1. The Philippine Department had been in existence for many years before the outbreak of the war as the outlying U. S. Army command in the Pacific. The Philippine Department, which had been under Maj. Gen. George Grunert May 1940-0ctober 1941, was reduced to the status of a services of supply organization for USAFFE shortly before Pearl Harbor. In January 1942 it was redesignated the Bataan Service Command. On 26 July 1941 General MacArthur, retired, was placed on active duty, appointed lieutenant general (AUS), and designated as CG, USAFFE. The USAFFE command included troops in the Philippine Department and the forces of the Philippine Army as they were inducted into American service. It had the task of organizing the defense of the Philippines. From 18 April 1942 to 26 February 1943 USAFFE, with General MacArthur still in command, was inactive. Effective 26 February 1943 all units of the U. S. Army in the Southwest Pacific areas, and all elements of the Philippine Army called into the service of American forces were assigned to USAFFE which had been constituted by the War Department on 26 July 1941.
2. For a short period in 1942, a separate command under General MacArthur existed in the Philippines. Established 21 March 1942, with Lt. Gen. J. M. Wainwright in command, it was called U. S. Forces in the Philippines (USFIP). General Wainwright surrendered 6 May 1942. ABDACom for the Southwest Pacific was set up during the meeting of British. American authorities at the ARCADIA Conference 24 December 1941-14 January 1942 and approved by the Australian, British, Dutch, and American Governments, whose initials formed the name of the command. Designed to stem the tide of Japanese advance, it was composed of American, British, Dutch, and Australian forces, and included all the land and sea areas in the general region Burma-Malaya-Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. A British officer, Gen. Sir Archibald Wavell, was selected as supreme commander. General Wavell arrived in Batavia on 10 January 1942 and actually assumed command on 15 January 1942. ABDACom was short-lived. After the fall of Singapore, CCS proceeded to dissolve this command. It ceased operations on 25 February 1942.
3. General Brett, the newly appointed commanding general, U. S. troops in Australia, was ordered to report to General Wavell as Deputy Supreme Commander, ABDACom. General Brett was promoted from major general to lieutenant general 7 January 1942, after he was designated Deputy Commander, ABDACom. In mid-January General Wavell, with General Brett as his deputy, took over ABDACom.
4. Great confusion surrounded the establishment of the American command in Australia and the designation of a commander. It resulted partly from haste, in both Washington and ABDACom headquarters in the critical early days of the war and from dual responsibilities of American commanders in Australia to ABDACom and to other U. S. Army commands in the Pacific. On 12 December 1941 American troops aboard a convoy originally scheduled for the Philippines were constituted a task force, Task Force South Pacific, and placed under the command of General Barnes, senior officer in the convoy. The convoy was ordered to proceed to Brisbane, Australia, and General Barnes was instructed to assume command of all American troops in Australia and place his forces under CG, USAFFE. He was given the primary objective of aiding in the defense of the Philippines. When the convoy docked at Brisbane, Australia, on 22 December 1941, the Task Force South Pacific became at that point the U.S. Forces in Australia (referred to as USFA or USFIA) with General Barnes in command.
While the convoy was still en route to Brisbane, the War Department was drawing up a plan for using Australia as a supply base for Philippine operations. WPD recommended, 17 December 1941, that General Brett, an Air Corps officer then at a military conference of Allied military leaders in Chungking, assume command of American troops and military facilities in Australia, thus relieving General Barnes who was temporarily in command of the forces headed for Australia. As Commanding General, American Troops in Australia, General Brett was to be under General Mac. Arthur who commanded all U. S. Army forces in the Far East (USAFFE). General Marshall approved this plan for the Australian base, and WPD sent out the messages and directives, 17 December 1941, to put this plan into effect. Pending General Brett's arrival, Brig. Gen. H. B. Claggett, an Air Corps officer on General MacArthur's staff, was to be sent from the Philippines to Australia to take temporary command in Australia. General Claggett arrived in Brisbane by air on 22 December 1941 and took over the command of USFA (USFIA) from General Barnes on 24 December 1941. General Barnes thereupon became General Claggett's chief of staff.
General Brett finally reached Australia 31 December 1941 and on 5 January 1942 assumed command of American troops in Australia as CG, USAFIA. This command was set up under General Brett on the basis of War Department instructions of 17 December 1941 and subsequent modifications and elaborations. The USAFIA command was basically an air services of supply, with a primary mission of logistic support of American air units operating in Northwest Australia and in the Netherlands East Indies. General Barnes, previously General Claggett's chief of staff, became chief of staff to General Brett. General Claggett served briefly as commander of the supply base at Townsville and then returned to the United States.
Confusion in mid-January 1942 increased when General Brett began to function as Deputy Commander in Chief. ABDACom. General Brett reported for duty in Batavia on 12 January and remained General Wavell's deputy until ABDACom headquarters was dissolved (25 February 1942). The War Department, 12 January, without co-ordinating with General Wavell or General Brett, instructed General Brereton, Commanding General, U. S. Far East Air Forces, then operating from the Philippines to Australia and in the Netherlands East Indies (ABDA) area, to assume command of all U. S. Army Forces in Australia. General Brereton actually was CG, USAFIA, 12-27 January 1 942. At General Wavell's request, however, General Brereton was designated commander of U. S. Air Forces in the ABDA area. General Barnes succeeded General Brereton as CG, USAFIA, on 27 January 1942. In the last week of February 1942 General Brett, following the collapse of ABDACom, resumed command as CG, USAFIA, with General Barnes as his deputy commander. General Brereton became CG, 10th Air Force in India. Upon General MacArthur's assumption of command as Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, on 18 April 1942, General Barnes replaced General Brett as CG, USAFIA. General Brett became commander of Allied air forces, SWPA, holding this position until Maj. Gen. G. C. Kenney took over in August 1942. On 10 July 1942 General Barnes was relieved as CG, USAFIA, and USAFIA was redesignated more descriptively the U. S. Army Service of Supply, Southwest Pacific Area (USASOSSWPA). This change became effective 20 July 1942.
5. JCS, by directive of 30 March 1942, approved by the President on 31 March 1942, divided the Pacific theater, which had been designated by the CCS in CCS 57/2, 24 March 1942, as an area of American strategic responsibility, into two areas of responsibility: the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) and the Pacific Ocean Area (POA). Both the directive for the Southwest Pacific Area and the designation of General MacArthur as supreme commander of the armed forces of the governments whose units were operating in the area, were contained in a War Department message to General MacArthur, 3 April 1942, as amended by a War Department message of 5 April 1942. According to the directive contained in the 3 April message, the CCS would exercise general jurisdiction over grand strategy policy allocation of forces and war materials, while the U. S. JCS would exercise jurisdiction over all matters of operational strategy. The Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, was to act as the executive agency for the U. S. JCS. Final approval of the SWPA directive by the Australian Government was received in Washington 14 April 1942. General MacArthur assumed command of the Southwest Pacific Area on 18 April 1942.
General MacArthur's combined command in SWPA consisted of Allied ground forces (including Australian and Dutch forces), Allied air forces with General Brett commanding, Allied naval forces. U. S. Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) under General Wainwright, and U. S. Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), virtually a service command, under General Barnes. Admiral Nimitz was designated Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPoa) on 20 April 1942, effective 8 May 1942. U. S. Army forces in the Pacific Ocean area directly concerned were to comply with directives issued by that commander in chief. General MacArthur was relieved from command of SWPA on 2 September 1945.
6. USAFISPA was set up as a separate army command in the South Pacific 7 July 1942, paralleling the naval subcommand in the southern part of Admiral Nimitz' POA command. SOPAC was the short title for the South Pacific Force and Area used by the U. S. Navy. At the time of the establishment of U. S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas (USAFPOA) on 1 August 1944, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas (AAF/POA) was set up with General Harmon (then lieutenant general) as commanding general under CG, USAFPOA. AAF/POA was to consist initially of the U. S. AAF units assigned to the Central Pacific Area and to the South Pacific Area. Under the principles of unified command (JCS 263/2/D) CG, AAF/POA was to be responsible directly to CinCPoa for all matters concerning the preparing of plans, operations, training, and disposition of his forces. In addition General Harmon was designated Deputh Commander, 20th Air Force, on all matters relating to those units of the 20th Air Force based in the Pacific Ocean Areas. In the latter capacity he was to deal directly with CinCPoa in co-ordinating 20th Air Force activities with other activities in his area.
7. For many years before World War II the Hawaiian Department controlled all Army activities in the Hawaiian area. Until the creation of USAFISPA, General Emmons as Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, was in effect administrative commander of U. S. Army forces in Admiral Nimitz' POA command, exclusive of the special USAFISPA subarea.
8. General Richardson remained in command of the Hawaiian Department along with his successive assignments in command of the U. S. Army Forces in Central Pacific Area, USAFPOA, and U. S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific (AFMidPac).
9. General Richardson was formally designated CG, USAFICPA, under Admiral Nimitz, 14 August 1943. The primary mission of this Army command under General Richardson was training.
10. Effective 1 August 1944 the USAFPOA was established, consolidating and initially consisting of all U. S. Army forces previously assigned to the Central Pacific Area and South Pacific Area. General Richardson as ComGenPoa was to exercise command under CinCPoa under the principle of unity of command (JCS 263/3/D).
11. JCS, 3 April 1945, designated the Supreme Commander, SWPA, as Commander in Chief, U. S. Army Forces, Pacific (CinCAFPac), a post held concurrently with his SWPA command. All U. S. Army resources in the Pacific theater (less the Southeast Pacific Area and resources under the command of the Commanding General, Alaskan Department) were placed under his command. All American naval resources in the Pacific (less Southeast Pacific Area) were placed under the command of CinCPoa. Both General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz, commander of naval forces in the Pacific, were to prepare for final operations against Japan. AFPAC absorbed the forces assigned "to USAFFE and USAFPOA. Headquarters, USAFPOA, was amalgamated on 1 July 1945 with Headquarters, AFMidPac, a command established on the same date under AFPAC. General Richardson was in command of AFMidPac from 1 July 1945-17 March 1946. USAFPOA was not formally dissolved until 1 September 1946, when the functions of the CG, USAFPOA, were simply taken over by the CG, AFMidPac. General MacArthur also created AFWesPac 7 June 1945 to replace USASOSSWPA which had come under General Styer's command on 30 May 1945.
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Last updated 19 October 2004