Raymond A. Spruance (1885-1969): American admiral. A gunnery expert, his navy career had not been particularly distinguished until World War II. He commanded the escort ships of William Halsey's aircraft carrier force. When Halsey became sick before the Battle of Midway, Spruance took over his task force, and his performance was key to the American victory in that battle. Spruance went on to become one of the top American officers of the war; he was also the commander at the American victory in the Philippine Sea. Later, he would be ambassador to the Philippines.