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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: unknown
Date of death: November 13, 1942
Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

1942 Sommers LB.jpg

From the 1942 Lucky Bag:


Jim, J.B.

"Smiling Jim" is a true son of our great West. He is emphatic, intense, and energetic. "The Deacon," as he was called in prep school, realized a lifelong ambition when he entered the Academy; he has thrived since on the competition he met there. Jim has no particular hobby; he assimilates the contents of the daily paper and follows sports closely. It can truly be said that this "man of action" is a leader.

Swimming; Battalion Tennis; Foreign Language Club 4, 3, 2; Reception Committee 3; 3 Stripes.

The Class of 1942 graduated on December 19, 1941, less than two weeks after the United States entered World War II. The class had previously been scheduled to graduate in February 1942.


James was lost when USS Barton (DD 599) was sunk on November 13, 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Navy and Marine Corps Medal

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade James Barkley Sommers (NSN: 0-111654), United States Navy, for heroism at New Caledonia on 30 October 1942. While in charge of a boat attempting to rescue officers and men from a plane wrecked on a treacherous reef, Lieutenant Sommers gamely swam a line to the stricken craft, enabling his men and an accompanying boat to rescue without injury to either the survivors or the boat crews.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 318 (September 1943)
Action Date: October 30, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade

Class Navigation

Class of 1942
James is one of 82 members of the Class of 1942 in Memorial Hall.
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