DAMON M. CUMMINGS, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Damon Cummings '31

Date of birth: January 30, 1910

Date of death: November 13, 1942

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1931 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Damon was lost when USS San Francisco (CA 38) was severely damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. He was on the staff of the Commander, South Pacific Force (aka Task Force 67), led by Daniel Callaghan '11, who was also lost in this action.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

He is buried at sea and his memorial is on the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Biography

From Wikipedia:

Damon Morris Cummings was born on January 30, 1910 in Belvidere, Illinois, the son of then-Ensign (later Captain) Damon Earhart Cummings (1885–1969) and Ennis Frances Morris. He graduated in 1927 from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., and from the United States Naval Academy on June 4, 1931.

He served in heavy cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) and destroyer USS Monaghan (DD-354) and had staff duty at Naval Submarine Base New London at New London, Connecticut, and with Destroyer Squadron 3 (DesRon 3).

While serving on the staff of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey—the Commander, South Pacific Force (COMSOPAC) -- Lieutenant Commander Cummings was killed in action on board heavy cruiser San Francisco (CA-38) on the night of 12–13 November 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Damon Morris Cummings (NSN: 0-70295), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession on the Staff of the Commander, South Pacific Force, serving on board 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 Lieutenant Commander Cummings 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, Lieutenant Commander Cummings 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. 312 (March 1943)
Action Date: November 12 - 13, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Staff of the Commander
Regiment: South Pacific Force
Division: U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38)

Namesake

USS Damon M. Cummings (DE 643) was named for Damon; the ship was sponsored by his widow.

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 1931

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Alfred Grove '30, ENS Arthur Spring '30, ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31, and ENS Lion Miles '31.

October 1931

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Alfred Grove '30, ENS Arthur Spring '30, ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31, and ENS Lion Miles '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

January 1932

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Arthur Spring '30, ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31, and ENS Lion Miles '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

April 1932

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Arthur Spring '30, ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31, and ENS Lion Miles '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

October 1932

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Alfred Grove '30, ENS Arthur Spring '30, and ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

January 1933

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Alfred Grove '30, ENS Arthur Spring '30, and ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

April 1933

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14 and ENS Alfred Grove '30.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

July 1933

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: ENS Alfred Grove '30 and 2LT Cleo Keen '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S) and ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

October 1933

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Grove '30 and 2LT Cleo Keen '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S) and ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

April 1934

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Grove '30 and 2LT Cleo Keen '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S) and ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

July 1934

Ensign, USS Northampton

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Grove '30, 2LT Cleo Keen '32, and ENS Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S) and ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

October 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Northampton

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Grove '30 and ENS Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S) and LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

January 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Northampton

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Grove '30 and ENS Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S).

April 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

October 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

January 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

April 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

July 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

January 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan

April 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), communications officer, USS Monaghan

October 1939

Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

June 1940

Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command: LT Hilan Ebert '26.

November 1940

Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command: LT Hilan Ebert '26.

April 1941

Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command: LCDR Hilan Ebert '26.


Class of 1931

Damon is one of 51 members of the Class of 1931 on Virtual Memorial Hall.