In October 1944 the US invaded the Pacific island of Leyte. The Japanese expected the invasion and sought a naval confrontation with the US Navy. The Japanese had carefully studied the US Admirals and believed they had located a weakness in US Admiral William "Bull" Halsey.
Halsey was a fighting admiral. He was brave and impetuous and was spoiling for a fight. The Japanese decided to play on Halsey's temper which they viewed as a weakness and created a "Northern Task Force" about which they sent fake radio traffic which indicated that the Northern Force comprised the main part of the Nippon Navy- a juicy carrier loaded target.
Halesy was lured to chase the ghost northern force, leaving the US invasion force mostly unprotected, although Admiral Kincaid bravely held off the real main Japanese forces which attacked in a pincer movement around the island.
Kincaid radioed to Admiral Nimitz for help and for Halsey. And Nimitz sent this now famous and historical radio message to Halsey:
"Where is, repeat where is Task Force 34...the world wonders?"
TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG FROM CINCPAC ACTION COM THIRD FLEET INFO COMINCH CTF SEVENTY-SEVEN X WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS
The controversy of the message, especially the "world wonders" part was quickly explained away as superfluous words that were included in coded transmissions and did not reflect the actual words or thoughts of Nimitz. However, the words stung Halsey in light of him falling for the Japanese bait and compromising the invasion.
Halsey recovered in time to help thwart the invasion, but his reputation suffered from the message which was viewed as a rebuke from Nimitz, the Pacific Commander of Naval Forces.
Which brings us to the USS Carl Vinson and the now nearly hourly reports that when the current President threatened North Korea with the Carrier Task force, it was in fact thousands of miles away heading towards Australia- which even most people who wear robes could have told our president is the wrong way if you want to get to North Korea.
The media, not to mention much of the world is now ridiculing the US and our President:
The Atlantic wonders in this headline How the Trump Administration Lost an Aircraft Carrier?
The NY Times Gail Collins Op Ed is entitled "Paging The Trump Armada...It's not easy to lose a flotilla".
Unlike Admiral Halsey who was a WWII hero (although he is subject to criticism which continues to this day including his questionable actions at Leyte and that he led a task force through a Pacific cyclone at the end of the war), the current POTUS is neither a war hero, nor respected.
As to the current status of the Vinson Carrier group, it may be appropriate to again ponder: "Where, repeat where is the Vinson Carrier Group? The World Wonders..."
From Occupied America, Fight the Power.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf is perhaps the most studied naval battle of WWII. In other forums, your humble blogger has written extensively on this confrontation.
Unlike today with satellites tracking naval forces, the battle highlights the decisions admirals had to make with imperfect information. The tactics of the Japanese- in using guile and a thorough understanding of the nature of the adversary to even the odds in the face of a superior force have been required reading at Annapolis for the last 50 years.
"If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him." Sun Tzu.
The Japanese did just that, baiting Halsey, and almost achieved what would have been a stunning naval victory that could have set back the war efforts in the Pacific six more months.
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