campaign.


After Wasp was sunk by a Japanese submarine on 15 September 1942, he was awarded the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism in command of the carrier during the opening days of the South Pacific operations. Sherman then became Chief of Staff to Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet. In November 1943 Rear Admiral Sherman was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. He held that position for the remainder of World War II, playing a critical role in planning the offensives that brought victory in the Pacific, and was present when Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945. Following a short tour as a carrier division commander, in December 1945 Vice Admiral Sherman became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.

Sherman's next assignment, beginning in January 1948, was to command the Navy's operating forces in the Mediterranean Sea. He was recalled to Washington, D.C., at the end of October 1949 to become Chief of Naval Operations, with the rank of Admiral. During the next sixteen months, he helped the Navy recover from a period of intense political controversy (as in the so-called "Revolt of the Admirals"), and oversaw its responses to the twin challenges of a hot war in Korea and an intensifying cold war elsewhere in the world.

On 22 July 1951, while on a military and diplomatic trip to Europe, Admiral Forrest Sherman died in Naples, Italy, following a sudden series of heart attacks.


Two destroyers have been named USS Forrest Sherman in his honor, as was Sherman Island, Antarctica, Forrest Sherman Field, NAS Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels, and Forrest Sherman Field, Hospital Point, US Naval Academy. The US Department of Defense school in Naples, Italy was formerly called Forrest Sherman High School.

Personal medals and decorations

In addition to the Navy Cross, Admiral Sherman was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Purple Heart (award for wounds received aboard the USS WASP), Admiral Sherman was awarded the Victory Medal, Patrol Clasp: the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.[1]


Collins, MacArthur and Sherman

The quotes from the "Victory Plan of 1941" and Captain Forrest Sherman are from "Writing the Victory Plan of 1941" by Charles E. Kirkpatrick.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Some material is from the official site of USS Forrest Sherman, produced by the Navy and therefore in the public domain.
External links




Admiral Sherman, Martin, and Rear Admiral George R. Henderson (right), Commander Carrier Division Five, on board USS Princeton, off the Korean coast.


 June 26, 1950 0915


1915 Washington Time

Secretary of State Acheson was waiting for me at the airport as was Secretary of Defense Johnson. We hurried to Blair House where we were joined by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace. & Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews; Secretary of the Air Force Thomas Finletter General of the Army Omar N. Bradley; the Army Chief General Collins; the Air Force Chief General Vandenberg; and Admiral Forrest Sherman Chief of Naval Operations.

Dean Acheson was accompanied by Undersecretaries Webb and Rusk and Assistant Secretary John Hickerson and Ambassador- at-Large Philip Jessup. It was late and we went at once to the dining room for dinner. I asked that no discussion take place until dinner was ended and over and the Blair House staff had withdrawn.

Earlier that Sunday evening. Acheson reported, the Security Council of the United Nations had, by a vote of nine to nothing, approved a resolution declaring that a breach of the peace had been committed by the North Korean action and ordering the North Koreans to cease action and withdraw their forces.

I then called on Acheson to present the recommendations which the State and Defense Departments had prepared. He presented the following recommendations for immediate action:

 1) That MacArthur should evacuate the Americans from Korea --including the dependents of the military mission and, in order to do so, should keep open the Kimp'o and other airports, repelling all hostile attacks thereon. In doing this, his air forces should stay south of the 38th Parallel.

2) MacArthur should be instructed to get ammunition and supplies to the Korean army by airdrop and otherwise.

3) That the Seventh Fleet should be ordered into the Formosa Strait to prevent the conflict from spreading to that area.  We should make a statement that the fleet would repel any attack on Formosa and that no attacks should be made from Formosa on the mainland.

At this point I interrupted to say that the Seventh Fleet should be ordered north at once, but that I wanted to withhold making any statement until the fleet was in position. After this report I asked each person in turn to state his agreement or disagreement and any views he might have in addition.

Two things stand out in this discussion.

One was the complete, almost unspoken acceptance on the part of everyone that whatever had to be done to meet this aggression had to be done. There was no suggestion from anyone that either the United Nations or the United States could back away from it.

The other point which stands out was the difference in view of what might be called for Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins said that if the Korean army was really broken, ground forces would be necessary.

I expressed the opinion that the Russians were trying to get Korea by default gambling that we would be afraid of starting a third world war and would offer no resistance. I thought that we were still holding the stronger hand, although how much stronger it was hard to tell.


At 1915 hours that [Saturday] night [1915+1400=3315-2400=0915] the President landed at Washington and drove directly to his temporary residence at Blair House. Here were assembled the key officers of the Departments of State and Defense, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Omar Bradley (chairman), General J. Lawton Collins (Army), Admiral Forrest P Sherman (Navy), and General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (Air Force). Most of the talk over the dinner table reflected a hope that the South Koreans could hold with the help of American arms and equipment which General MacArthur was sending them. The main theme of conversation, however, was that the Communists appeared to be repeating patterns of aggression similar to those acts which had set off World War II.
After dinner President Truman opened the conference with the statement that he did not wish to make decisions that night, except such as were immediately necessary. Secretary Acheson then presented three recommendations which had been prepared by the State and Defense Departments:

1) that MacArthur would send arms and ammunition to Korea,

2) that MacArthur would furnish ships and planes to assist and protect the evacuation of American dependents from Korea, and

3) that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would be ordered northward from the Philippines to report to MacArthur.

 Truman asked for comments, and the discussion worked around to what the United States might have to do to save South Korea. Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins stated that if the ROK Army was really broken, American ground forces would be needed. At the end of the meeting President Truman directed that orders be issued implementing the three recommendations made by the State and Defense Departments.#74    

June 26, 1950 12:30 PM

6/25/50  10:30 PM Washington 6/26/50 12:30 PM

[About noon, Monday, in Korea,] Truman returned to Washington that Sunday evening, June 25. En route he summoned his chief Pentagon and State advisers to a meeting that night at Blair House, the president's temporary home and office during the renovation of the White House. Thirteen senior officials gathered at Blair House for a fried chicken dinner and urgent talks. Of the thirteen, the majority - eight - were from the Pentagon. These included Louis Johnson and Omar Bradley, returned from the aircraft carrier demonstration in Norfolk, the three service secretaries - Frank Matthews, Frank Pace, and Tom Finletter - and the three military chiefs - Collins, Vandenberg, and Sherman.[3-17]

Confident that the ROK Army would push back the NKPA, the Pentagon contingent had a larger Far East worry that night: Formosa. Recently the Chinese Communists had taken Hainan Island and had amassed 200,000 troops on the mainland opposite Formosa. The Pentagon advisers believed that the NKPA invasion in Korea might possibly be a feint to divert attention and resources from a Chinese Communist invasion of Formosa. Johnson and Bradley, armed with a long and eloquent study paper from MacArthur urging American support for Formosa, took advantage of the crisis atmosphere to push for a reversal of the Truman-Acheson hands-off Formosa policy. On Johnson's instructions, the ailing Bradley read the entire MacArthur paper, and Johnson recommended (as the JCS had the previous December) that an American survey team be authorized to go to Formosa to find out what was required to maintain the security of the island.[3-18]