He fought the first three of the great aircraft carrier battles of all time.
He wrote the book on this newform of warfare. It wasn't easy.
The war in the Pacific was being lost to a rampaging enemy that had
defeated five fleets of three nations in five months. Then they met
Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher who was armed only with the remnants
of a depression era fleet and a bunch of brave men.
The Japanese had ten battleships and ten carriers. After Pearl Harbor
the US had no active battleships in the Pacific and only three carriers.
Nobody had ever fought a carrier-on-carrier battle before he initiated
the attack on Shoho. Until that time the Imperial Japanese Fleet
had lost nothing larger than a destroyer or a submarine
Fletcher fought the Battle of the Coral Sea in which he attacked the
invasion of the Solomon island of Talagi, turned back the invasion of
Port Moresby, and stopped the intended aerial mauling of Australia.
Though damaged, he rushed to the Battle of Midway where he wielded
two task forces to destroy four of the six big carriers that had attacked
Pearl Harbor in the most important engagement of the Pacific War.
He commanded the carrier forces to occupy Guadalcanal and
defended that beachhead by turning back a re-invasion force that was
double his size in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. There he sank
his sixth enemy carrier and saved the Marines on Guadalcanal.
Admiral Fletcher was the most
successful admiral of both World Wars.
By containing the Japanese in the Pacific, he allowed FDR to continue
with his Germany First policy. Later admirals won great victories by
commanding fleets with dozens of carriers – they could not lose.
When Fletcher entered the fray we were losing -- he held the line at
the most dangerous time in WW2 until the nation could mobilize
industry for victory.