From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Hugh Black '26

Date of birth: June 29, 1903

Date of death: February 28, 1942

Age: 38

Lucky Bag

From the 1926 Lucky Bag:


Hugh was lost when USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) was torpedoed on the morning of February 28, 1942 by U-578 off the coast of Delaware.

From the March 3, 1942 Naval communique reprinted in the April, 1942 issue of Shipmates:

The USS JACOB JONES, a World War destroyer, was sunk by an enemy submarine off Cape May, New Jersey, just before dawn on February 28, 1942.

There were only eleven survivors consisting of nine engine room ratings and two apprentice seamen. Factual information in regard to the circumstances that led to the sinking is sparse because of the lack of deck ratings among the survivors. It has been established, however, that prior to receiving the first torpedo hit, the enemy submarine was not sighted nor was the torpedo.

The first torpedo blew up the bow and apparently killed all the personnel on the bridge as well as the men sleeping in the forward living compartments. The second torpedo, which was fired after the submarine circled ahead of the JACOB JONES, blew up the stern and all the depth charges.

The only survivors, except one man from the after engine room, were in the amidship section when the stern was blown up.


"Photographed circa the early 1940s. He was lost at sea on 28 February 1942, while serving as Commanding Officer of USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), when his ship was torpedoed and sunk. USS Black (DD-666) was named in his honor. The original photograph was presented to USS Black by Mrs. Hugh D. Black, Ship's Sponsor, on 21 May 1943, the day the ship went into commission. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph."

From Naval History and Heritage Command:

Hugh David Black was born in Oradell, New Jersey, on 29 June 1903. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1922, graduated in 1926, and served on board USS Richmond, mainly in the Far East, between 1926 and 1928. During the next few years, he was an officer on board the battleship New York, the gunboat Asheville, and the destroyers Parrott, Rizal and Montgomery. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Black was assigned to the Naval Training Station, San Diego, California, in 1933-1934, then served on board the destroyer Upshur and during 1935-38 commanded the minesweeper Lark.

Lieutenant Black had duty with the Bureau of Navigation, in Washington, D.C., in 1938 and attended Harvard University for two years, beginning mid-1938. He was Executive Officer of the new destroyer Benson in 1940-1941. In March 1941, he took command of the destroyer Jacob Jones. Lieutenant Commander Hugh D. Black lost his life when Jacob Jones was sunk by a German submarine on 28 Feburary 1942.


USS Black (DD 666) was named for Hugh; the ship was sponsored by his widow.

Related Articles

Burton R. Hanson '40, Thomas W. Marshall, Jr. '30, and Norman C. Smith '42 were also lost when the Jacob Jones was torpedoed.

Class of 1926

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