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Grouping of Rear Admiral Worrall Reed Carter


LYONSJ9

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Grouping of Rear Admiral Worrall Reed Carter:

 

Pioneering Submariner, Chief of Staff to Admiral Anderson, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Inventor of the Naval Service Squadron, and Leader of US Naval Logistics in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

 

Worrall Reed Carter (called “Nick” by those he was close too) was born to a Merchant Captain and his wife while at sea, quite fitting for a man who’s life would be shaped by the ocean.

 

After graduating from Bath High School in Maine, he earned an appointment to the US Naval Academy, where he would excel in all his studies and graduate with top marks in 1908. After serving aboard the battleship USS Minnesota, he would be promoted to Lieutenant and trained in submarine operation before serving aboard the USS Snapper under the command of future Fleet Admiral and lifelong friend Chester Nimitz before being placed in command of her after Nimitz’s assignment changed.

 

Carter would also command USS D-3 and USS L-11 before being promoted to Lieutenant Commander at the outbreak of the Great War. Ironically, after serving for many years as a submariner, his next assignment would be staff officer to the Commander of US Naval Forces Europe, where he would help lead the US Navy’s anti submarine efforts against German U-Boats.

 

At the conclusion of the Great War, Carter would serve aboard USS Nevada, USS Procyon, and USS Mississippi before being assigned to the US Naval Mission to Brazil in Rio de Janeiro to advise the Brazilian Navy on both anti submarine warfare and submarine operations.

 

After holding several commands and serving as the Commandant of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and the US Navy Submarine Base at Pearl Harbor, in January of 1941, now Captain Carter would receive an assignment that would change his life and result in him witnessing one of the most heinous acts of treachery in Military history.

 

On the morning of December 7th, 1941, Captain Worrall Reed Carter was serving as Aide to Admiral Anderson (Commander of Battleships Battle Force) aboard USS Maryland when the Japanese began their infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. As the bombs fell, another officer approached Carter in the ship’s flag bridge and asked what should be done. Carter replied “We can’t do much up here! Let’s go down to the guns and give them a hand!”. Then the officer and the 56 year old Carter made their way down to the ship’s anti aircraft guns and set to work. Carter, after organizing the random assortment of men into gun crews and breaking into the ship’s ammunition lockers immediately began loading and firing the anti aircraft guns (less than 15 minutes after the attack began) putting up an impressive barrage of gunfire that likely prevented the further damage and possible sinking of Maryland and the other ships nearby. Carter would be recognized and commended by Admiral Anderson for his quick thinking, leadership, and bravery in the attack, and would recommend him for an unspecified valor decoration, which was unfortunately turned down.

 

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Carter’s old friend Chester Nimitz (the new US Naval Commander of the Pacific) was trying to figure out how to launch an offensive naval war against Japan in the vastness of the Pacific, where the US had very few naval bases or ports in which they could refuel and resupply their fleet.

 

It would be Worrall Reed Carter that would provide him with the answer he was looking for. If the Navy had no ports to go to, why not bring the ports to the Navy? Carter’s idea was simple yet brilliant. Two service squadrons of tankers, repair ships, floating dry docks, and cargo vessels would rendezvous with the fleet at sea, resupply and refuel the fleet, and make any necessary repairs at sea, saving precious time and resources. Out of Carter’s suggestion, two service squadrons would be formed with Carter in command.

 

From the Marshall Islands to Okinawa, Admiral Carter’s well oiled machine of support vessels would prove itself critical in nearly every naval operation of the Pacific war, destroying Japan’s assumption and hope that the size of the Pacific would overstretch the US Navy, and halt America’s advance to the home islands of Japan.

 

At the end of the Second World War, Admiral Carter would receive a Distinguished Service Medal and several Legions of Merit for his incredible contribution to the American war effort. After retiring in 1947, he was briefly returned to active service before finally retiring permanently in 1949.

 

Carter would fill out his final years as a prolific author, writing multiple books on his experiences in the Second World War, and the Naval logistical machine that brought victory to the US Navy. After reaching the incredibly old age of 90, Admiral Carter would pass away in 1975 and be buried with full honors in Virginia Beach, VA.

 

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