After the war, Sherman rotated between shore and sea assignments, including two stints as a student at the Naval War College. In 1936, he qualified as a naval aviator, and by the time he took command of the carrier Lexington in 1940, Sherman had become an ardent proponent of naval airpower. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, Sherman's pilots carried out raids against Japanese bases on New Britain Island and New Guinea. Sherman was promoted to rear admiral in April 1942. In the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, his forces sank the Japanese light aircraft carrier Shoho, although damage from Japanese bombs forced Sherman to scuttle the Lexington.
Later that year, Sherman was appointed commander of Task Force 16, and in 1943 he headed Carrier Division 2. In these posts, Sherman participated in operations in the South and Central Pacific Theaters, helping to neutralize Japanese airpower in these areas, sinking or damaging many enemy ships, and earning a reputation as an aggressive leader and a skilled tactician. As with other air admirals, he believed that naval air forces, organized into multicarrier task forces, were the key to victory in the Pacific war, and at one point he urged that aviators should be in command of all task forces that included carriers. Following assignment in the United States from March to August 1944 for a rest, Sherman became commander of Task Group 38.3/58.3 and took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, supporting the landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and engaging in raids against Japan.
Shortly before the end of the war, Sherman was promoted to vice admiral and given command of the 1st Fast Carrier Task Force and Task Force 58. In January 1946, Sherman was named commander of the Fifth Fleet, his final post before retiring in March 1947. Sherman died in San Diego, California, on 27 July 1957.
John Kennedy Ohl
Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War. Boston: Little, Brown, 1963.; Reynolds, Clark. The Fast Carriers: The Forging of an Air Navy. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968.; Sherman, Frederick C. Combat Command: The American Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific War. New York: Dutton, 1950.