The Roles Of Admiral Earnest J. King And Major General Alexander Vandegrift

1597 Words 7 Pages
Operation Watchtower provides an exceptional reference to illustrate American commanders’ application of operational art in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) during World War II. This paper analyzes the roles of Admiral Earnest J. King and Major General Alexander Vandegrift as operational artists during planning and execution of Operation Watchtower. Their understanding of the link among lines of operation, decisive points, operational reach, culmination, and risk directly contributed to overall success of the Guadalcanal campaign. Analysis of their actions through a lens of current doctrine benefits current practitioners by providing historical examples of operational art in action.
This paper will discuss doctrinal concepts displayed during the planning and execution of Operation Watchtower. The current joint definition of operational art will provide the baseline reference throughout the paper. Joint doctrine defines operational art as “the use of creative thinking by commanders and staffs to design strategies, campaigns, and major operations and employ military forces.” Joint Publication 3-0 also informs the reader that operational art assists in ordering thoughts to “understand the conditions for victory before seeking battle.” Admiral King and Major General Vandegrift, as the principal architects, demonstrate this concept throughout the development and execution of Operation Watchtower.
Following Pearl Harbor, the United States assumed a strategically…

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