Raymond Ames Spruance
United States Ambassador
- Class of 1906
- United States Ambassador to the Philippines 1952-1955
Raymond A. Spruance was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on 3 July 1886. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906 and received further education in electrical engineering a few years later. His seagoing career was extensive, including command of five destroyers and the battleship Mississippi. Spruance also held several engineering, intelligence, staff and Naval War College positions up to the 1940s. In 1940-41, he was in command of the Tenth Naval District and Caribbena Sea Frontier.
In the first months of World War II in the Pacific, Rear Admiral Spruance commanded a cruiser division. He led Task Force 16, with two aircraft carriers, during the Battle of Midway in early June. His decisions during that action were important to its outcome, which changed the course of the war with Japan. After the Midway battle, he became Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas and later was Deputy Commander in Chief. In mid-1943, he was given command of the Central Pacific Force, which became the Fifth Fleet in April 1944. While holding that command in 1943-45, with USS Indianapolis (CA-35) as his usual flagship, Spruance directed the campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and defeated the Japanese fleet in the June 1944 Battle of Philippine Sea.
Admiral Spruance held command of the Pacific Fleet in late 1945 and early 1946. He then served as President of the Naval War College until retiring from the Navy in July 1948. He was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines by President Harry S. Truman in January 1952 and his resignation was accepted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 31 March 1955.
In addition to the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Commendation Ribbon and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Admiral Spruance had the Victory Medal, Overseas Clasp (World War I); American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp. Besides the Belgian decorations, he had the Gold Cross of the Chevalier of the Order of the Savior from the Government of Greece, and the Honorary Companion of the Order of the Bath from Great Britain.
Admiral Spruance died on 13 December 1969, at his home in Pebble Beach, California.