Thomas Kinkaid, the son of a rear admiral, was born in Hannover, New Hampshire, United States, on 3rd April, 1888. He attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated in 1908 (136/201) and joined the United States Navy.
Kinkaid became an expert in ordnance and gunnery and in 1932 was appointed as technical adviser at the Geneva Disarmament Conference. He also served as a naval attaché in Rome and Belgrade before being promoted to rear admiral.
Kinkaid was sent to Hawaii after the bombing of Pearl Harbor where he was appointed commander of Cruiser Division 6 and made several raids on the Japanese held Gilbert Islands. He also took part in the battle of Coral Sea where he was responsible for the heavy cruisers Minneapolis and New Orleans and the four destroyers protecting the Lexington.
At the battle of Midway he served under Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance but played a more important role in the Guadalcana landings on 7th August 1942. As head of Task Force 16 he took part in a series of dramatic battles against Nobutake Kondo.
In October, 1942, TG 16 (Enterprise) and TG 17 (Hornet) were combined to form TG 61 and was placed under the command of Kinkaid. He once again faced Nobutake Kondo at the battles that took place at Santa Cruz Islands (26th-27th October, 1942). During the battle Hornet was sunk and the Enterprise was severely damaged. However, the Japanese Navy had greater difficulty replacing her losses and found it difficult to provide supplies to the Japanese Army in the region.
Kinkaid was promoted to vice admiral on 9th June, 1943, five months later took over the command of the 7th Fleet. At the battle for Leyte Gulf (24th-25th October 1944) Kinkaid once again showed that he was not only a great tactician but had the ability to work closely with the army and airforce.
During the battle Admiral William Halsey fell into a Japanese trap when he headed north with all 64 ships to attack Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa. He left the San Bernardino Strait unprotected and only the actions of Kinkaid and the 7th Fleet prevented a military disaster.
After the war Kinkaid was commander of the Eastern Sea Frontier before retiring on 30th May 1950. Thomas Kinkaid died in Washington on 17th November 1972.