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:

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.

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)

Navy Directory (October 1, 1939) lists him as a Lt.Cdr. stationed at the Navy Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard

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]

Bronze Star

Unable to find a citation for the Bronze Star mentioned above.


Class of 1921

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