From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Francis Black '26

Date of birth: May 10, 1903

Date of death: January 21, 1943

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1926 Lucky Bag:


Francis was lost on January 21, 1943, when the aircraft he was aboard crashed near Ukiah, California while enroute from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco. The flying boat, a Pan Am Clipper, was being operated by Pan Am employees but was a contracted Navy flight, and all ten passengers were Navy officers.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Unable to determine which command he was assigned at the time of his loss. In the 1941 Navy Directory he was "aero officer Patrol Wing 2 Pearl Harbor." Several newspaper articles reporting his death state he was attached to the staff of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet.


Francis served on the USS West Virginia, the USS Ramapo, and the USS Pennsylvania before returning to the Naval Academy in 1934 for instruction in Aerology. He continued training at Norfolk air station in 1935, and then joined the Scouting Force (aero) in 1936. By 1939 he was stationed at the Naval Air Station, Anacostia. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1936, Lieutenant Commander in 1940, and Commander in December, 1942.

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Robert English '11, Donald Godwin '11, Robert Smith '20, John Crane '26, William Myers '26, John Coll '27, and George Stone '31 were also lost in the crash of Pan Am Flight 1104. Eight of the ten passengers were Naval Academy graduates.

Class of 1926

Francis is one of 36 members of the Class of 1926 on Virtual Memorial Hall.