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Naval Historical Center #84381
Thomas Kinkaid was born in New Hampshire and graduated from Annapolis in 1908. He sailed with the Great White Fleet aboard battleship Nebraska and continued to serve on battleships during most of his early career. An expert on ordnance, he graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1913 and served as gunnery officer on Arizona during the First World War. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1930, commanded cruiser Indianapolis in 1937-1938, and served as naval attaché in Rome and Belgrade. He was in command of a destroyer squadron at the end of 1941.
Kinkaid was promoted to rear
and was present as prospective commanding officer with Fletcher's task force in the
abortive Wake expedition. He was one
of the few officers who defended Pye's decision to recall the
expedition (Tuohy 2007):
I am extremely glad that Pye and Fletcher made what I consider to be sound decisions in those very difficult circumstances.... By their decisions they prevented the useless sacrifice of valuable ships which later was action with our enemy in circumstances of vital importance.
Kinkaid then took over Fletcher's cruiser
division. When Nimitz
took over Pacific
Fleet, he assigned a second junior admiral to each of his carrier
task forces to command its screen and lead any surface attack group
that might be detached from the task force. Kinkaid was initially
assigned to screen Leary's task force built around
was present at the battles of
Coral Sea, where he commanded the
screen of the Lexington task force, and at
and Midway, where he commanded Spruance's screen. He
Spruance's decision to turn east after nightfall.
Later that year, Kinkaid received command of Task Force 16 (Enterprise) in Halsey's absence, and he
was present at the battle of the Eastern
Solomons and in command at Santa Cruz.
Following the Santa Cruz battle, he recommended that carriers should
operate in pairs, a view that came to be widely shared. However, his
decision to operate his aircraft
out of Henderson Field to
avoid attack on the Enterprise
was privately condemned by Halsey. Though he sugarcoated Kinkaid's
subsequent relief sufficiently to preserve Kinkaid's career and
reputation, the incident seems to have created bad blood between the
two, which surfaced after the Battle
of Leyte Gulf.
Kinkaid was given
command of North
Pacific Area on 4 January 1943 and
recapture of Attu
He won the respect of Buckner
by moving his area headquarters to Adak,
but clashed with Rockwell,
who was senior and seemed to think he should be in command of joint
landing forces. The problem was resolved by promoting Kinkaid to vice
admiral in June 1943.
Kinkaid was moved to the Southwest Pacific in November 1943 to assume command of 7 Fleet, “MacArthur’s Navy”, where he served with distinction for the remainder of the war. Kinkaid has the distinction of having commanded more amphibious operations than any other commander in history.
Promoted to full admiral in April 1945, Kinkaid directed the landing of occupation forces in China and Korea. Postwar he commanded the Eastern Sea Frontier and the Atlantic Reserve Fleet before retiring in 1950.
A capable proponent of interservice cooperation
and an excellent delegator, Kinkaid was also a genial man blessed with
common sense and self-confidence. Though a ferocious chain smoker, he
was cool under fire.
There isn't time to emote. There isn't time. A commanding officer may be scared — in fact, if he has any sense he's scared — but he can't show it, with all the men around.
In a postwar publication, Halsey tried to blame
Kinkaid for the debacle off Samar
during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Kinkaid kept a dignified public silence but privately was deeply hurt.
Most senior naval officers sided with Kinkaid.
||Born in Hanover, New Hampshire
||Graduates from Naval Academy,
standing 136th in a class of 201.
||Naval Postgraduate School
||Bureau of Ordnance
||Vice chief of staff, U.S. Naval
||Commander, DD Isherwood
||Naval Gun Factory
||Fleet Gunnery Officer, U.S. Fleet
||Naval War College
||Secretary, General Board
||Technical advisor at Geneva Disarmament
||Executive officer, Colorado
||Officers' Detail Section, Bureau
||Naval attache, Italy and Yugoslavia
||Commander, Destroyer Squadron 8
||Rear admiral||Commander, Cruiser Division 6
||Commander, 7 Fleet
||Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier
and Reserve Fleet, Atlantic
||Recalled to duty with National
Security Training Commission
||Dies at Washington, D.C.
Dupuy et al. (1992)
Historical Center (accessed 2007-5-7)
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