JAMES T. CRUSE, MIDN, USN
James Cruse '07
Date of birth: 1887
Date of death: July 19, 1907
From the 1907 Lucky Bag:
James was lost on July 17, 1907, when he died of injuries sustained on the 15th when the aft turret of USS Georgia (Battleship No. 15) exploded during target practice near Cape Cod.
He was survived by his parents and brother; He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
His own unselfish words when aid was offered make his epitaph: "Never mind me, I am all right. Look after those other fellows."
A plaque in Memorial Hall in honor of James and the nine other officers and men lost was erected by "their shipmates on the Georgia and sympathizing friends on the U.S.S. New Jersey."
Memorial Hall Error
James was a midshipman at the time of his loss; Memorial Hall lists him as an Ensign. There is no evidence of a posthumous promotion.
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.