Halsey, William Frederick (1882–1959), a United States naval officer. In World War II Halsey launched the first naval attack against Japan following Pearl Harbor. Commanding a task force, he raided the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, and ferried Colonel James Doolittle's bombers for their raid on Tokyo in April, 1942. His actions as commander of the Third Fleet at the Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944) caused much controversy. On September 2, 1945, the formal Japanese surrender was signed aboard Halsey's flagship, the Missouri. Halsey's courage and aggressiveness won him the nickname “Bull.” His motto was “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”
Halsey was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of a naval officer. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1904. During World War I he served on vessels convoying troopships to Europe. In 1934, at the age of 52, Halsey qualified as a navy flier. He was made a full admiral in November, 1942, soon after he assumed command of the South Pacific area. In June, 1944, he became head of the Third Fleet. Halsey was made an admiral of the fleet in 1945. He retired in 1947. Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) is his autobiography.