BYRON A. KIRK, CAPT, USMC

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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: August 6, 1919
Date of death: November 1, 1943
Age: 24

Lucky Bag

1943 Kirk LB.jpg

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:

BYRON ANTHONY KIRK

Andover, South Dakota

"Don't tell me your troubles, Doc, I'm your friend, not your daddy. With these words "Brother" passed off any of his roommates' laments about the unrelenting system of naval life. A product of the Middle West, B. A. was determined to prove that a plainsman could become a good naval officer, even if he did have trouble developing his sea legs. Small in stature but abounding in words, "Brother" could squeeze into and talk himself out of most situations. His acid wit and take-offs on individuals never permitted a dull moment to pass. If the Marines don't get him, he will continue in his "never say die" attitude out in the fleet, striving not for height, but for perfection.

The Class of 1943 was graduated in June 1942 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

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 Navigation

Class of 1943
Byron is one of 77 members of the Class of 1943 in Memorial Hall.
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