The Old Man Returns to Manage the Joint
In July 1937, some 85 years ago this month, otherwise surface warfare-qualified Capt. William Frederick Halsey Jr. (USNA 1904) arrived at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola– where he had just earned his own wings of gold two years prior, at the age of 52, the oldest person to do so in the history of the U.S. Navy– to assume command of the Cradle of Naval Aviation.
Of course, Halsey would achieve his first star in 1938 and go on to bigger and better things just a few years later, but it was easy to see that, had the events of 1941 not gone the way they did, “Bull” may have been only a quiet command or two away from retiring in the peacetime Navy, and faded into a footnote.
History is funny like that.