DAVID R. CONNOLE, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

David Connole '36

Date of birth: September 8, 1912

Date of death: March 28, 1945

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1936 Lucky Bag:

Loss

1936 Connole 1.jpg

David was lost when USS Trigger (SS 237) was sunk by Japanese surface forces in the East China Sea on March 28, 1945. He was the commanding officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Obituaries

"Connole's about 1942. Taken at the Ennis and Nellie (Rickart) Tunison home south of White Hall, Illinois. Nellie was a sister of Mary (Rickart) Connole. David (left), parents Henry and Mary (Rickart) Connole and brother Paul Henry (right)." Photo added by Gary Griswold on 23 May 2016.

From Find A Grave:

The Connole family name is Irish with David Connole's grandfather, Anthony, immigrating from County Clare, Ireland in the mid-1800's LO Carroilton, Illinois. David R. Connole was born on September 8, 1912 in Madison, Illnois as the first son of Henry Connole and Mary Rickart Connole. He did well in school and also became an Eagle Scout. After attending llinois College for two years, he gained entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1932 and graduated in 1936. For the next three years, he served aboard the cruiser USS Boise then entered Submarine School in New London.

David's wife, Vida Wimbrow was born on June 8, 1917 and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She and David met in 1935 and were married in 1938. This young Navy couple lived in New London, Connecticut, San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. During the war years, Vida lived in Annapolis. Their only son, Rickart Alan Connole, was born in September, 1944. David last saw his son at Rick's christening in November of 1944. From December of 1939 to August of 1943, Commander Connole served aboard the submarine USS Pompano which was involved in numerous war patrols in the Pacific and where he met Slade Cutter and they became friends. He then became executive officer of the USS Cuttlefish. In 1944 he took command of the USS Sennet and in 1945, he became the commanding officer of the USS Trigger. The USS Trigger was lost in battle off the coast of Japan in March of 1945.

From Destroyers Online:

The Connole family name is Irish with David Connole's grandfather, Anthony, immigrating from County Clare, Ireland in the mid-1800's LO Carroilton, Illinois. David R. Connole was born on September 8, 1912 in Madison, ILas the first son of Henry Connole and Mary Rickart Connole. He did well in school and also became an Eagle Scout. After attending llinois College for two years, he gained entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1932 and graduated in 1936. For the next three years, he served aboard the cruiser USS Boise then entered Submarine School.

From December 1939 to August 1943, Commander Connole served aboard the submarine USS Pompano which was involved in numerous war patrols in the Pacific. He then became executive officer of the USS Cuttlefish. In 1944, he took command of the USS Sennet and in 1945, he became the commanding officer of the USS Trigger. The U.S.S. Trigger was lost in battle off the coast of Japan in March, 1945.

Commander Connole was awarded two Silver Star medals, the Bronze Star medal and the U.S.S. Trigger earned the Presidential Unit Citation for three war patrols.

Vida Wimbrow was born on June 8, 1917 and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She and David met in 1935 and were married in 1938. This young Navy couple lived in New London, Connecticut, San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. During the war years, Vida lived in Annapolis. Their only son, Rickart Alan Connole, was born in September, 1944. David last saw his son at Rick's christening in November, 1944.

In 1949, Vida married Captain Roy S. Benson who, by coincidence, commanded the U.S.S. Trigger in 1942 and was an instructor of navigation to David Connole at the Naval Academy.

In honor of the U.S.S. Trigger and David Connole, Vida Connole Benson christened the second USS Trigger in 1951. Mary Rickart Connole, David's mother, christened the USS Connole on July 20, 1968. The US Navy and a number of associations have further honored David Connole and the USS Trigger with the establishment of memorials that specifically identify their names. Some of these memorials, which the author has visited, are listed below:

  • The David R. Connole Alpine Village Mall, Madison, IL
  • Submarine Museum and Memorial, Nautilus Park, New London, CT
  • Submarine Veterans of World War II, continuing memorial in monthly newsletter and at annual conventions where USS Trigger veterans gather
  • Submarine Veteran's Memorial, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
  • US Naval Academy Graduate's Memorial - Lost at Sea or in Battle, Annapolis, MD affairs
  • Battle Flag (original) of the USS Trigger, US Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, MD
  • US Naval History Museum, Naval Yard, Washington D.C.
  • Director of Naval History and Archives, Naval Yard, Washington D.C. - on file are the original logs of the USS Trigger, except for its final patrol.
  • Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
  • US Naval Base, San Diego, CA
  • Submarine Museum and Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI
  • Punchbowl National Cemetery, Honolulu, HI
  • Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL

The following is an excerpt from the History of the USS Connole 1969-1992, compiled and edited by Rickart A. Connole, August, 1992.

A Personal Statement By Rickart A. Connole:

The USS Connole is a sea going vessel .... engineered steel, sophisticated weapons, highly trained crew designed to he a naval fighting vessel to protect its homeland. It's impressive.

To be associated with this particular vessel has been special for me in my life time. First, the ship was named for my father. She was christened by my grandmother and I had the distinct thrill of riding her down the ways (the first of many memorable rides). Second, it carries the name of my family. One cannot keep from being overwhelmed when faced with two hundred sixty sailors all of whom are wearing baseball caps with my name on it!

Third, and foremost, was the opportunity to get to know the crew. It is great to see your name on the side of the ship, but, of course, a ship is inanimate. The relationship with the ship came "alive" when I got to know the commanding officers, ward room officers, chiefs and sailors over the years.

The significance of this relationship with the USS Connole crew centers on two factors of my upbringing:

I never had the opportunity to know my father. He was a Naval officer and commanded ships. What was it like to be at sea, among a ship community, in command? I am a Navy junior and continue to have a high interest in the Navy.

Getting to know the Commanding Officers has given me special insight into understanding what my father had experienced: the pressure, risk, challenge, tenacity to succeed, burden and thrill of leadership, recognition, glory, competition, concern, sorrow, separation from loved ones, intellectual requirements, guiding a group with never enough assets or information, pride of doing it right, success.... getting the E. Each Commanding Officer that I have had the opportunity to know has been very generous to include my family and me into many USS Connole activities. We have been very appreciative of the relationship with the ship and have had a sincere interest in its accomplishments.

Sure I'm proud of this ship; it carries my father's name. But what's really significant is the great job done by all and the tradition of excellence that was established. Each successive Commanding Officer and his crew built on their predecessors platform of achievements and set off for new goals. Each one was a success as was the total twenty-three year career go look at that ship you'll see the name Connole, and look at all those E's.

David's widow, Vida, later remarried another graduate, Roy Benson '29. Roy had coincidentally commanded Trigger earlier in the war and retired as a Rear Admiral in the 60s.

Career

From Fleet Organization:

  • Under Instruction Submarine School New London 1 Jul 1939 - Dec 1939
  • Duty including Engineering Officer & Diving Officer USS Pompano (SS-181) Dec 1939 - 1943
  • Captain USS Cuttlefish (SS-171) Sep 1943 - Dec 1944
  • Captain USS Trigger (SS-237) Feb 1945 - Mar 1945
  • Ensign 4 Jun 1936
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 4 Jun 1939
  • Lieutenant (T) 1 Jan 1942
  • Lieutenant 1 Feb 1942
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 1 May 1943
  • Commander (T) 15 Mar 1944

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant David Rickart Connole (NSN: 0-77013), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Diving Officer of the U.S.S. POMPANO (SS-181), during three successful and aggressive War Patrols which resulted in the sinking of an important amount of enemy shipping. During one severe and prolonged depth charge attack, when driven well below test depth and with an excessive amount of water flooded into the ship, his calm and capable performance of duty under extremely adverse conditions made it possible to work the ship off the bottom and after surfacing 1,000 yards from a light house at the entrance to an enemy harbor, to successfully clear the enemy patrol and return to port. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 01623 (July 11, 1943)
Action Date: World War II
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Diving Officer
Division: U.S.S. Pompano (SS-181)

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant David Rickart Connole (NSN: 0-77013), United States Navy, for outstanding courage, intrepidity, skill and resourcefulness at his battle station as Diving Officer of the U.S.S. POMPANO (SS-181) during the THRID War Patrol of that Submarine in Japanese Empire waters from 19 July to 12 September 1942, which resulted in the credited sinking of a freighter, destroyer and patrol vessel. During one severe and prolonged depth charge attack when driven well below test depth and with an excessive amount of water flooded into the ship, Lieutenant Connole's calm and capable performance of duty under extremely adverse conditions made it possible to work POMPANO off the bottom and after surfacing 1,000 yards from a light house at the entrance to an enemy harbor, to successfully clear the enemy patrol and return to port. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to the officers and men in his ship and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Pacific Fleet Board Awards: Serial 0373 (February 16, 1948)
Action Date: July 19 - September 12, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Diving Officer
Division: U.S.S. Pompano (SS-181)

Bronze Star

Unable to find a citation for the Bronze Star medal he was awarded during WWII.

Namesake

USS Connole (FF 1056) was named for David.


Class of 1936

David is one of 39 members of the Class of 1936 in Memorial Hall.