Rear Admiral Clarence Wade McClusky
As an aviation hero of World War II and Chief
of Staff for Seventh
Fleet operations during the Korean War, Rear Admiral McClusky's
illustrious naval career led him from battlefront to executive
positions and back again. His diversified leadership and administrative
skills afforded him, throughout his naval career, duties vital to the
safekeeping of our nation.
He assumed command of USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6) Carrier Air Group Six in
April 1942. In the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942 he led two
squadrons of his air group on a skillful search to discover and destroy
the powerful Japanese carrier striking force of Admiral Nagumo,
successful eliminating the KAGA and AKAGI. A third enemy carrier,
SORYU, fell victim to USS YORKTOWN dive bombers led by Lieutenant M.F.
Leslie, USN. The forth and remaining Japanese carrier, HIRYU, was later
sunk by the combined attacks of YORKTOWN and ENTERPRISE planes. As
Samuel Eliot Morrison recorded in The Two-Ocean War, "Never has there
been a sharper turn in the fortunes of war than on that June day when
McClusky and Leslie's dive bombers snatched the palm of victory from
Nagumo's masthead, where he had nailed it on December 7."
For outstanding service while attached to USS ENTERPRISE,
in raids on Marshall, Wake, Gilbert and Marcus islands and the Battle
of Midway, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying
Cross, a letter of Commendation with Ribbon, a Ribbon and facsimile of
the Presidential Unit Citation to ENTERPRISE, the Purple Heart Medal
and the Navy Cross.
In addition, he held the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet
Clasp; the American Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II
victory Medal; Naval Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China
Service Medal; National Defense Medal; Korean Service Medal; United
Nations Service Medal; and the Korean Presidential unit Citation. He
retired on July 1, 1956, and was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral
on the basis of combat awards. Rear Admiral McClusky died June 27,
The colors gold and dark blue, associated with the Navy, symbolize the
sun and the Pacific Ocean, the area where Admiral (then Lieutenant
Commander) McClusky led dive bombing attacks on Japan’s
aircraft carrier force. The pheon, winged and red in color to indicate
fiery destruction from the air, represents the Dauntless dive-bombers
in action sinking four aircraft carriers at Midway. The carriers are
symbolized by the four red rounders which allude to Japanese aircraft
markings. For his heroic actions during the Battle of Midway, alluded
to by the pile diving through enemy forces, Admiral McClusky was
awarded the Navy Cross represented by the blue cross
Admiral McClusky’s achievements during the Korean War, for
he was awarded the Legion of Merit, and his distinguished service as
Chief of Staff of the Seventh Fleet during that period, are indicated
by the wreath and the Neptune spear of seven barbs, respectively. The
gold and blue taeguk and the red dragon refer to Korea.
Persistent, Courageous and Victorious!