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Task Force 58


TASK FORCE 58 was the long-range naval striking arm of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during the offensive against Japan in World War II. It became the major weapon system in the wartime and postwar U.S. Navy, replacing the battleship. During World War II the Navy created numbered fleets with subordinate numbered task organizations. In August 1943 the Navy divided the Pacific Fleet into the Third and Fifth Fleets, of which the fast carriers became Task Force 58 (TF 58). The Navy later subdivided TF 58 into task groups and they into smaller task units. This system, which allowed the Pacific Fleet to transfer ships between commands with a minimum of administrative detail, became the basis for postwar naval organization.

The tasks of TF 58, which the Navy renamed Task Force 38 in 1944, increased as the war progressed. In 1944, TF 58 sought out and destroyed the Japanese fleet and naval air forces at the Battles of the Philippine Sea and of Leyte Gulf. In 1943 and 1944 it provided defensive cover and air support for the amphibious forces that captured the Gilbert, Marshall, New Guinea, Mariana, Palau, and Philippine Islands and protected the forces that neutralized Truk. In 1945 it supported the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, fought off Japanese kamikaze air attacks, and struck airfields and strategic targets in Formosa and Japan. The latter-type missions also dominated fast-carrier operations in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, during which the carriers (in far fewer numbers) composed TF 77 as part of the Seventh Fleet.


Belote, James H. Titans of the Sea. New York: Harper and Row, 1975.

Bradley, James. Flags of Our Fathers. New York: Bantam, 2000.

Cutler, Thomas J. The Battle of Leyte Gulf, 2326 October, 1944. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

Wildenberg, Thomas. Destined for Glory. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Clark G. Reynolds / e. m.

See also Aircraft Carriers and Naval Aircraft ; Philippine Sea, Battle of the .

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