The Fast Carrier Task Force, known at different times as Task Force 38 and Task Force 58, was the main striking force of the United States Navy in the latter half of the Pacific War.
TF 38 came into existence in August 1943, built around Saratoga (CV-3), and under the command of Rear Admiral Frederic Sherman.
TF 58 was created under the command of Marc Mitscher, on 6 January1944. TF 38 continued to exist, with a handful of ships assigned, for two reasons. One was to confuse the enemy, and the other was that it was used for planning purposes when not in operational use. The same became true of Task Force 58. It consisted of six aircraft carriers, six light aircraft carriers, and a host of supporting ships.
The force became TF 38 again on 26 August 1944 under Admiral William Halsey, Jr., and grew to nine CVs and eight CVLs in preparation for the landings on Leyte.
Departing Pearl Harbor, she participated with TF 16 in carrier operations against Marcus Island (31 August 1943); was designated flagship of TF 14[?] and struck Wake Island (5-6 October); launched an attack with TG 50.3[?] against the Gilbert Islands where she also took part in her first amphibious assault, the landing on Tarawa (18-23 November).
She deployed with TF58 to support the occupation of the Marianas (12 June-10 August); sortied with TG 38.3[?] to lead an attack against the Palau Islands[?] (6-8 September), and Mindanao (9-10 September) with enemy shipping as the main target, and remained in the area to support landings on Peleliu[?].
During the remainder of the war she operated with TF58, conducting attacks against the Tokyo area (16-17, and 25 February) both to neutralize the enemy's airpower before the landings on Iwo Jima and to cripple the aircraft manufacturing industry.
She reached Ulithi, the fleet anchorage in the Caroline Islands, on 6 February, and there joined TG 58.5, a task group in the famed Task Force (TF) 58[?], the fast carrier task force.
TF58, cloaked by bad weather, approached the Japanese homeland from east of the Marianas.
During the afternoon, TF58 retired slowly to the southwestward, covering the crippled Franklin and simultaneously launching fighter sweeps against airfields on Kyushu in order to disorganize any attempted strikes against it.
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