James Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense. Born in New York, he was the youngest son of Irish immigrants, an amateur boxer in his youth, and later nominated to be Undersecretary of the Navy by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, where he led the national effort for industrial mobilization for the war effort during World War II. He was named Secretary of the Navy in May 1944, and the first Secretary of the newly created Defense Department in 1947 by Roosevelt’s successor Harry S. Truman.
Secretary Forrestal was a supporter of naval battle groups centered on aircraft carriers, which brought him into a close relationship with Admiral Richard E. Byrd, an American naval officer and a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics, becoming the first to lead expeditions to the Arctic and antarctic poles, as well as leading a massive post WW2 military force to invade Antarctica called operation Highjump. So what happened to James Forrestal?
Robert Sepehr is an anthropologist and author
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