From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Daniel Baughman, Jr. '39

Date of birth: August 19, 1916

Date of death: January 12, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Dan was lost when USS Swordfish (SS-193) was sunk, probably by enemy vessels, off the Ryukyu Islands on January 12, 1945.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Maryland.

Unable to find citations for the Silver Star medal he was awarded.


From South Dakota Veteran Affairs:

Daniel Sparks Baughman was born on August 19, 1916 in San Francisco, California. He was the son of Dr. Daniel Sparks Baughman and Mary Foster Baughman. Daniel had three sisters named Shirley Foster, Mary Lou, and Nancy Jane, and two brothers named Richard Curtis and Thomas Patrick. Daniel’s hometown was in Madison, South Dakota; this is also where he attended some schooling but ended up graduating from the Culver Military Academy. He also attended the University of South Dakota. Some of Daniel’s interests involved Scouting and Athletics. He received an Eagle Scout Award with three palms from Dan Beard. Daniel’s only employment was the Navy. He had training in aviation, motor torpedo boats, and in submarines. He married Mary Caroline Hamner in Washington D.C. His sister Shirley B. O’Leary said that he was a brave, modest man, and he loved his family. He also was very enthusiastic about the Navy.

Baughman attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland from 1935-1939, the start of his Navy career. He also went to an aviation school in Pensacola, Florida and a submarine school. He was sent overseas in 1939 once on the U.S.S. Arizona and another on the U.S.S. Tarbell, on convoy duty protecting shipping in the North Atlantic (before war was declared). He was a Commander of a Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron. Baughman fought in many battles in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands versus enemy shipping, and submarine patrols on U.S.S. Barb and Swordfish.

This is a quote from Daniel. “You should see the tan I’m getting. I didn’t think it possible. You know I always have been susceptible to sunburn. Whew, I just lit a cigarette and just about burned my whiskers off. The boys are a grand bunch, and I like the duty here.” October 12, 1942, from MTB Ron #6, Division 17, c/o PM, San Francisco, to Mrs. Pat O’Leary.

Daniel Sparks Baughman was a navigator on the submarine Swordfish doing reconnaissance missions at the time that he perished. He was in the vicinity of Okinawa in December-January 1945. Baughman was not heard from after January 3, 1945. This is an excerpt from a letter from the Secretary of Navy, James Forrestal, “in view of the length of time that has now elapsed since he was reported missing and because there have been no official nor unconfirmed reports that any of the personnel of the vessel survived or were taken prisoners of war, I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that Lt. Baughman is deceased.” The information that he was missing was kept a secret (except from the family) until after the surrender of Japan. Daniel Baughman was declared lost at sea so there was no burial. He was awarded the [Silver Star with Gold Star in lieu of second award] with the torpedo boats. “On the night of December 24-25, 1942, he commanded a patrol which torpedoed and sank an enemy submarine, and on three subsequent occasions, he skillfully directed torpedo boats in the interception and destruction of landing craft bearing troops and supplies. By his inspiring leadership and courageous devotion to duty at great personal risk, he prevented urgently needed reinforcements and material from reaching the enemy.”

Lt. Commander Daniel Sparks Baughman is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Survivors of Daniel Sparks Baughman included Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Sparks Baughman, Shirley, Dick, Thomas Pat, Mary Lou, and Nancy. The only two current survivors are Mrs. Shirley B. O’Leary, Belle Fourche, South Dakota, and Mrs. Nancy Jane Phelps, Pullman, Washington. Daniel Sparks Baughman was a dearly beloved brother, who loved South Dakota, the Navy, and the USA.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Steven Keil, 11th grade, American Literature, Belle Fourche High School, Belle Fourche, South Dakota on December 14, 2001. Information for this article was provided by Shirley B. O’ Leary, Sister of Baughman, from Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

Wartime Service

Dan was commanding officer of PT Division 17 in late 1942. In June 1943 he was commanding officer of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron (MTB) 25, which "saw action in the New Guinea, New Britain, Halmaheras and Philippine waters." Some of his experiences are recounted in the book "At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy" by Robert J. Bulkley.

Class of 1939

Daniel is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.