From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Sooy '38

Date of birth: January 13, 1917

Date of death: October 27, 1941

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


From the San Francisco Examiner on November 5, 1941. Located by Kathy Franz.


The Secretary of the Treasury awarded a Gold Life-saving Medal to Ensign James C. Houghton, U.S. Navy, for his courageous attempt to rescue the late Lt. (jg) Charles D. Sooy, U.S. Navy, swept overboard by heavy seas on Oct. 27, 1941.

A storm was raging in the North Atlantic, the ship rolling so heavily that lowering a life boat was impossible. From his position on the forecastle, Ensign Houghton saw that Lt. Sooy, apparently stunned, was making no effort to reach life ring buoys thrown close to him, saw his head drop forward under water, and he immediately dove overboard, swimming to Lt. Sooy's side. In the waves that broke continuously over them, Ensign Houghton struggled to hold the unconscious man's head out of the water as they were both pulled toward the ship where men on the rescue net grasped them. A violent roll of the ship to starboard engulfed the whole party and the reverse up-roll, tore Lt. Sooy from their grasp. Ensign Houghton risked the same fate as that of his brother officer by his courageous act and was hauled aboard in an almost unconscious condition.

He was serving aboard USS Hilary P. Jones (DD 427) when he died.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

“Dan” graduated from Taft Union High School in 1933. Football 2, 3, 4 (played end); Golf 4; Scholarship Society 1, 2, 3, 4; Latin Club 1, 2, 3, 4, President 3; Forensic Club 2, 3, 4, Debate Manager 2, President 3; Block “T” athletic society 4; Follies 2; Life Member California Scholarship Federation; First Place Central California Extemporé Contest 3; Interscholastic Debating 2, 3; Class Play 4 where he had the role of Adolphe De Boussac in the “Tower Room Mystery.”

Charles attended Drew Preparatory School in San Francisco prior to the Naval Academy. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. H. R. McAllister; his father, Frank H. Sooy, predeceased him.

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.

July 1938

Ensign, USS Chester

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LTjg George McCutchan '33 (Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5)

January 1939

Ensign, USS Chester

Others at this command:

October 1939

Ensign, USS Hovey

June 1940

Ensign, USS Hovey

November 1940

Ensign, USS Hillary P. Jones

April 1941

Ensign, USS Hillary P. Jones

Class of 1938

Charles is one of 72 members of the Class of 1938 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.