FITZHUGH L. RHEA, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Fitzhugh Rhea '24

Date of birth: May 25, 1903

Date of death: February 8, 1928

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1924 Lucky Bag:


Loss

1924 Rhea 1.jpg

From Veterans Profile:

Lieutenant (JG) Fitzhugh Lee Rhea (5/25/1903-2/8/1928). Rhea was appointed to the US Naval Academy 7/23/1920 and graduated 6/4/1924. Rhea was one of the early naval aviators. Serving on USS OMAHA; USS LANGLEY; USS WOOD; USS KIDDER and USS WEST VIRGINIA as assistant fire control officer.

On February 8, 1928 while with Observation Squadron 4B Lt. Rhea was killed when his plane crashed about 35 miles off shore from Point Loma, CA. Lt Rhea was the son of Brigadier General James C. Rhea.

He earned his wings as naval aviator #3512 on September 16, 1929.

Fitzhugh was survived by his mother and sister. He has a memory marker in Virginia.

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 1924

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: LT Theodore Chandler '15 and ENS John Welch '23.

September 1924

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: LT Theodore Chandler '15 and ENS John Welch '23.

November 1924

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: LT Theodore Chandler '15 and ENS John Welch '23.

January 1925

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: LT Theodore Chandler '15 and ENS John Welch '23.

March 1925

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Henry Batterton '23 and ENS John Welch '23.

May 1925

Ensign, USS Kidder

Others at this command: ENS George Covell '22.

July 1925

Ensign, USS Kidder

October 1925

Ensign, USS Kidder

January 1926

Ensign, USS Kidder

Others at this command: ENS William Hobby, Jr. '23.

October 1927

Lieutenant (j.g.), Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B, USS Langley

Others at this command: LT Paul Thompson '19, LTjg Charles McDonald '24, LTjg Herbert Ballinger '24, and LTjg Richard Moss '24.

Others at or embarked at USS Langley: LCDR Oscar Erickson '16 (Utility Plane Squadron (VJ) 1B), LT James Carney '21 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B), and LT John Jones '21 (Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet).

January 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 4B, USS Omaha

Others at or embarked at USS Omaha: ENS Leonard Southerland '27 (USS Omaha).


Class of 1924

Fitzhugh is one of 41 members of the Class of 1924 on Virtual Memorial Hall.