EUGENE E. LINDSEY, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Eugene Lindsey '27

Date of birth: July 2, 1905

Date of death: June 4, 1942

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1927 Lucky Bag:

Biography & Loss

Lieutenant Commander Eugene E. Lindsey's Douglas TBD-1 "Devastator" torpedo bomber (Bureau # 0370) sinking astern of the carrier after a deck landing accident on 28 May 1942. Plane guard destroyer, USS Monaghan (DD-354) is in the left background. Enterprise was then en route to the Midway area. LCdr. Lindsey, Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6), was flying out with the rest of the air group to join the ship when the crash took place. He, and the other members of the plane's crew, were rescued by Monaghan.
LCDR E. E. is assisted into a breeches bouy for transfer from USS Monaghan (DD-354) to USS Enterprise (CV-6) on 31 May 1942, while the ships were en route to the Midway area. He had been picked up by the destroyer on 28 May, after his TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber had crashed attempting to land on the carrier. Aviation Radioman First Class Charles T. Granat is partially visible behind Lindsey, waiting his turn on the high line. The other member of the plane's crew, Chief Aviation Pilot Thomas E. Schaeffer is standing with hands in pockets, just to left of the transfer group. Lindsey and Granat were killed in action attacking the Japanese fleet on 4 June 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

From Find A Grave:

Gene Lindsey married Martha Fronk, daughter of Navy Capt and surgeon Clarence Elmer and Laura T. Douglas Fronk, about 1935. They were the parents of at least two children: Eugene Elbert Jr and Mary Louise Lindsey. Eugene Jr was born in Annapolis, MD and his sister Mary was born in Long Beach, CA. After her husband's death at Midway, Martha married then Captain Elton Watters Grenfell, a submarine officer, in March 1944 in Hawaii. They were the parents of at least three children.

Gene graduated from Ft Smith High School, Ft. Smith, Arkansas in June 1923. Several months later on 8 Sept 1923 he entered the US Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD via a Congressional Appointment from Arkansas. …

Ensign Lindsey, after graduation, was soon off to his mandatory sea duty tour. He reported aboard the newly constructed USS Saratoga (CV 3) about September 1927. She was commissioned on 16 Nov 1927 and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet (I can find no record that he was assigned to the USS Nevada (BB 36) during his active service in the US Navy.) He completed his tour aboard Saratoga in Dec 1928 when he transferred to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL to begin pilot training. He completed his pilot training by December 1929 when he detached from NAS Pensacola on 21 Dec 1929 to report to Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, where he was assigned in a flight status to Bombing Squadron 1B (VB 1b). It was during this tour that Ens. Lindsey completed a Naval War College Correspondence Course on Strategy and Tactics.

During his tour with VB 1b, Ensign Lindsey was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade (Ltjg) on 02 June 1930. Following his assignment with VB 1b, Ltjg Lindsey was assigned to the USS Lexington (CV 2) until May 1933. On 24 Jun 1933, Ltjg Lindsey reported to Aircraft Squadrons, Pearl Harbor, and Patrol Squadron Six “F” (VP 6 F). It was during this tour that he met his future wife, Martha Fronk. In addition, during this tour, he completed a Naval War College Correspondence Course in International Law. Two years later, 26 Jun 1935, he was assigned as a student at the Navy Post Graduate School in Annapolis, MD to study Aeronautical Engineering. Six months later, Gene’s first child, a son, Eugene Elbert Jr, was born. The following year, 30 Jun 1936, Ltjg Lindsey was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Subsequent to his Academy tour, Lt Lindsey was sent to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as a student where he completed a postgraduate course in Aeronautical Engineering.

After his work at Ann Arbor was completed, Lt Lindsey was assigned in a flight status to Observation Squadron Four, attached to the Colorado Class battleship, USS Maryland (BB 46) on 01 July 1938. His final assignment was as the Commanding Officer, Torpedo Squadron Six (VT 6) attached to the USS Enterprise (CV 6) on 03 Jun 1940. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander (Lcdr.) on 01 Nov 1941.

During the months that led up to 7 Dec 1941, and the entry by the US into WWII, Enterprise shuttled Army Air Force P 39s and P 40s, as well as, Navy aircraft from US West coast ports to Pearl Harbor and beyond. On 28 Nov 1941 Enterprise left San Diego with a cargo of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF 211) aircraft and pilots destined for Wake Island. The Marine pilots and their planes flew from Enterprise to Wake Island on 02 Dec 1941. Enterprise was scheduled to arrive back in Pearl Harbor on 06 Dec, but was delayed due to inclement weather. Fortunately she wasn't inport on the morning of 07 Dec but arrived later that evening.

In the first five months of 1942 Enterprise and her Air Group participated in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and Wake Island operations in Feb 1942. On 01 Feb 1942 Lcdr Lindsey lead Torpedo Six against Japanese forces on Kwajalein earning him a Distinguished Flying Cross. In March Enterprise attacked enemy installations on Wake and Marcus Islands, and in April, she supported the Doolittle raid. In early May Enterprise and Hornet were sent to the South Pacific to assist USS Lexington and USS Yorktown engaged in the battle of the Coral Sea. The battle was over before they arrived on scene. After additional operations in the Central Pacific, Enterprise returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 May and began intensive preparations to meet an expected Japanese thrust at Midway Island. On 28 May, Enterprise and Hornet sortied from Pearl Harbor. It was during this sortie that Lcdr Lindsey crashed his plane while attempting to land on Enterprise. The aircraft went over the side. Lindsey and his two crewmen were picked up by the plane guard destroyer USS Monaghan. The crewmen were ok, however, Lindsey was badly injured and confined to sick bay. Doctors feared he might have broken his back. On 4 Jun, after almost a week of recuperation, Lindsey still so bruised about the face that he could not put on his flight goggles. When asked by the Air Group Commander, Lcdr. Wade McClusky, if he could fly Lindsey answered, “This is what I’ve been trained to do”.

A short while later, aircraft from the USS Enterprise's air group launched to attack the Japanese carrier striking force that was approaching the Midway atoll. Without combat air protection, Torpedo Squadron Six (VT 6), led by Lcdr Gene Lindsey, had to thread their way through a gauntlet of swarming enemy fighters and a hail of anti aircraft fire. Of the fourteen torpedo planes that took off from the Enterprise that morning only four returned to Enterprise. Lcdr Eugene Elbert Lindsey and his gunner/radioman Aviation Chief Radioman Charles Tilden Grenat, did not return from this mission, and they were listed as missing in action. Their remains were unrecoverable.

On 5 Jun 1943 they were presumed dead. Lcdr Lindsey was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon. bio compiled by G47

His wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his son, Eugene Jr., Mary Louise. Eugene Jr. graduated the Naval Academy in 1958 and retired as a Captain in 1984.

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 Eugene Elbert Lindsey (NSN: 0-61684), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Squadron Commander of Torpedo Squadron SIX (VT-6), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Participating in a vigorous and intensive assault against the Japanese invasion fleet, Lieutenant Commander Lindsey pressed home his attack with relentless determination in the face of a terrific barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The unprecedented conditions under which his squadron launched its offensive were so exceptional that it is highly improbably the occasion may ever recur where other pilots of the service will be called upon to demonstrate an equal degree of gallantry and fortitude. His extreme disregard of personal safety contributed materially to the success of our forces and his loyal conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander Eugene Elbert Lindsey (NSN: 0-61684), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during World War II.

General Orders: American Battle Monuments Commission
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander Eugene Elbert Lindsey (NSN: 0-61684), United States Navy, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during World War II.

General Orders: American Battle Monuments Commission
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Namesake

USS Lindsey (DM 32) was named for Eugene; the ship was sponsored by his widow.


Class of 1927

Eugene is one of 43 members of the Class of 1927 in Memorial Hall.