Carleton H. Wright

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Carleton Herbert Wright
Born(1892-06-02)June 2, 1892
New Hampton, Iowa
DiedJune 27, 1973(1973-06-27) (aged 81)
Claremont, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1912–1948
RankRear Admiral
Commands heldTask Group 67
Cruiser Division 4
12th Naval District
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsNavy Cross

Carleton Herbert Wright (June 2, 1892 – June 27, 1973) was a rear admiral in the United States Navy (USN).

Early career[edit]

Wright graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1912 with a class standing of 16th out of 156 graduates. During World War I, he served aboard the Jarvis at Queenstown, then had duty assembling mines for the North Sea Mine Barrage.[2]

After World War I, Wright attended the USN's ordnance postgraduate course from 1918 through 1920. He then had various ship and staff assignments afloat and ordnance-related posts ashore until 1935. From 1935 to 1936, he commanded Destroyer Division 18. From 1936 to 1938 he served on the staff of Comsofor, and then at the Naval Mine Depot at Yorktown until 1941.[2]

World War II[edit]

At the outbreak of World War II, Wright was the captain of the U.S. cruiser Augusta. Wright was promoted to rear admiral in May 1942 and commanded warship forces under William Halsey during the Guadalcanal campaign. As commander of Task Group 67, Wright led his force of five cruisers and four destroyers against a Japanese "Tokyo Express" force of eight destroyers on the night of November 30, 1942. In the resulting Battle of Tassafaronga, Wright's force sank one Japanese destroyer, but one of Wright's cruisers, the Northampton, was sunk and three other cruisers were so badly damaged that they were out of action for nine months. The battle was one of the worst defeats that the U.S. Navy suffered in World War II. Wright was awarded the Navy Cross for his performance in the battle, but was also reassigned to shore duty at the U.S. Navy's staff in Washington, D.C.

Wright later commanded the U.S. Navy's Cruiser Division 4 in the central Pacific in 1944 before returning to shore duty as a member of the staff and later commander of the 12th Naval District in San Francisco. On July 17, 1944, the Port Chicago disaster—two explosions in which 302 men were killed and two ships obliterated, thought to be caused by mishandling of ammunition by untrained shiploaders—occurred under his command. Afterward Wright ordered the General Courts Martial of 50 African-American men found guilty of mutiny after expressing fear and refusing to return to work loading ammunition.[3]

Post war[edit]

In March 1946, he became the Inspector General of the Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Area. Wright later served as the deputy commander of the Marianas before retiring from the U.S. Navy in October 1948. He died in Claremont, California, on June 27, 1973.[4]



  • Allen, Robert L. (2006). The Port Chicago Mutiny. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books. ISBN 978-1-59714-028-7. OCLC 63179024.
  • Crenshaw Jr., Russell S. (1995). The Battle of Tassafaronga. Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of Ame. ISBN 1-877853-37-2.
  • Frank, Richard B. (1990). Guadalcanal : The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 0-14-016561-4.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). "Chapter 13". The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 – February 1943, vol. 5 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-58305-7.
  • Roscoe, Theodore (1986) [1953]. United States Destroyer Operations in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-726-7.



  1. ^ Roscoe, p. 206.
  2. ^ a b Samuel Eliot Morison, Struggle for Guadalcanal, p. 293.
  3. ^ Record of Proceedings of a General Court Martial Convened at U.S. Naval Training and Distribution Center, San Francisco, California, by Order of The Commandant, Twelfth Naval District, And Commander, Naval Operating Base, San Francisco, California - 1505 pages
  4. ^ "Pomona Progress Bulletin". July 1, 1973. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via