ALBERT M. BONTIER, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Albert Bontier '35

Date of birth: October 14, 1913

Date of death: October 3, 1944

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1935 Lucky Bag:


Loss

1935 Bontier 1.jpg

Albert was lost when USS Seawolf (SS 197) was probably sunk by friendly fire from USS Richard M. Rowell off Morotai on October 3, 1944. He was the boat's commanding officer; it was his second war patrol as CO of Seawolf.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Career

From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Holland (AS-3) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Oct 1939
  • Under Instruction Submarine School New London Jan 1940 - Jun 1940
  • Gunnery Officer USS S-23 (SS-128) Jul 1940 - 1 Apr 1941
  • Gunnery & Torpedo Officer USS Spearfish (SS-190) Dec 1941 - Dec 1942
  • Duty including Relief Crew Commander Submarine Division Twenty Two Jul 1943 - Oct 1943
  • Executive Officer USS Sculpin (SS-191) 1 Apr 1943 - 1 Jul 1943
  • Captain USS Razorback (SS-394) 3 Apr 1944 - 5 Jun 1944
  • Captain USS Seawolf (SS-197) 30 Jun 1944 - 3 Oct 1944
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 6 Jun 1938
  • Lieutenant 8 Dec 1941
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 1 May 1943
  • Commander (T) 1 Mar 1944

He was relieved of command of USS Razorback (SS 394) after the boat grounded during trials.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Albert Marion Bontier (NSN: 0-74825), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in the performance of his duties as Assistant Approach Officer in the U.S.S. SPEARFISH (SS-190), during the THIRD War Patrol of that Submarine in the Southwest Pacific Area from 27 March 1942 to 20 May 1942. His excellent judgment and thorough knowledge of attack problems assisted his Commanding Officer in conducting attacks which resulted in the sinking of two enemy ships, totaling 10,000 tons. In addition, he assisted considerably in completing a special mission where many military and naval personnel were rescued from an island fortress under constant enemy attack. His coolness and high devotion to duty contributed directly to the success of his vessel in evading severe enemy countermeasures. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to all with whom he served, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief, Pacific: Serial 01090 (June 11, 1946)
Action Date: March 27 - May 20, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Division: U.S.S. Spearfish (SS-190)

Other

His widow was the sponsor of USS Salmon (SS 573) in 1956.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1935

Ensign, USS Colorado

Others at this command: LTjg Andrew Stewart '31, LTjg Thomas Williamson '32, ENS Ned Wentz '33, and ENS Victor Gadrow '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 4B).

January 1936

Ensign, USS Colorado

Others at this command: LTjg Andrew Stewart '31, LTjg Thomas Williamson '32, ENS Ned Wentz '33, and ENS Victor Gadrow '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 4B).

April 1936

Ensign, USS Omaha

Others at this command: LT Robley Clark '24, LTjg John Reybold '26, LTjg Joshua Nix '30, and LTjg Benjamin Ghetzler '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Edward Allen '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 6B).

July 1936

Ensign, USS Bontier

January 1937

Ensign, USS Wickes

April 1937

Ensign, USS Wickes

September 1937

Ensign, USS Blue

January 1938

Ensign, USS Blue

July 1938

Ensign, USS Blue

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Blue

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Holland

June 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-23

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-23

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-23


Class of 1935

Albert is one of 56 members of the Class of 1935 on Virtual Memorial Hall.