...was seeing this in the Engineering profession until the late 90's when the road to promotion was to get a MBA on top of your engineering degree. In either case, people who had no business being in charge, were put there.
This is copied from a post I made some years ago in another thread. I think it still applies.
I suppose that there will be a few darts sent my way with this observation, but here goes anyway. Some of the discussion about why Callaghan was selected seems to imply that he was somehow singled out for command of the scratch force. If I understand correctly, there were three resupply convoys at Guadalcanal that morning. Callaghan had been selected to command one of those and Scott was in charge of another. The men and their flagships had been chosen only for the convoys, up to that point. When word of the looming IJN threat was received, certain ships were selected from among those already present to make up the scratch force. They were picked as much for remaining fuel and ammunition as for fighting qualities. Since the force included Callaghan and Scott's flagships, they were included in the force with their flagships. After that decision was made, the senior man had command - period. Those warships not selected for the scratch force escorted the supply ships out of the area. (They might have been useful in the coming action, but leaving the supply ships unprotected was not considered an option.)
At Midway, had Halsey been able to go, he would have been in charge. Why? Because he would have been senior. But with Spruance in command of TF-16, Fletcher was in overall command because he was senior to Spruance. Having experience from the Coral Sea was a bonus. So had Halsey been present, seniority would have won out over recent combat experience in the selection for commander. That was just the way it was.
As for Spruance at Midway, Spruance was selected at Pearl after Halsey was "grounded". He was the senior man in TF-16, but was junior to Fletcher in TF-17. Spruance was selected over men with more seniority, but was not placed in command over them.
why Callahan was given command of the cruiser task force just because he was a few days senior to the tested and schooled Scott. Halsey is in charge at Guadalcanal. He had put Spruance, Junior to other carrier officers in his place for Midway. Why would he follow "tradition" for such an important situation? Just puzzled, especially in light of the resulting mess. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe his "actions" brought his cruisers closer in to the battleship resulting in more effective hits but....