EDWIN W. HURST, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Edwin Hurst '32

Date of birth: October 16, 1910

Date of death: June 9, 1942

Age: 31

Lucky Bag

From the 1932 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Edwin was lost on June 9, 1942 when the B-17 he was aboard as a passenger "failed to gain altitude on takeoff from the airdrome at Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand for a flight to Laverton, Victoria, Australia during World War II. All eleven aboard died when the cargo of bombs detonated after the the plane had impacted the ground and caught fire."

He was officer in charge of a detachment of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2, part of what had been salvaged following the destruction of their ship, USS Lexington (CV 2), at the Battle of the Coral Sea.

His wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by at least one child (a son, Edwin K. Hurst, II, USNA Class of 1962). He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Biography

From Wikipedia:

His family moved to Sioux Falls, SD when he was quite young and had his schooling in that city, He graduated from Sioux Falls High School in 1928 and received a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis,MD from which he graduated in 1932. In his First Class (Senior) year he was selected as the commander of the 2nd Company, one of only eight in the then-Regiment of Midshipmen.

After serving in USS Tennessee (BB 43) for two years, in 1934 he received orders to report to aviation flight training in Pensacola, FL. He earned his wings in 1935 and in that year he married the former Marian Jeannette Harris, also of Sioux Falls. He was then assigned to Scout Bombing Squadron 3 aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3). He was selected for the Naval Postgraduate School in 1939 and completed its course in Ordnance & Gunnery. In May 1941 he reported to Torpedo Squadron 2 aboard USS Lexington (CV-2) to assume the duties of executive officer.

He is mentioned a few times in TBD Devastator Units of the US Navy by Barrett Tillman.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Edwin William Hurst, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron TWO (VT-2), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Air Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. In the face of tremendous anti-aircraft barrage and opposed by numerous fighters, Lieutenant Hurst pressed home two attacks on enemy aircraft carriers, one on 7 May and one on 8 May. With complete disregard for his own safety and expert conception of the task at hand, he scored hits within short range of his objectives, contributing to the destruction of one carrier and to damage and possible destruction of the other. His persistent determination and conscientious devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 307 (Oct 1942)
Action Date: May 7 & 8, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Torpedo Squadron 2 (VT-2)
Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2)

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Edwin William Hurst, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism while participating in aerial flight, while serving as Pilot of an airplane in Torpedo Squadron 2 (VT-2), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), in action against enemy Japanese forces over enemy-controlled waters near Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea when on 10 March 1942, he flew one hundred and twenty-five miles over uncharted mountains and jungle to press home a successful torpedo attack against enemy ships, and, as a result of this attack, three enemy ships were sunk. His outstanding courage, daring airmanship and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 304 (July 1942)
Action Date: 10-Mar-42
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Torpedo Squadron 2 (VT-2)
Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2)

Namesake

USS Hurst (DE 250) was named for Edwin; the ship was sponsored by his widow.


Class of 1932

Edwin is one of 52 members of the Class of 1932 in Memorial Hall.