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James Otto Richardson (18 September 1878 – 2 May 1974) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served from 1902 to 1947.
As Commander in Chief, United States Fleet (CinCUS), he protested against the redeployment of the Pacific portion of the fleet forward to Pearl Harbor, believing that a forward defense was neither practical nor useful, and that the Pacific Fleet would be the logical first target in the event of war with Japan, vulnerable to air and torpedo attacks.
He was subsequently relieved of command in February 1941.
His concerns were to be proved justified in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ten months later.
Early life and career
Richardson was born in Paris, Texas. He entered the United States Naval Academy in 1898 and graduated fifth in a class of eighty-five in 1902. His first duty assignments were in the Asiatic Squadron, where he took part in the Philippine campaign and, after 1905, in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1907 to 1909, Lieutenant Richardson commanded the torpedo boats Tingey and Stockton and the Third Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla. He was a member of the first class of the Navy's Post Graduate Engineering School in 1909– to 1911 and served as an engineer on the battleship USS Delaware and on the staff of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In 1914, Richardson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was attached to the Department of the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering, where he worked to assure the Navy's fuel supply.