BYRON A. KIRK, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Byron Kirk '43

Date of birth: August 6, 1919

Date of death: November 1, 1943

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From Find A Grave:

CAPTAIN

US MARINE CORPS WORLD WAR II

Byron Anthony Kirk a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa entered the US Naval Academy from Andover, South Dakota. 19 June, 1942 commissioned a Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant.

6 July, 1942 assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines (Rein), MCB New River, NC. 23-30 August, 1943 moved by rail to San Diego.

1 September, 1942 embarked SS Lurline at San Diego for movment overseas. 17 September, 1942 arrived American Samoa. During March, 1943 promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

23 May, 1943 embarked Naval Transport. 29 May, 1943 arrived Auckland, New Zealand billeted at Puhinui with the 3rd Marine Division.

22 July, 1943 embarked USS President Adams (APA-19) at Auckland. 28 July, 1943 at Noumea, New Caledonia, 1 August, 1943 arrived at Guadalcanal based at Camp Tetere.

3 October, 1943 embarked USS President Adams (APA-19). 17-28 October, 1943 landing rehearsals at Efate and Espirtu Santo, New Hebrides. Killed in Action during landing operations Blue Beach 1 Bougainville, 1 November, 1943.

Declared Missing in Action, 1 November, 1943.

Declared Dead 2 November, 1944.

Next of Kin: Parents, Mr Thomas B and Mrs Josephine M Kirk, 843 5th Avenue, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

19 February, 1946 promoted to Captain (Posthumously).

From USMC Historical Monograph, Bougainville and the Northern Solomons:

Typical of all these boats was No. 21, of the Adams. Embarked were Lieutenants Byron A. Kirk and Harris W. Shelton, with two squads of Kirk's 2d Platoon, Company C; a detachment of 1st Battalion Headquarters Company; and a demolition squad, Company C, 19th Marines. Less than 20 seconds before this boat was to reach the beach, three shells from the Japanese 75 hit the boat in rapid succession. The first shell killed the coxswain and put the boat out of control, while the second and third shells killed both lieutenants and 12 enlisted men, while wounding 14 others. Some survivors, under Sergeant Dick K. McAllister, went over the side, and by aiding one another were able to get to the beach, where they immediately engaged the Japanese defenders with rifles and hand grenades.24 Since the only way to get aid for the wounded was to get them back to the ship, Corporal John McNamara decided to attempt to get the boat underway. By this time the boat had drifted up on the beach, so McNamara and a seaman climbed aboard and backed it into the sea. Having been damaged, however, the craft was not seaworthy, and therefore sank. Only four or five of the wounded survived.

Byron has a memory marker in Iowa. His mother was listed as next of kin.


Class of 1943

Byron is one of 79 members of the Class of 1943 in Memorial Hall.