DAVID H. SWENSON, JR., LTJG, USN

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Lucky Bag

From the 1948-A Lucky Bag:

1948 Swenson LB.jpg

David H. Swenson

Taylor, Texas

"Two-block that face, Swenson!" followed by a cheery "Aye, Aye, Sir." was our first introduction to this Texas maverick. Good-natured, full-of-fun Swede soon took to the Academy life. He spent his time excelling in football as well as playing hob with the Academic Departments' well-planned courses by starring in all of them. Swede used his little spare time helping his classmates through the toughies which came easy to him. Somehow he always found time for a game of bridge and the Saturday night movie. Swede's service to our class has been unselfish and outstanding and it's a sure bet that his record in the future will be just as good.

David commanded the Brigade of Midshipmen (2nd set) and was on the football team. He graduated with the class of 1948-A, the last of the wartime-accelerated classes, in June 1947. (The bottom half of the class by academic standing, designated 1948-B, completed an extra year and graduated in June 1948.)

Loss

From Together We Served:

On 12 September 1950, the Lyman K. Swenson sailed as a ship of Task Element 90.62, the Destroyer Element of the Gunfire Support Group of the Inchon Attack Force. The following day at noon the six-ship Destroyer Element stood into Inchon harbor. On the way in, they encountered a mine field. Because it was low tide, the mines were visible, floating on the surface. Lyman K. Swenson destroyed one mine with 40-mm gunfire.

After anchoring in assigned positions, the destroyers conducted a one-hour bombardment against observed and suspected gun positions on the island of Wolmi-do and in the city of Inchon. This reconnaissance-in-force was intended to draw the fire of North Korean batteries. Thus their location would be revealed for neutralization by destroyer or cruiser gunfire, or by air strikes. The bombardment was highly successful. The press, and later on the historians, aptly dubbed the ships of the Destroyer Element as "Sitting Ducks." Upon retirement from the harbor, some enemy guns that had not been silenced opened up on the narrow channel through which the destroyers had to pass. Shell fragments killed LTJG David H. Swenson and wounded another officer on board Swenson during channel transit. The next day, LTJG Swenson was buried at sea.

Silver Star

Burial at sea of Lt. (jg) David H. Swenson on board the USS Toledo CA-133. The USS Lyman K. Swenson DD-729 is seen in the background.

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade David H. Swenson, Jr. (NSN: 0-498457), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving in U.S.S. LYMAN K. SWENSON (DD-729), in the Korean area on 13 September 1950. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Swenson, while assigned the duties of Gunnery Liaison Officer, was charged with ascertaining from available information on hand the correct and specific targets on which his ship should fire during its bombardment of Inchon, Korea, on 13 September 1950, and to keep the ship's gunner control officer informed accordingly. While carrying out his assigned duties of observing the effect of his ship's gunfire on the enemy shore batteries and applying that information to the ship's gunfire charts in order that the guns could receive accurate revised target data, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Swenson was struck by enemy counter-battery fire and instantly killed. By his courageous action and devotion to duty in refusing to leave his unprotected post in the face of heavy enemy fire, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Swenson was responsible for obtaining and furnishing such valuable information to the gunnery control officer that he definitely assisted his ship to escape damage from enemy gunfire, thereby providing a material contribution to the war effort of the Korean Campaign. His conduct served as an inspiration to the members of the ship's company and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 1090 (November 20, 1950)
Action Date: September 13, 1950
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Division: U.S.S. Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729)

He had no relation to the ship's namesake, Capt. Lyman K. Swenson.

Related Articles

Charles Strahley '48 and Robert Smith '48 were also also on the football team.


Class Navigation

Class of 1948
David is one of 46 members of the Class of 1948 in Memorial Hall.
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