ARTHUR V. ELY, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Arthur Ely '35

Date of birth: March 8, 1912

Date of death: June 4, 1942

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1935 Lucky Bag:

Obituary

From Find A Grave:

Doc graduated from the Academy on 06 Jun 1935 with a commission as an Ensign, USN. He also held a special qualification as a German language interpreter. He reported aboard the heavy cruiser, USS Houston (CA-30), for his first sea duty tour after graduation on 28 Jun 1935. Nearly three years later in May 1938 Ens. Ely was transferred from the USS Houston to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. He was promoted to Lt (jg) on 06 Jun 1938. He reported to Pensacola to began flight instruction on 27 Jun 1938. As of 01 July 1939 Ltjg Ely had received his designation as a naval aviator (heavier than air), and he was still assigned "under instruction" at NAS Pensacola. Ltjg Ely was transferred from NAS Pensacola to Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6) on 27 July 1939. Ltjg Ely was promoted to Lieutenant on 01 Jan 1942. He was made executive officer of VT-6 prior to Jun 1942.

On the morning of 4 Jun 1942 aircraft from the USS Enterprise's air group launched to attack the Japanese carrier striking force that was approaching the Midway atoll. Without combat air protection, Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6) had to thread their way through a gauntlet of swarming enemy fighters and a hail of anti-aircraft fire. Of the fourteen torpedo planes that took off from the Enterprise that morning only four survived the attack. The squadron's executive officer, Lt Arthur V. Ely and his gunner/radioman RM3 Arthur R. Lindgren did not return from this mission, and they were listed as missing in action. Their remains were unrecoverable. On 5 Jun 1943 they were "presumed" dead. Lt Ely was awarded the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Arthur Vincent Ely (NSN: 0-75039), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron SIX (VT-6), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Participating in a vigorous and intensive assault against the Japanese invasion fleet, Lieutenant Ely pressed home his attack with relentless determination in the face of a terrific barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The unprecedented conditions under which his squadron launched its offensive were so exceptional that it is highly improbably the occasion may ever recur where other pilots of the service will be called upon to demonstrate an equal degree of gallantry and fortitude. His extreme disregard of personal safety contributed materially to the success of our forces and his loyal conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)
Action Date: 4-Jun-42
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Torpedo Squadron 6 (VT-6)
Division: U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6)

Namesake

USS Ely (DE 309) was named for Art; the ship was sponsored by his widow. Ely was launched but never completed. There's a photo of Ann, Art's widow, christening the vessel at the above link and another that looks to be from the same day at Find A Grave.


Class of 1935

Arthur is one of 56 members of the Class of 1935 in Memorial Hall.