Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Mitscher, Marc Andrew

MITSCHER, MARC ANDREW (1887–1947).

During World War II Marc Andrew Mitscher served as vice-admiral of the United States Navy and commander of the famed Task Force Fifty-Eight. Born in Hillsboro, Wisconsin, on January 26, 1887, Marc A. "Pete" Mitscher grew up an Oklahoman. After Oklahoma Territory opened for settlement, Mitscher's father, O. A. Mitscher, moved the family to Oklahoma City, and he was elected mayor in 1891. In 1900 Pres. William McKinley appointed the elder Mitscher as Osage Indian agent at Pawhuska. Unimpressed with the local schools, his father sent young Mitscher to Washington, D.C., for his education. In 1904 U.S. Rep. Bird S. McGuire appointed him to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

An indifferent student, Mitscher seemed to be in continuous trouble, earning 159 demerits in one class year. In 1906 he resigned, but his father immediately coaxed McGuire to reappoint him. After six years, in 1910 he graduated 113th out of 131 classmates. At Annapolis he developed a passion for aviation. He served in the fleet until 1915 when he found an opportunity for aviation training aboard the USS North Carolina. In 1919 he received his first Navy Cross for his participation in the first trans-Atlantic flight by Navy Curtiss seaplanes. Three of the Curtisses made the attempt, and only one landed safely; unfortunately, Mitscher had to be rescued from the sea.

Mitscher's investment in aeronautics and the navy carried him through various assignments, including teaching flyers in San Diego, duties with the Bureau of Aeronautics, and stints on early aircraft carriers. In 1938 the navy promoted him to captain, and three years later he assumed command of the carrier USS Hornet. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, his carrier hosted Col. Jimmy Doolittle's sixteen B-25 bombers that raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities. On May 30, 1942, Mitscher achieved rear admiral status and by June was battle tested at Midway. After active campaigning in the Pacific theater of operations, he took command of Task Force Fifty, renamed Task Force Fifty-Eight in January 1944. He was involved in most major battles in the Pacific, including the Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, the Marianas Islands "Turkey Shoot," and the assaults on Iwo Jima, Okinawa (where his forces were in action for a remarkable ninety-two straight days), and the Japanese home islands.

In 1945 Mitscher took the office of deputy chief of naval operations for air and in 1946 became commander of the Eighth Fleet. The navy then assigned Admiral Mitscher to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The navy had awarded Marc A. Mitscher three Navy Crosses by the time he died of a heart attack on February 3, 1947. His wife, Frances, survived him.

Larry O'Dell

See also: JOSEPH JAMES CLARK, JOHN ELSON KIRKPATRICK, WORLD WAR II

Bibliography

Paolo Coletta, Admiral Marc A. Mitscher and U. S. Naval Aviation: Bald Eagle (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997).

Paolo Coletta, "From Ponies to Planes: Marc Andrew 'Oklahoma Pete' Mitscher," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 74 (Spring 1996).

"Marc Mitscher," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, "Mitscher, Marc Andrew," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed December 11, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia