PACIFIC OCEAN AREAS was a major Allied military command in the
Pacific Ocean theater of World War II
Pacific Ocean theater of World War II . It was one of four major
Allied commands during the
Pacific War , and one of three United
States commands in the
Asiatic-Pacific Theater . Admiral Chester W.
Nimitz of the U.S. Navy headed the command throughout its existence.
The vast majority of Allied forces in the theatre were from the U.S.
Navy , U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps . However units and/or
New Zealand , the
United Kingdom ,
Fiji and other countries also saw active service.
* 1 Formation and composition
* 2 Commanders
* 2.1 Commanders,
South Pacific Area
South Pacific Area
* 2.2 Commanders, North Pacific Area
* 3 See also
* 4 Notes
* 5 References
* 6 External links
FORMATION AND COMPOSITION
03 1905 APR 1942 message from COMINCH (Commander-in-Chief,
United States Fleet, King) to CINCPAC (Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific
Fleet, Nimitz) designating Nimitz Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean
Area (first of four part message).
On 24 March 1942, the newly formed British and US Combined Chiefs of
Staff issued a directive designating the Pacific theater an area of
American strategic responsibility. On 30 March the US Joint Chiefs of
Staff (JCS) divided the Pacific theater into three areas: the Pacific
Ocean Areas (POA), the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), and the
Southeast Pacific Area
Southeast Pacific Area . Details and transition, including whether
Nimitz "appointed" or "nominated" the commander of the South Pacific
Area, were worked out between 3 April and formal assumption of the
Pacific Ocean Areas by Nimitz on 8 May
The JCS designated Admiral
Chester W. Nimitz
Chester W. Nimitz as Commander in Chief,
Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA), with operational control over all units
(air, land, and sea) in that area. The theater included most of the
Pacific Ocean and its islands, but mainland
Asia was excluded from the
POA, as were the
Australia , the Netherlands East Indies
, the Territory of
New Guinea (including the
Bismarck Archipelago )
and the western part of the
Solomon Islands . US strategic bomber
forces in the theatre were under the direct control of the US Joint
Chiefs of Staff. All land forces in
Canada remained under
the control of the US Army's
Western Defense Command
Western Defense Command (see Aleutian
Islands Campaign ).
The Joint Chiefs further divided the
Pacific Ocean Areas into the
North, Central and South Pacific Areas. Nimitz designated subordinate
commanders for the North and South Pacific Areas (NORPAC and SOPAC)
but retained the Central Pacific Area (CENPAC), including the Hawaiian
Department , under his direct command.
From 1942-1943, three Army infantry divisions (23rd/"Americal" , 25th
, 27th ) and two Marine divisions (1st , 2nd ) fought in the POA (the
1st and 3rd Marine Divisions also fought in the SWPA in 1943). From
1944-1945, five Army infantry divisions (7th , 27th, 77th , 81st ,
96th ) and six Marine divisions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th , 5th , 6th )
served in the POA (an additional 15 Army divisions fought in the SWPA
during this time). Among allied land force formations was the 3rd New
Zealand Division , which fought in the
Solomon Islands campaign during
U.S. Army Air Forces
U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) operated in the POA under the Seventh ,
Thirteenth , and Twentieth Air Forces at various times. Allied air
forces included units of the Royal
New Zealand Air Force .
In the separate South West Pacific Area, General Douglas MacArthur
assumed command. The effective result of this organizational scheme
was the creation of two separate commands in the Pacific: POA and
SWPA, each reporting separately to the Joint Chiefs, each competing
for scarce resources in an economy-of-force theater, and each headed
by a commander in chief (CINC) from a different service. In
particular, the division of the Solomons caused problems, since the
battles of the
Solomon Islands campaign in 1942–1943 ranged over the
whole region, with the main Japanese bases in SWPA and the main Allied
bases in SOPAC.
COMMANDERS, SOUTH PACIFIC AREA
* Vice Admiral
Robert L. Ghormley (19 June–18 October 1942)
* Vice Adm./Adm.
William Halsey, Jr. (18 October 1942 – 15 June
* Vice Adm. John H. Newton (15 June 1944 – 13 March 1945)
* Vice Admiral William L. Calhoun (13 March–2 September 1945)
COMMANDERS, NORTH PACIFIC AREA
* Rear Adm. Robert A. Theobald (17 May 1942 – 4 January 1943)
* Rear Adm.
Thomas C. Kinkaid (4 January–11 October 1943)
* Vice Adm. Frank J. Fletcher (11 October 1943 – 2 September 1945)
United States Navy in
World War II
World War II
* ^ Cressman 1999 , p. April 3, Fri. entry.
* ^ Potter 1976 , p. 45.
* ^ Williams 1960 , pp. 30—31.
* ^ Morton 2000 , pp. 244—256.
* ^ Nimitz & Steele 1942 , p. Entries April 1942.
* ^ Mark R. Henry and Mike Chappell, The U.S. Army of World War II,
Volume 1: The Pacific (Men at Arms Series, 342)(Osprey Publishing:
* Cressman, Robert J. (1999). "The Official Chronology of the U.S.
Navy in World War II". Contemporary History Branch, Naval Historical
Center (now Naval History & Heritage Command). Retrieved 24 May 2013.
* Morton, Louis (2000). The War in the Pacific—Strategy and
Command: The First Two Years.
United States Army In World War II.
Washington, D. C.: Center Of Military History,
United States Army.
LCCN 61-60001 .
* Nimitz, Chester W., Admiral (USN); Steele, James M., Captain (USN)
(1942). ‘Gray Book’ — War Plans and Files of the
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet; Running Estimate and Summary
maintained by Captain James M. Steele, USN, CINCPAC staff at Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii, covering the period 7 December 1941–31 August 1942.
(PDF). 1 of 8 volumes. Operational Archives, Naval History and
Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C. Retrieved 24
* Potter, E.B. (1976). Nimitz. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute
Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-492-9 . LCCN 76-1056 .
* Williams, Mary H. (1960). Chronology 1941—1945. United States
Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History,
United States Army. LCCN 59-60002 .
* Willmott, H. P. (1983). The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and
Allied Pacific Strategies February to June 1942. Annapolis, Maryland:
Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-535-3 .