Veteran: Admiral William Halsey
Artist: Tony Zamora
Writer: Richard Pels
Admiral Halsey, the reason Gene Roddenberry chose to name his flagship the Enterprise.
William Halsey's nickname was “Bull”. And from 1942 to 1945, he turned the Pacific Ocean into his proverbial china shop, with a fearsome task force centered on his flagship, the carrier Enterprise.
His strategy was “hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”
And this he did, always in the face of superior Japanese forces: Guadalcanal, and the cutting edge of Admiral Nimitz's “island hopping” campaign through 1943; supporting landings on the Solomon chain, Peleliu, Okinawa, Formosa and Leyte in 1944; and finally, attacks on the Japanese mainland in 1945.
He was present when the Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945, but was still wary of kamikaze attacks for months after.
His exploits inspired such awe and respect that he's been portrayed in films by James Cagney, James Whitmore, Robert Mitchum and others.
Paul McCartney honored him in song. In the Hunt for Red October, Jack Ryan wrote a book about him. And Gene Roddenberry named the flagship of his fleet in Star Trek “the Enterprise.”
Roddenberry's captains, Kirk and Picard, epic characters in their own right, might be thought of as versions of Bull Halsey. But those who remember WW II would still rank the commander of the original Enterprise as the most impressive of the lot.