HOWARD W. NESTER, JR., LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Howard Nester, Jr. '37

Date of birth: March 6, 1914

Date of death: November 2, 1944

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Howard died on November 2, 1944 from wounds suffered on October 25, 1944 during the Battle off Samar. He was aboard USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE 70), though it's unclear what his role was. He was likely an aviator — he selected for flight training in 1939 — but he was not lost while flying.

Howard's wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by his mother and two sisters. He is buried in New York; the interment occurred in 1949.

He is listed on the Battle of Leyte Gulf memorial in California.

Career

Howard was selected for flight training, as noted above, but the naval aviation historian Richard Leonard has been unable to find a naval aviator number for him. Howard was awarded an air medal for an action at some point prior to November 1943, but unable to find details. He was promoted to LT on January 2, 1942 and to LCDR on July 1, 1943. He was a member of ship's company aboard USS Tripoli (CVE 64) on November 20, 1943 and transferred at some unknown date to USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE 50), where he was also a member of ship's company.

Other

The Navy was looking for Howard's widow in March 1948 for the posthumous award of his Bronze Star. They had resided in Coronado at some point during the war.

His officer's sword was listed for sale on eBay in September 2017.

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.

September 1937

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania

Others at this command: LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20, LTjg Martin Ray, Jr. '34, ENS George Lambert '35, ENS Harold Shrider '37, and ENS James Andrea '37.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT John Yoho '29 (Observation Squadron (VO) 1).

January 1938

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania

Others at this command: LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20, LTjg Martin Ray, Jr. '34, ENS George Lambert '35, ENS Harold Shrider '37, and ENS James Andrea '37.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT John Yoho '29 (Observation Squadron (VO) 1).

November 1940

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

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Maher, Jr. '35, LTjg Jack Ferguson '35, and LTjg John Ennis '35.

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 Edward O'Hare '37 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LTjg Harold Shrider '37 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3), LTjg Macdonald Thompson '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3), LTjg Patrick Hart '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 3), and ENS Norman White '39 (USS Saratoga).

April 1941

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

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Maher, Jr. '35, LTjg Jack Ferguson '35, and ENS Osborne Wiseman '38.

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


Class of 1937

Howard is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.