Raymond A. Spruance
Raymond Spruance
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1886
Date of Death: 1969
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Occupation: Sailor, Ambassador
Military Branch: United States Navy
(World War II)
Turtledove Appearances:
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Novel
Type of Appearance: Direct
Raymond Ames Spruance (July 3, 1886 – December 13, 1969) was a United States Navy admiral in World War II.

Spruance commanded US naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific theater, the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The Battle of Midway was the first major victory for the United States over Japan and is seen by many as the turning point of the Pacific war. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was also a significant victory for the US. The Navy's official historian said of the Battle of Midway "...Spruance's performance was superb...(he) emerged from this battle one of the greatest admirals in American naval history". After the war, Spruance was appointed President of the Naval War College, and later served as American ambassador to the Philippines.

Raymond A. Spruance in Joe SteeleEdit

Captain Raymond A. Spruance was the chairman of the military tribunal that tried the Supreme Court Four. Also on the tribunal were Colonel Marshall and Majors Bradley and Eisenhower but Captain Spruance dominated the proceedings. He started the hearing at 10 o'clock sharp having the doors sealed and then the defendants brought in.[1]

All four pleaded guilty on the charges of treason and threw themselves on the mercy of the tribunal. When Levine, one of the defense lawyers, objected that the confessions were coerced, Captain Spruance questioned each of the defendants and determined to his own satisfaction they were not. He then asked each to explain their actions indicating that they were not obligated to do so but that it might indicate mitigating circumstances.[2]

Captain Spruance began with James McReynolds who explained that the justices felt they needed to stop President Joe Steele at any cost, and that he was the American Trotsky. McReynolds also admitted that they conspired with a foreign government to do so. George Sutherland then added that they also had the help of other "good, loyal Americans". At Captain Spruance's prompt, Sutherland named Senator Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. Captain Spruance made sure this was all noted down and then adjourned the tribunal until two o'clock that afternoon for deliberations.[3]

The tribunal resumed at two sharp. Captain Spruance announced the verdict of guilty to the charge of treason and the sentence of death by firing squad.  He had the rest of the tribunal verbally assert their unanimity in the results. He then had the guards escort the convicts to their cells to await the sentence.[4]

Spruance survived the military purges that came after a soldier attempted to assassinate Steele in 1937. During World War II he rose to the rank of Admiral and his fleet won the U.S. a major victory against the Japanese at the Battle of Midway.[5]

Literary CommentEdit

Raymond Spruance does not appear in the short story at all.


  1. Joe Steele, pg. 101, HC.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 102-104.
  3. Ibid, pgs. 104-106.
  4. Ibid, pgs. 107-108.
  5. Ibid, pgs. 265-266.
Military offices
Preceded by
Chester Nimitz
Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet
Succeeded by
John H. Towers
Preceded by
William Pye
President of the Naval War College
Succeeded by
Donald B. Beary
Political offices
Preceded by
Myron M. Cowen
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
Succeeded by
Homer S. Ferguson