CASSIN YOUNG, CAPT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Cassin Young '16

Date of birth: March 6, 1894

Date of death: November 13, 1942

Age: 48

Lucky Bag

From the 1916 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From the 1916 Lucky Bag
1916 Young 1.jpg

Cassin was lost when USS San Francisco (CA 38) was severely damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. He was the ship's commanding officer.

His wife, Eleanor, was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his son, who was awarded the Silver Star in WWII prior to graduating the Naval Academy in 1950.. He has a memory marker in South Carolina.

Biography

1916 Young 2.jpg

From Wikipedia and the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Young was born in Washington, D.C., on March 6, 1894. He would move to Wisconsin, which his military records state as his official residence. At the age of 2 he moved to Milwaukee where his father operated a drug store. After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy on June 3, 1916, he served on the battleship USS Connecticut into 1919. He attended submarine school in 1919 and then spent several years in submarines. During that period, he served on submarines USS R-22 (SS-99) and USS R-3 (SS-80). In 1921, he and his family returned from Panama and he assisted in outfitting the USS S-51. From January 1923, until June 1925, he was on duty in the Office of Naval Communications, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and from July 1925 to July 1928, he was aid on staff, Commander, Submarine Division, Battle Fleet.

He was instructor in the Department of Engineering and Aeronautics at the Naval Academy from August, 1928 until May 1931, and during the summer of 1930 made the practice cruise with the midshipmen to Northern European ports. From June, 1931 to December 1932, he served as communication officer in USS New York, and during the next five months, as her first lieutenant. Following that duty he commanded USS Evans (DD 78) for two years. He was on duty at Headquarters, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, from March, 1935, until March 1937, when he assumed command of Submarine Division Seven, with additional duty in 1938 as Commander, Experimental Division Two. In July 1939, Captain Young reported for duty as executive officer, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, and in October 1941, returned to sea as commanding officer of USS Vestal.

Vestal was moored to the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) on December 7, 1941; Vestal was damaged directly by the Japanese attack and indirectly by damage to Arizona. Commander Young rapidly organized offensive action, personally taking charge of one of Vestal's anti-aircraft guns. When Arizona's forward magazine exploded, the blast blew Young overboard. Although stunned, he was determined to save his ship by getting her away from the blazing Arizona. Swimming through burning oil back to Vestal, which was already damaged, Young got her underway to an anchorage before ultimately beaching her, thus ensuring her later salvage. His heroism was recognized with the Medal of Honor.

Promoted to captain in February 1942, he took command of the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38) on November 9, 1942. (Note: several sources claim he commanded San Francisco in the Battle of Cape Esperance; this is incorrect.)

On November 13, 1942, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, he guided his ship in action with a superior Japanese force and was killed by enemy shells while closely engaging the battleship Hiei. Captain Young was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the campaign and San Francisco received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Medal of Honor

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Commander Cassin Young (NSN: 0-9615), United States Navy, for distinguished conduct in action, outstanding heroism and utter disregard of his own safety, above and beyond the call of duty, as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. VESTAL (AR-4), during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by enemy Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Commander Young proceeded to the bridge and later took personal command of the three-inch anti-aircraft gun. When blown overboard by the blast of the forward magazine explosion of the U.S.S. ARIZONA, to which the U.S.S. VESTAL was moored, he swam back to his ship. The entire forward part of the U.S.S. ARIZONA was a blazing inferno with oil afire on the water between the two ships; as a result of several bomb hits, the U.S.S. VESTAL was afire in several places, was settling and taking on a list. Despite severe enemy bombing and strafing at the time, and his shocking experience of having been blown overboard, Commander Young, with extreme coolness and calmness, moved his ship to an anchorage distant from the U.S.S. ARIZONA, and subsequently beached the U.S.S. VESTAL upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.

Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Vestal (AR-4)

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Cassin Young (NSN: 0-9615), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Captain Young was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Captain Young contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld 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. 313 (April 1943)
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38)

Namesake

USS Cassin Young (DD 793) was named for Cassin; the ship was sponsored by his widow. The ship is now a museum in Boston Harbor.

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.

January 1917

Ensign, USS Connecticut

March 1918

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Connecticut

January 1919

Lieutenant, USS Delaware

January 1920

Lieutenant, USS R-22

January 1921

Lieutenant, commanding officer, USS R-23

January 1922

Lieutenant, commanding officer, USS R-23

May 1923

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


Others at this command:

July 1923

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


Others at this command:

September 1923

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


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November 1923

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


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January 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


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March 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.


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May 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

July 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

September 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

November 1924

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

January 1925

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

March 1925

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

May 1925

Lieutenant, Communications Office, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

July 1925

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Savannah

October 1925

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Savannah

January 1926

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Savannah

October 1926

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Savannah

January 1927

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Holland

April 1927

Lieutenant, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Holland

October 1927

Lieutenant Commander, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Holland

January 1928

Lieutenant Commander, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Holland

April 1928

Lieutenant Commander, Submarine Divisions Staff, USS Holland

April 1930

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

1LT Charles Kail '23 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy)

July 1931

Lieutenant Commander, USS New York


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October 1931

Lieutenant Commander, USS New York


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January 1932

Lieutenant Commander, USS New York


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April 1932

Lieutenant Commander, USS New York


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October 1932

Lieutenant Commander, USS New York


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January 1933

Lieutenant Commander, 1st Lieutenant, USS New York


Others at this command:

April 1933

Lieutenant Commander, 1st Lieutenant, USS New York


Others at this command:

July 1933

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans


Others at this command:

October 1933

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans


Others at this command:

April 1934

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans

July 1934

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans

October 1934

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans

January 1935

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans

April 1935

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Evans

October 1935

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

January 1936

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

April 1936

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

July 1936

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

January 1937

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

April 1937

Lieutenant Commander, 11th Naval District

September 1937

Commander, commanding officer, Submarine Division 7, USS S-23

January 1938

Commander, commanding officer, Submarine Division 7, USS S-23

July 1938

Commander, commanding officer, Submarine Division 7, USS S-23

January 1939

Commander, commanding officer, Submarine Division 7, USS S-23

October 1939

Commander, executive officer, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut


Others at this command:

June 1940

Commander, executive officer, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at this command:

LTjg Robert Robertson '34 (Submarine Squadron 2, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut)

November 1940

Commander, executive officer, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut


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April 1941

Commander, executive officer, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut


Others at this command:


Class of 1916

Cassin is one of 16 members of the Class of 1916 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.