Hoover, John Howard (1887-1970)

Photograph of John H. Hoover

National Archives #80-CF-8008-2

Johnny Hoover was a former submarine officer who had served as chair of the Submarine Officers Conference in 1926 before switching to naval aviation. He served as Halsey's chief of staff on Enterprise in the late 1930s, where he lorded over the ship's captain, Pownall, and even began issuing course corrections over the voice tube to the bridge. When the more assertive Murray took command of the ship, he quickly made it clear to Hoover whose ship it was.

Hoover was the vice admiral commanding the naval facilities at Puerto Rico when war broke out, where he soon found himself fighting U-boats in the Caribbean and watching the Vichy force at Martinique with a force of just two destroyers, two ancient submarine chasers, three ancient submarines, and a wing of Catalinas. He was experienced with airfield construction and operations, was given command of the land-based naval air force that supported the Central Pacific campaign, and was tasked to develop the new air bases on the captured islands.

Hoover presided over the Court of Inquiry that recommended Halsey face court-martial for sailing 3 Fleet into a typhoon in 1945. The recommendation was ignored by King and Roosevelt, who likely felt Halsey was too much of a popular hero to be subjected to public rebuke.

Hoover was known as "Genial John" behind his back because of his sour attitude. Towers, the senior aviator in the Navy, said of him (Tuohy 2007):

An enigma. Phsyically fit. A positive character. Not popular. Standoffish. Lack of close relationship between him and his staff....

A highly competent officer, with a reputation as an aggressive leader, Hoover received top ratings from the secret ad hoc selection board convened by Navy Secretary Knox in March 1942. However, neither Nimitz nor his air deputy, John Towers, warmed to Hoover, though Spruance came to think highly of him.

Service record


Born in Ohio
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 73rd in a class of 86
Chair, Submarine Officers Conference
Chief of staff, Aircraft, Base Force
Vice admiral     
Commander, Carribean Sea Frontier

Commander, Land-based Air, Central Pacific

Commander, Aircraft, Central Pacific

Commander, Central Pacific Forward Area

Dies at Bethesda Naval Hospital,  Maryland


Alden (1979)

Boatner (1996)

Frank (2011; accessed 2012-6-16)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-3-20)
Pettibone (2006)

Roscoe (1953)

Tillman (2012)
Tuohy (2007)

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