Task Force 16

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Task Force 16
USS Enterprise (CV-6) under attack by dive bombers during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942 (80-G-20989).jpg
Task Force 16 with the Enterprise (center left) and battleship South Dakota (distant background) under Japanese carrier air attack during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942.
Country United States
Allegiance Allies of World War II
Branch United States Navy
Type Naval aviation unit
Role Aircraft carrier support
Engagements Marshalls-Gilberts raids
Doolittle Raid
Battle of Midway
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Rennell Island
William Halsey, Jr.,
Raymond A. Spruance
Thomas Kinkaid

Task Force 16 (TF16) was one of the most storied task forces in the United States Navy, a major participant in a number of the most important battles of the Pacific War.

It was formed in mid-February 1942 around Enterprise (CV-6), with Vice Admiral William F. Halsey in command of the force, and supported by cruisers Salt Lake City (CA-25) and Northampton (CA-26), along with a half-dozen destroyers.

The task force's first mission was to shell Wake Island and Marcus Island, then, joined by Hornet (CV-8) and the rest of Task Force 18 (TF18), in April the force conducted the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. In May Halsey was ordered to join Task Force 17 (TF17) in the Coral Sea, but the Battle of the Coral Sea was over before TF 16 could join in.

Halsey was then hospitalized with a skin disease, so Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance took over TF 16 and along with TF 17, led it to victory in the Battle of Midway.

In August, the task force supported the landings on Guadalcanal, then fought in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, followed by the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October, the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November, and covered the retreat of TF 18 after the Battle of Rennell Island.

In March 1943, TG 16.6 fought the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, then bombarded Attu in April, and the whole force supported the recapture of the Aleutians in the Battle of Attu.

In 1944 and 1945, the task force was a refueling unit consisting of destroyer escorts and oilers.




  • United States Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence (1943). "Early Raids in the Pacific Ocean: February 1 to 10 March 1942". Combat Narrative. Publication Section, Combat Intelligence Branch. 
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