DOUGLAS E. SMITH, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Douglas Smith '25

Date of birth: June 12, 1903

Date of death: October 24, 1944

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1925 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Douglas was lost when the Japanese "Hell Ship" he was aboard, Arisan Maru, was sunk by an American submarine on October 24, 1944.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

Before his capture, he was commanding officer of USS Oahu (PR 6) since sometime in 1940. In November 1941, he successfully brought his command — a river gunboat that was never designed for the open ocean — from China to Manila. The ship operated in and around Manila Bay until she was destroyed by artillery fire on May 5, 1942, the day before the fall of Corregidor.

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 Douglas Elwin Smith (NSN: 0-59535), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the River Gunboat U.S.S. OAHU (PR-6), in combat against the enemy from 7 December 1941 through 2 April 1942, in the Philippine Islands. While exposed to frequent horizontal and dive bombing attacks by enemy Japanese air forces, Lieutenant Commander Smith directed the anti-aircraft batteries of his ship and conducted operations of strategic importance involving hazardous missions such as to bring great credit to his command and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Oahu (PR-6)
General Orders: Commander 16th Naval District: District. 281200 NCR 7859 (April 29, 1942)

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

Lieutenant Commander Douglas Elwin Smith (NSN: 0-59535), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

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 1925

Ensign, USS New Mexico

Others at this command: LT Albert Rooks '14 and ENS Julian Morrison, Jr. '25.

October 1925

Ensign, USS New Mexico

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Willford Hyman '24, ENS Jack DeShazo '25, and ENS Julian Morrison, Jr. '25.

January 1926

Ensign, USS New Mexico

Others at this command: LCDR Albert Rooks '14, ENS Jack DeShazo '25, and ENS Julian Morrison, Jr. '25.

October 1927

Ensign, USS Kennedy

January 1928

Ensign, USS Kennedy

April 1928

Ensign, USS Paul Hamilton

July 1928

Ensign, USS Paul Hamilton

October 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

January 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

April 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

July 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

October 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

January 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

April 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

October 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

January 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Paul Hamilton

April 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Oglala

July 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Oglala

October 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Oglala

January 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Oglala

April 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), 14th Naval District

Others at this command: LTjg Joyce Ralph '23.

October 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

January 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

April 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

July 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

October 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

April 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

July 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

October 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

January 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

April 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), aide to commandant, 14th Naval District

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Harry Bolles '23 (Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor & 14th Naval District).

October 1935

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: LT Burton Doggett '24, ENS George Nicol '34, ENS Clark Hood, Jr. '35, and ENS John Downing '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

January 1936

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: LT Burton Doggett '24, ENS George Nicol '34, ENS Clark Hood, Jr. '35, and ENS John Downing '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

April 1936

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS George Nicol '34, ENS Clark Hood, Jr. '35, and ENS John Downing '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

July 1936

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS Clark Hood, Jr. '35, ENS David Zabriskie, Jr. '36, ENS James Southerland, II '36, ENS John Hunter '36, ENS Joseph Evans '36, and ENS Richard Meyers '36.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B) and ENS George Nicol '34 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

January 1937

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS Clark Hood, Jr. '35, ENS David Zabriskie, Jr. '36, ENS James Southerland, II '36, ENS John Hunter '36, ENS Joseph Evans '36, and ENS Richard Meyers '36.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B) and ENS George Nicol '34 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

April 1937

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: LTjg James Kyes '30, LTjg George Stone '31, LTjg Winsor Gale '31, and ENS James Southerland, II '36.

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS George Nicol '34 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

September 1937

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS James Southerland, II '36.

January 1938

Lieutenant, USS New York

Others at this command: LT Eugene Sarsfield '26 and ENS James Southerland, II '36.

July 1938

Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Others at this command: CAPT Isaac Kidd '06, CDR Albert Rooks '14, CDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15, and LT Adolph Hede '25.

January 1939

Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Others at this command: CDR Albert Rooks '14 and CDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15.

October 1939

Lieutenant, under instruction, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: CAPT Robert English '11, CDR Robert Smith, Jr. '19, LCDR James Carney '21, LCDR Joseph Hubbard '21, LT Louis LeHardy '26, LT John Coll '27, LT Millard Klein '31, and LTjg Herbert Coleman '32.

June 1940

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Oahu

Others at this command: LTjg Louis Gulliver, Jr. '36.

November 1940

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Oahu

Others at this command: LTjg Louis Gulliver, Jr. '36.

April 1941

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Oahu

Others at this command: LTjg Louis Gulliver, Jr. '36.


Class of 1925

Douglas is one of 30 members of the Class of 1925 on Virtual Memorial Hall.