Leary, Herbert Fairfax

Photograph of Admiral H. Fairfax Leary
National Archives #80-G-K-6551

Leary was Commander, Cruisers, Battle Force when war broke out. He was ashore at the Halekulani Hotel with several other senior officers at the moment of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was given command of the Saratoga force, then of ANZAC naval forces following the torpedoing of Saratoga.  He was hampered in the latter posting by the fact that he was junior to Brown, whom he was to command. He was relieved as MacArthur's naval commander by Arthur S. Carpender in September 1942 after running afoul of the general.

Leary was a classmate of Nimitz who had a reputation as a strict disciplinarian and who was disliked for his truculence and his grating voice.

Service record

Rear admiral     
Director, Training Division, Bureau of Navigation

Commander, Cruisers, Battle Force
Vice admiral     
Commander, ANZAC Naval Command

Commander, Southwest Pacific Force

Commander, Battleships, Pacific Fleet

Commander, 5 Naval District, Norfolk, Virginia

Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier


Lundstrom (2006)

Morison (1949)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-3-14)
Pettibone (2006)
Tuohy (2007)

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