Admiral Jackson D. Arnold, USN
Jackson Dominick Arnold (1912-2007)
joined the wardroom of USS Arizona in 1934, shortly after
from the U.S. Naval Academy. He was assigned as officer in charge of the
aftermost of the battleship's four heavy gun mounts, Turret No. 4. In
addition, he was elected mess treasurer for the wardroom, a post which he
had run for on the promise that he would please one man at every meal.
When one of his comrades demanded later to know why the quality of the
food hadn't improved, Arnold replied that he had indeed pleased one man
at every meal. When the officer demanded to know who that man was,
Arnold replied, "Me. I've been happy with every meal we've had!"
Ensign Jack Arnold designed this
Christmas card for Arizona's wardroom officers, probably in 1934 or 1935.
Note that the lights on the tree match those on the ship.
Click for enlargement (4.5MB).
In 1936, Arnold transferred to Pensacola,
Florida, where he trained as a naval aviator. Upon getting his wings,
Lieutenant (j.g.) Arnold was assigned to Torpedo Squadron Six, flying
Devastator aircraft, as part of the air group of the new carrier
Enterprise. Later, in 1938, he transferred to Cruiser Scouting
Squadron Eight aboard the light cruiser
Seagull floatplanes. In 1940, he was assigned to duty at Pearl
Harbor as an engineering test pilot on Ford Island.
An SOC-1 Seagull observation aircraft of
Cruiser Scouting Squadron Eight, with wings folded, in the hangar of USS
Savannah, 1938. US Navy photo.
On December 7, 1941, Arnold scrambled to
get a harbor launch to take him to Ford Island, where he initially tried
to take off in the only flyable
Wildcat fighter on the station. When he learned that the aircraft
had no ammunition, he abandoned the aircraft near the base of the
control tower and found a
Browning Automatic Rifle. He fired the "BAR" at Japanese planes
strafing the flight line, and downed one which crashed on the island. Arnold
later claimed to be the only naval aviator with five "kills" who was
never officially designated an ace -- two in an Avenger, two in a
Hellcat, and one from the ground with a BAR.
Pilots of Arnold's "Fighting Two" appear
in this c. 1944 magazine layout with their commander (top left).
Arnold served with distinction throughout
the war in the Pacific. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June
1944, as Commander of
air group, Commander Arnold lead a damaging attack on a Japanese
aircraft carrier and other ships. Returning to Hornet after dark, Arnold
assisted several of his pilot landing in the darkness. For his actions
on that day, Commander Arnold was
awarded the Navy Cross.
An SBC2-3 Helldiver circles over
the flight deck of Hornet, January 1945. U.S. Navy photo.
After the war, Arnold went on to a series
of flying commands and administrative posts. During his naval career,
Arnold accumulated more that 3,900 hours of flying time, and logged 290
carrier catapult launches. He completed an MBA at
Harvard in 1952. His final post in the Navy was as Chief of Naval
Material. He was advanced to the rank of full Admiral in 1970, the only
aeronautical engineer to reach the four-star rank. He
retired in November 1971.
He and his wife, Muriel McChesney Arnold, whom
he had married in Hawaii a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, retired to
Rancho Santa Fe, California, where they remained active in community
affairs and volunteer activities.
Thanks to Admiral Arnold's family for
providing the materials and information presented here. See also Paul
Battleship Arizona: An Illustrated History,
Wikipedia entry on Admiral Arnold.