JAMES T. CRUSE, MIDN, USN
James Cruse '07
Date of birth: December 1887
Date of death: July 19, 1907
From the 1907 Lucky Bag:
James died on July 19, 1907, when he succumbed to 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."
From researcher Kathy Franz:
Born December 1887 in Owensboro, Kentucky.
James was appointed to the Academy by Congressman Stark from the Fourth Nebraska district. His father was chief quartermaster of the department of the Missouri with headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. James’ rival for an appointment from Kentucky was classmate Faulkner Goldthwaite. James’ brother was Frederick, a West Point graduate, and his son Captain James Hamilton Cruse, born eight years after James’ death, was a Naval Academy graduate in 1937. James’ uncle and aunt were Colonel and Mrs. F. G. Hodgson of Philadelphia.
At the Academy, James was a cadet lieutenant commanding one of twelve companies. In his class of over 200, he stood second in ordinance, fourth in modern languages and ninth in seamanship. He also stood first in conduct, a very distinguished honor. He was a fine gymnast being on the team all four years.
The explosion on the Georgia happened on a Monday, and by his willpower, James lived to see his parents arrive on Wednesday, but he eventually succumbed on Friday. The newspaper reported: “that it was just what might have been expected from ‘Jimmy’ Cruse, declared one of the young midshipman’s former Omaha companions. He certainly was a boy with plenty of nerve. His friends knew him better by his strong will power than in any other way. All the boys said he would ‘make good’ when he went to Annapolis, and it will please them all to know of his display of heroism following the accident on the Georgia.”
James’ body laid in state at Gawler’s chapel on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Marine band and companies A and B formed the funeral escort. The band played “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The casket was draped with the Union Jack and completely covered with beautiful flowers. A commissary department wagon, filled with floral tributes, followed the carriages. Among the flowers was a magnificent cluster of white magnolias, tied with broad white satin ribbon, sent by the president and Mrs. Roosevelt. Attending the services were Admiral Cowles, Rear Admiral Williamson, Rear Admiral W. L. Capps, Q. M. Gen. Aleshire, Capt. W. F. Halsey, Commander J. J. Knapp, Commander F. C. Bieg, Capt. R. F. Nicholson, and Maj. C. G. Long. James’ cap, epaulettes, and sword were laid on the casket as it was lowered into the grave, which is in one of the most beautiful spots of the cemetery. The ceremonies ended with the sounding of “taps” by a bugler.
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."
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.
Others at this command: