ARTHUR E. LOESER, LCDR, USN
Arthur Loeser '27
Date of birth: April 17, 1903
Date of death: November 13, 1942
From the 1927 Lucky Bag:
His wife was listed as next of kin.
Arthur Edward Loeser (born 17 April 1903 in Rahway, New Jersey); appointed to the United States Naval Academy on 15 August 1923; and commissioned ensign on 2 June 1927.
After serving from 1927–29 in the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), from 1929–32 in the destroyer Hopkins (DD-249), in the cruiser Rochester (CA-2) in 1932, in the gunboat Asheville (PG-21) in 1933, and in Chicago (CA-29) in 1934, Loeser completed two years of postgraduate work at the Naval Academy. Two years in the battleship Mississippi (BB-41) were followed by two in Sampson (DD-394) as engineering officer. From June 1940 to August 1941 he served with Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Bath, Maine.
On 2 September 1941 Lieutenant Commander Loeser reported aboard light cruiser Atlanta (CL-51) as engineering officer. Lieutenant Commander Loeser was killed in action on 13 November 1942 when enemy torpedoes crippled Atlanta in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
From Atlanta's Ordeal:
Especially concerned with his crew of engineers who were sealed below decks in the firerooms and engine rooms, Atlanta’s chief engineer, LCdr Arthur Loeser, had arranged for topside talkers to keep him abreast of what was going on outside while he relayed a running commentary via loudspeakers from his station in the forward engine room. Thus, the engineering staff throughout the cruiser was listening as Lieutenant Commander Loeser described the first seconds of the gunnery exchange—"We’re really putting rounds into them!"
The vanguard Japanese destroyer captains, drilled to perfection in their navy’s highly aggressive torpedo tactics, exploited their initial immediate advantage and supplemented the gunfire with several salvos of their deadly 24-inch Long Lance torpedoes.
Crewmen in blind engineering spaces throughout the ship heard LCdr Arthur Loeser’s mike open once again. Loeser said, "Ah . . ." and the entire world fell in. Loeser’s voice was stilled in mid sentence—and forever.
The first Japanese torpedo to find any target struck Atlanta on the port side, nearly amidships and exactly in the center of her forward engine room. In addition to killing virtually everyone on the forward engine room, the detonation blasted a hole in the overhead and killed nearly everyone manning a damage-control station in the crew’s mess. The shock of the massive detonation lifted the light cruiser right out of the water.
USS Loeser (DE 680) was named for Arthur; the ship was sponsored by his widow.