From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Frank Case, Jr. '38

Date of birth: October 6, 1914

Date of death: February 23, 1942

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


Frank was lost when his F4F-4 Wildcat suffered engine failure in the North Atlantic while operating from USS Wasp (CV 7) on February 23, 1942. He was a member of Fighting Squadron (VF) 71.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Frank was making his second flight of the day from the carrier Wasp when his plane suddenly dived into the water.

He was a cousin of Captain Clint Frank, All-American football star at Yale in 1938 who became aide to Major General James H. Doolittle. Clint named his daughter Marcia Case Frank after Frank.

Frank graduated in 1932 from Evanston High School starring in football. He broke his ankle in the Oak Park game but came back so well in the New Trier game that he received All-Suburban Honors. He entered Williams College then transferred to Bullis School in Washington D.C., to prepare for entrance to the Naval Academy. He played quarterback for the Navy 1935-1937.

He received his wings in August 1940. He had only been married three months to the former Helen Forsyth. His parents were Frank, a dentist, and Irene.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

  • NAS Pensacola attached for HTA flight training, 7/29/1940
  • NAS Pensacola designated NA # 7004, 1/2/1941
  • Date of rank LTJG from 1 Jul 1941 USN Register, 6/2/1941
  • VF-71 USS Wasp (CV-7) KIFA take off, BNR, 2/23/1942

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 1938

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LT John Duke '26 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2)
LTjg Charles Crommelin '31 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2)
LTjg Robert Goodgame, Jr. '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 2)
LTjg Burden Hastings '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
LTjg George Klinsmann '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
LTjg Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 2)

January 1939

Ensign, USS Lexington

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LTjg Charles Crommelin '31 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2)
LTjg Burden Hastings '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
LTjg George Klinsmann '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
LTjg Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 2)
LTjg Richard McGowan '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)

October 1939

Ensign, USS Manley

June 1940

Ensign, USS Manley

November 1940

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, Scouting Squadron (VS) 71, USS Wasp

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Wasp:

LCDR Rogers Elliott '22 (USS Wasp)
LT John Burke '28 (USS Wasp)
LTjg James Fitzpatrick, Jr. '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 72)
LTjg Mark Eslick, Jr. '35 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 72)
LTjg Webster Johnson '36 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 72)

Class of 1938

Frank is one of 72 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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