BRUCE T. SIMONDS, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Bruce Simonds '41

Date of birth: November 27, 1918

Date of death: October 16, 1952

Age: 33

Lucky Bag

From the 1941 Lucky Bag:


Loss

1941 Simonds 1.jpg

From Find A Grave:

USNA Class of 1941, Commander Simonds was a decorated veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was the Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron 702 and the pilot of an AD-4L Skyraider dive bomber aboard the carrier USS KEARSARGE (CVA-33). On October 16, 1952, his plane crashed on take-off. He could not get himself free from his parachute and drowned.

He had taken command on December 6, 1951.

His wife survived him; she later remarried to a 1936 Naval Academy graduate who retired as a Vice Admiral.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Commander Bruce Thomas Simonds (NSN: 0-100250), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron SEVEN HUNDRED TWO (VA-702), embarked in U.S.S. KEARSARGE (CV-33), on 26 September 1952.

General Orders: All Hands (April 1954)
Action Date: September 26, 1952
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Attack Squadron 702 (VA-702)
Division: U.S.S. Kearsarge (CV-33)

Memorial Hall Error?

Bruce is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall. While not an obvious error, inclusion on the panel for crashes like this (incidental to combat flights) has been inconsistent across WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

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.

April 1941

Ensign, USS Chicago

Others at this command: LCDR Robert Bedilion '22, LCDR William Graham, Jr. '25, LT Ward Bronson '31, ENS Herold Harveson '37, ENS Joseph Harmon '39, ENS Burton Haker '40, and ENS Clarence Blair '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT John Armstrong, Jr. '30 (Cruiser Division 4).


Class of 1941

Bruce is one of 60 members of the Class of 1941 on Virtual Memorial Hall.