EDWIN M. CROUCH, CAPT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Edwin Crouch '21

Date of birth: February 2, 1900

Date of death: July 30, 1945

Age: 45

Lucky Bag

From the 1921 Lucky Bag:

1921 Crouch LB.jpg

Edwin Mason Crouch

Deadwood, South Dakota

"Eddie" "Deadwood Dick"

TIRED of digging gold and chasing cattle rustlers, our Eddie decided to leave the pure and simple life. Result: he is Deadwood's first representative to graduate from Uncle Sam's Navy School. All of Deadwood's cow-punchers, cowgirls, and miners turned out to see the prodigal son depart, but in all that crowd, to Eddie there was only one—the belle of Deadwood.

When the Upper Classes returned, Eddie was shanghied to the barracks, where we first learned his real nature; demerits, extra duty, conduct grades, and trees—nothing bothered this quiet easy-going westerner except "Mail Ho!" and one day when the overland stage was held up and a little pink letter failed to come, Eddie's worries began.

Did you ever bust into his room on a Saturday night after taps, the smoke thick, sizzling fudge, toast and perhaps a hot flatiron to keep his feet warm on cold nights?

Eddie is seldom rhino. He can hit the pap, take your duty, or make a big liberty, and do them all with the same good-natured grin. He says that he is going to lead a wild life for a few years, and then settle down in a nice little home in the West. But we have our doubts.

Buzzard (2, 1); Sub Squad (4, 3, 2, 1); Lucky Bag Staff (2); Co. Representative (1).


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Edwin was graduated with 1921B.

1921 Crouch LB.jpg

Edwin Mason Crouch

Deadwood, South Dakota

"Eddie" "Deadwood Dick"

TIRED of digging gold and chasing cattle rustlers, our Eddie decided to leave the pure and simple life. Result: he is Deadwood's first representative to graduate from Uncle Sam's Navy School. All of Deadwood's cow-punchers, cowgirls, and miners turned out to see the prodigal son depart, but in all that crowd, to Eddie there was only one—the belle of Deadwood.

When the Upper Classes returned, Eddie was shanghied to the barracks, where we first learned his real nature; demerits, extra duty, conduct grades, and trees—nothing bothered this quiet easy-going westerner except "Mail Ho!" and one day when the overland stage was held up and a little pink letter failed to come, Eddie's worries began.

Did you ever bust into his room on a Saturday night after taps, the smoke thick, sizzling fudge, toast and perhaps a hot flatiron to keep his feet warm on cold nights?

Eddie is seldom rhino. He can hit the pap, take your duty, or make a big liberty, and do them all with the same good-natured grin. He says that he is going to lead a wild life for a few years, and then settle down in a nice little home in the West. But we have our doubts.

Buzzard (2, 1); Sub Squad (4, 3, 2, 1); Lucky Bag Staff (2); Co. Representative (1).


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Edwin was graduated with 1921B.

Loss

Edwin was lost in USS Indianapolis (CA 35) when she was sunk by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945. He was aboard as a passenger; he was a good friend of Indianapolis's captain, Charles McVay (USNA 1920). Edwin was staying in the Captain's inport cabin for the cruise; McVay was in the at-sea cabin, which was steps from the bridge.

Other Information

His wife, Jean, was listed as next of kin. He has one memory marker in California and another in Nebraska.

Career

At the beginning of the war, Edwin was commanding officer of Destroyer Division 57, headquartered in the Philippines.

From a forum post:

  • Captain (temp. from 20 June 1942)
  • Commander (permanent from 8 Dec 1941)
  • Has Bronze Star medal
  • Born 2 February 1900
  • Date of entry into service 13 August 1917
  • Has completed postgraduate course in ordnance engineering (general)

Wartime Service

As DESDIV 57:

The final decision wherein USS Whipple (DD 217) departed the area after rescuing a number of the survivors from Pecos (AO 6) and Langley (AV 3), but leaving behind approximately 2/3 of the intermingled survivors, including previously wounded men from Houston (CA 30), Marblehead (CL 12), and Stewart (DD 224), was of course that of her captain, Lt. Cmdr. Eugene Karpe. But aboard were three USN officers who outranked him, Commanders E. Paul Abernathy (Pecos), Robert McConnell (Langley), and Edwin M. Crouch (ComDesDiv 57), who was Karpe's boss. The men in the water were those commanded by Abernathy and McConnell, who must have been reluctant to leave the survivors behind. One must remember the danger the destroyer was in: she was already overloaded with survivors, Japanese aircraft were almost certain to return the next day to finish the job, and there was more than one submarine warning during the night of the rescue. Fairly or unfairly, however, in the eyes of many, Crouch took a hefty share of the blame for Whipple's failure to hang around on the following morning.

For the sake of completeness and in way of reminder, USS Pecos (AO 6) was sunk in the Indian Ocean at around 3:30 p.m., March 1, 1942, by attacking aircraft launched from all four of the IJN carriers that would be lost three months later at Midway. USS Whipple (DD 217) arrived on the scene at 7:15 p.m. and began rescuing survivors shortly thereafter. After at least two alerts of submarines close aboard, thereupon leaving the area and returning for a brief resumption of rescue operations, Whipple cleared the area permanently a few minutes after 10 p.m., same date. [Details from Dwight R. Messimer, Pawns of War, 1983]

Edwin was mentioned by name by the commanding officer of Langley in his post-sinking report:

The Commander of Destroyer Division FIFTY-SEVEN, Commander E.M. Crouch, USN; the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. WHIPPLE, Lieut-Commander E.S. Karpe, USN, and the Commanding officer of the U.S.S. EDSALL, Lieutenant J.J, Nix, USN, deserve great credit for their skill and daring in maneuvering their vessels, prior to, during and after the action, in screening and in effecting the rescue of the LANGLEY survivors. The remarkable high percentage of effectiveness in rescuing the wounded is due to the preparedness and to the effective ship handling on the part of the destroyer captains. A careful check of survivors at this time showed a maximum of six (6) killed and five (5) missing.

Also in the report:

The decision of the Division Commander to clear the area was concurred in by the Commanding Officers of the WHIPPLE, PECOS and LANGLEY. At 2207 left the area.

Bronze Star

Unable to find a citation for the Bronze Star mentioned above, but the August 1944 issue of "All Hands" magazine gave this summary:

Capt. Edwin M. Crouch, USN, Washington, D. C.: As operations officer on the staff of Commander Cruisers and Destroyers Pacific, and commander of a task force between 21 January 1943 and 2 January 1944, he administered the exacting duties of his office tactfully and promptly. He accomplished positive results throughout a critical period of operations.

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.

May 1923
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:
July 1923
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:
September 1923
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:
November 1923
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
CDR Fred Perkins '06 (Battle Fleet Staff)
January 1924
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
CDR Fred Perkins '06 (Battle Fleet Staff)
March 1924
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
CDR Fred Perkins '06 (Battle Fleet Staff)
May 1924
Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
CDR Fred Perkins '06 (Battle Fleet Staff)
July 1924
Ensign, communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS California:
LT Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS California)
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
September 1924
Ensign, communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS California:
LT Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS California)
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
ENS Burton Doggett '24 (USS California)
November 1924
Ensign, communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS California:
LT Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS California)
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
ENS Burton Doggett '24 (USS California)
January 1925
Ensign, communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at or embarked at USS California:
LT Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS California)
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
ENS Burton Doggett '24 (USS California)
March 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at or embarked at USS California:
LT Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS California)
ENS Louis Drexler, Jr. '23 (USS California)
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
ENS Burton Doggett '24 (USS California)
May 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), communications officer, Battle Fleet Staff, USS California

Others at or embarked at USS California:
ENS Herbert Ballinger '24 (USS California)
July 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS California

October 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS California

January 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS California

October 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Robert Smith
January 1927
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Robert Smith
April 1927
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Robert Smith
July 1929
Lieutenant, under instruction, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:
October 1929
Lieutenant, under instruction, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:
January 1930
Lieutenant, under instruction, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:
April 1930
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:
October 1930
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT Francis Bridget '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
January 1931
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT Francis Bridget '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
April 1931
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B)
LT Francis Bridget '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Eugene Lindsey '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
July 1931
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B)
LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Weldon Hamilton '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
October 1931
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B)
LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
January 1932
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B)
LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
April 1932
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 2B)
LTjg John Waldron '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Dick Downer '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg Robert Winters '27 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
LTjg J. C. Riggs, Jr. '28 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
October 1932
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S)
LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S)
ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S)
January 1933
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LCDR Henry Mullinnix '16 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S)
LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5S)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S)
ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S)
ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3S)
April 1933
Lieutenant, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT William Ault '22 (Torpedo and Bombing Squadron (VT) 1S)
LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS John Yoho '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS Victor Gaulin '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
ENS Lance Massey '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B)
July 1933
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
1LT Edward Trumble '25 (Marine Barracks)
October 1933
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
April 1934
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
July 1934
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
LTjg William Hank '25 (Naval Gun Factory)
LTjg Howard Gilmore '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
LTjg Sidney Smith '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
October 1934
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
LTjg Howard Gilmore '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
LTjg Sidney Smith '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
January 1935
Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
LT Raymond Hansen '22 (Experimental Diving Unit)
LTjg Howard Gilmore '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
LTjg Sidney Smith '26 (Naval Gun Factory)
April 1935
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale
October 1935
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
January 1936
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
April 1936
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
July 1936
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
January 1937
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
April 1937
Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Dale

Others at this command:
September 1937
Lieutenant Commander, USS Arizona

January 1938
Lieutenant Commander, USS Arizona

July 1938
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
CAPT Stuart King '20 (Marine Barracks)
2LT James Bromeyer '37 (Marine Barracks)
January 1939
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
CAPT Stuart King '20 (Marine Barracks)
2LT James Bromeyer '37 (Marine Barracks)
October 1939
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.:
MAJ Stuart King '20 (Marine Barracks)
LT Victor Gaulin '30 (Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.)
November 1940
Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Edsall

April 1941
Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Edsall


Class of 1921

Edwin is one of 32 members of the Class of 1921 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.