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Iowa History Daily: November 23 - Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher

Iowa History Daily: On November 23, 1855, a future United States Navy Admiral named Frank Friday Fletcher was born in Oskaloosa. Awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics during the Battle of Veracruz, Osky’s Admiral also endures through the “Fletcher-class” destroyer, the most produced class of destroyer for the Navy.

An attendee of Mahaska County’s public schools, Fletcher spent a good portion of his time in the classroom at the Gospel Ridge School (later Grant School). Selected for the United States Naval Academy in 1870, the future Admiral graduated in 1875 to the commissioned rank of ensign. A series of assignments and promotions followed as Fletcher climbed the ranks, and he notably served on the USS Ticonderoga’s voyage around the world from 1878-1881.

Commander of the Navy’s first torpedo boat, the USS Cushing, and a commander of the USS Maine in the years immediately prior to the ship’s untimely end in Havana Harbor at the start of the Spanish-American War, Fletcher’s career developed alongside the rapidly modernizing United States Navy. While serving as rear admiral and commanding battleship divisions of the Atlantic Fleet, Fletcher led American forces in landings at Vera Cruz. For his ‘distinguished conduct in battle’ the Navy awarded him the Medal of Honor.

The following year he elevated to the rank of Admiral, standing as the most senior the first three officers to ever hold the newly created four-star positions. Although Fletcher died in 1928, his legacy lives through the Fletcher-class destroyer, a class of destroyer created for World War II. 175 Fletcher-class destroyers helped America control the seas, with the USS Fletcher leading the way from 1942-1969. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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