William Halsey
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1882
Date of Death: 1959
Cause of Death: Heart attack
Religion: Episcopalianism
Occupation: Sailor
Spouse: France Grandy
Children: Margaret, William III
Military Branch: United States Navy
(World War I, World War II)
Fictional Appearances:

Fleet Admiral William Frederick "Bill" Halsey, Jr., also known as "Bull" Halsey, GBE, USN, (October 30, 1882 – August 16, 1959), was a United States Navy officer, best remembered for his role in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

The son of a captain, Halsey entered the Naval Academy in 1900. He served primarily aboard battleships in his early years, including a stint on the Great White Fleet that circumnavigated the globe over between 1907 and 1909. His World War I service earned him the Navy Cross.

After the USA's entry into World War II, Halsey commanded the task force centered on the carrier Enterprise in a series of raids against Japanese-held targets in the Pacific Ocean. He was made commander, South Pacific Area and led the Allied forces over the course of the Battle for Guadalcanal (1942–43) and the fighting up the Solomon chain (1942–45). In 1943 he was made commander of the Third Fleet, and oversaw further incursions against Japanese positions, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf. However, in December, 1944, thanks to conflicting reports, Halsey sailed Third Fleet into a typhoon, which proved devastating to the fleet. Halsey faced a board of inquiry, and Third Fleet was reassigned. He was returned to command of the Fleet in May 1945, and, despite sailing through another typhoon, Halsey remained in command of the fleet for the duration of the war.

After the war, Halsey entered the private sector. He died while on holiday in 1959.

William Halsey in The Hot War[]

The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away
Type of Appearance: Contemporary(?) reference

During World War II, Admiral Halsey, observing Japan's determination to fight to the death, said that its language would soon be spoken only in Hell. Japan surrendered before that became necessary. During World War III, President Harry Truman recounted this to Panamanian President Arnulfo Arias, and added that, if the Soviet Union didn't surrender, Satan would get himself a lot of new Russian customers.[1]

William Halsey in Days of Infamy[]

Days of Infamy
POD: March, 1941;
Relevant POD: December 7, 1941
Appearance(s): Days of Infamy
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Date of Death: 1941
Cause of Death: Killed during the sinking of the USS Enterprise

Vice-Admiral William Halsey (1882-1941) was aboard his flagship USS Enterprise on December 7, 1941, when Japan began its invasion of the American territory of Hawaii by attacking Pearl Harbor.[2] The Enterprise and the rest of the fleet rushed to engage the Japanese navy[3] but were surprised by several squadrons of Japanese Zeroes.[4] The Enterprise was heavily damaged by the Japanese planes.[5] Halsey died in the attack.

Literary comment[]

It is not explicitly stated that Halsey died. However, he is never referred to again after the Enterprise is sunk, which logically suggests that he did.

William Halsey in Joe Steele[]

Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Both
Type of Appearance: Direct (novel)
Contemporary reference (story)

Captain William Halsey was part of the tribunal that heard the case against Father Coughlin in 1936. He and Major Carl Spatz remained silent when the head of the tribunal, Colonel Walter Short asked what the tribunal believed Coughlin's sentence should be. First Lieutenant Nathan Bedford Forrest III, however, voted for Coughlin's execution, which was carried out in short order.[6]

Literary comment[]

In the short story, William Halsey is very successful in prosecuting the Pacific Theater of World War II.

In the novel, Halsey is mentioned only in the Coughlin scenes.

William Halsey in Southern Victory[]

Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): Return Engagement
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Military Branch: United States Navy
(Second Great War)

William Halsey was a commodore in the U.S. Navy during the Second Great War. He commanded Naval forces in the Chesapeake Bay.

In 1942, he agreed to transport Daniel MacArthur's army to the Peninsula - without informing the General Staff.[7] The landing was called off when MacArthur's subordinate General Abner Dowling informed the General Staff of the plan against MacArthur's wishes and without his knowledge.[8]


  1. Bombs Away, p. 346.
  2. Days of Infamy, pgs. 17-18.
  3. Ibid., pg. 31-32.
  4. Ibid., pg. 63.
  5. Ibid., pg. 65.
  6. Joe Steele, pgs. 123-126.
  7. Return Engagement, pg. 550.
  8. Ibid., pg. 551.