FRANCIS X. MAHER, JR., LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Francis Maher, Jr. '35

Date of birth: August 4, 1913

Date of death: February 1, 1942

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1935 Lucky Bag:

1935 Maher LB.jpg

FRANCIS XAVIER MAHER

Vallejo, California

"Xavier" "Zerk"

NAVY born and bred, Xavier came to us with the spirit of the Service deeply embodied in his makeup. Since childhood the ambition to become a naval officer has been dominant. He has lived on naval stations all of his life and is quite determined to stay in the Navy the rest of his life. Zerk is nonchalant under all circumstances; the only thing that causes him any excitement is the fairer sex, but of late his attitude in this respect has shown a marked change. A lover of the poetic art, he is endowed with a practical as well as an imaginative mind. For recreation he enjoys tennis, learned in sunny California.

1 P.O.

1935 Maher LB.jpg

FRANCIS XAVIER MAHER

Vallejo, California

"Xavier" "Zerk"

NAVY born and bred, Xavier came to us with the spirit of the Service deeply embodied in his makeup. Since childhood the ambition to become a naval officer has been dominant. He has lived on naval stations all of his life and is quite determined to stay in the Navy the rest of his life. Zerk is nonchalant under all circumstances; the only thing that causes him any excitement is the fairer sex, but of late his attitude in this respect has shown a marked change. A lover of the poetic art, he is endowed with a practical as well as an imaginative mind. For recreation he enjoys tennis, learned in sunny California.

1 P.O.

Loss

Francis was lost when his TBD-1 ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea following a strike against Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Francis attended Drew School in San Francisco and then attended a military school in Palo Alto. He received a Presidential appointment to the Naval Academy and entered with his cousin Thomas Culhane (#12619, Class of 1937). Their mothers were sisters.

Father Francis (10/30/1879-1/6/1965); mother Helen (Brosnahan) (x-1934), and sisters Helen (1917-x) and Maria (1919-1972). In 1920 the family lived in Vallejo, California. In June 1928, Francis came in with his family from Manilla, Philippines. His father was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy who served in WWI and WWII. Francis was in attendance when his sister Helen married Andrew Burgess (’38) in Puerto Rico in 1940. In July 1941, his father was elected commander of the North Oakland Post No. 423, American Legion.

Francis' father was listed as next of kin.

He is listed at the Courts of the Missing in Hawaii.

Raid on the Marshall Islands

On February 1, 1942, Task Force 17, led by VADM William Halsey, Jr. (USNA '04) struck Jaluit, Mili, and Makin (Butaritari) islands. The Task Force was centered on USS Yorktown (CV 5), with USS Louisville (CA 28) among her escorts.

George Bellinger '32, Francis Maher, Jr. '35, and Jack Moore '36 were all flying from Yorktown and were all lost that day. George Bellinger's plane simply "failed to return;" he had last been seen in the vicinity of Jaluit as the leader of a bombing section. Jack Moore's plane also "failed to return;" no other information was given in the after-action report. Francis Maher may have been the pilot of the plane observed in the water approximately 20 miles astern of the carrier, presumably having crashed due to a lack of fuel. The crew were seen getting into rubber rafts, but "a destroyer was immediately sent back but failed to make contact."

A fourth graduate, Edward Worthington '34, was lost when his float plane, launched from Louisville, went missing and was possibly shot down by a Japanese patrol bomber.

Separately, Task Force 8 was raiding other islands in the group. Hallsted Hopping '24, commanding officer of Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, flying from USS Enterprise (CV 6). His aircraft was shot down by a Japanese fighter and he and his gunner were both killed.

All three of the documents below are via Matt Robbins '04. Note times are in Greenwich mean time.


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.

October 1935
Ensign, USS Memphis

Others at this command:
January 1936
Ensign, USS Memphis
April 1936
Ensign, USS Memphis
July 1936
Ensign, USS Memphis

Others at this command:
January 1937
Ensign, USS Memphis

April 1937
Ensign, USS Memphis

September 1937
Ensign, USS Memphis

January 1938
Ensign, USS Memphis

July 1938
Ensign, USS Memphis

January 1939
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Memphis

November 1940
Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 3, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
LCDR William Hank '25 (USS Saratoga)
LT William Sisko '31 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3)
LTjg Raymond Vogel, Jr. '36 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
LTjg Harold Shrider '37 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3)
LTjg Patrick Hart '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3)
LTjg Edward O'Hare '37 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
LTjg Macdonald Thompson '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3)
ENS Norman White '39 (USS Saratoga)
April 1941
Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 3, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
LCDR William Hank '25 (USS Saratoga)
LTjg Victor Gadrow '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
LTjg Harold Shrider '37 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3)
LTjg Patrick Hart '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3)
LTjg Edward O'Hare '37 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
LTjg Macdonald Thompson '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3)
ENS Howard Clark '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
ENS Curtis Howard '38 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3)
ENS Marion Dufilho '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3)
ENS William Brady '38 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3)
ENS Norman White '39 (USS Saratoga)


Class of 1935

Francis is one of 56 members of the Class of 1935 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.