FRANCIS E. BROWN, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Francis Brown '33

Date of birth: May 22, 1911

Date of death: October 7, 1943

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1933 Lucky Bag:


Biography

1933 Brown 2.jpg

From the 1953 edition of the book "Double Three Roundup," published by the class of 1933:

After graduation Frank served consecutively in the TEXAS and UPSHUR until January 1936, when he reported to the Submarine Base at New London for submarine training. His first sub duty was in the NAUTILUS, then the S-32, and, from April 1938 until May 1941, the SEAL. Upon being detached from the SEAL he reported to the staff of Commander Submarines, Asiatic Fleet. In early 1942 Frank became skipper of the S-39 and remained in that duty until the S-39 was lost on 16 August after striking a submerged reel off flossel Island, Louisade Archipelago. All hands were saved.

Frank assumed command of the S-44 on 19 October, 1942, and for several months was engaged in operations off New Georgia before shifting to the Northern Pacific. On 26 September 1943, the S-44 left Attu to begin a war patrol in the Kuriles. On the night of 7 October radar contact was made on what was thought to be a small merchant ship, but which turned out to be a Jap destroyer. Before the S-44 could submerge the destroyer scored several hits and the S-44 sank. About eight men got off the submarine but only two were picked up by the destroyer. Frank went down with his ship. He was later awarded the Purple Heart Medal and Army Distinguished Unit Badge.

Frank was survived by his widow, the former Juanita Lewis, and a son, Stephen. Juanita has since remarried, and as Mrs. Juanita E. Coverdale, is living at 2112 E. First Street in Long Beach, California.

Loss

1933 Brown 1.jpg

Francis was lost when USS S-44 (SS 155) was sunk by a Japanese escort ship on October 7, 1943 near the Kuril islands. He was the commanding officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Career

From Fleet Organization:

  • Engineering Officer USS Seal (SS-183) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Nov 1940
  • Executive Officer USS Seal (SS-183) 2 Jan 1941 - 1 Apr 1941
  • Staff Submarine Division Fifteen
  • Assistant Maintenance Officer Commander Submarines Asiatic Fleet 10 Dec 1941
  • Captain USS S-39 (SS-144) 31 Mar 1942 - 15 Aug 1942
  • Captain USS S-43 (SS-154) 12 Sep 1942 - 16 Oct 1942
  • Captain USS S-44 (SS-155) 31 Oct 1942 - 7 Oct 1943
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 Jun 1936
  • Lieutenant 1 Jul 1940
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 1 Oct 1942

Wartime Service

Francis was commanding officer of USS S 39 (SS 144) from March 31, 1942 until August 15, 1942 when that boat went aground while on her 5th war patrol and was lost. The entire crew was saved.

He then briefly (one month) had command of S-43 (SS 154) before taking command of S-44 (SS 155) on October 31, 1942. He took the boat from the Pacific back to the east coast of the US for overhaul, returning to the war zone in September 1943.

Francis is the only skipper to have lost two boats in World War II.

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 1933

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: LT William France '24, ENS Ralph Elden '31, ENS William Sisko '31, ENS Edgar Chase '32, ENS Fred Connaway '32, and ENS William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

October 1933

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: ENS Ralph Elden '31, ENS Edgar Chase '32, ENS Fred Connaway '32, and ENS William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B).

April 1934

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: LT Joyce Ralph '23, ENS Edgar Chase '32, and ENS William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1B) and ENS Ralph Elden '31 (Battleship Division 1).

July 1934

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: CDR Sherwood Picking '11, LT Joyce Ralph '23, ENS Edgar Chase '32, ENS Charles Ware '34, and ENS Robert Robertson '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS Ralph Elden '31 (Battleship Division 1).

October 1934

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: LT Joyce Ralph '23, ENS Edgar Chase '32, ENS Charles Ware '34, and ENS Robert Robertson '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Ralph Elden '31 (Battleship Division 1).

January 1935

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: LT Joyce Ralph '23, ENS Charles Ware '34, and ENS Robert Robertson '34.

April 1935

Ensign, USS Texas

Others at this command: LT Joyce Ralph '23, ENS Charles Ware '34, and ENS Robert Robertson '34.

October 1935

Ensign, USS Upshur

January 1936

Ensign, under instruction, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut

Others at this command: LTjg John Craig '30, LTjg Howard Abbott '31, and ENS Paul Burton '33.

April 1936

Ensign, under instruction, Submarine Base New London, Connecticut

Others at this command: LTjg John Craig '30, LTjg Howard Abbott '31, and ENS Paul Burton '33.

July 1936

Ensign, USS Nautilus

January 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Nautilus

April 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Nautilus

September 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Seal

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Brindupke '32.

January 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Seal

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Brindupke '32.

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Seal

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Brindupke '32.

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Seal

Others at this command: LTjg Charles Brindupke '32.

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Seal

November 1940

Lieutenant, USS Seal

April 1941

Lieutenant, USS Seal


Class of 1933

Francis is one of 38 members of the Class of 1933 on Virtual Memorial Hall.