From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Pye '39

Date of birth: August 8, 1917

Date of death: January 12, 1945

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


1939 Pye 1.jpg

John was lost when USS Swordfish (SS-193) was sunk, probably by enemy vessels, off the Ryukyu Islands on January 12, 1945. He was the boat's executive officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin. John has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Unable to find citations for the Silver Star or Bronze Star medals he was awarded.


From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Nashville (CL-43) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Nov 1940
  • Under Instruction Submarine School 1942
  • Torpedo & Gunnery Officer USS Swordfish (SS-193) May 1943
  • Executive Officer USS Swordfish (SS-193) Apr 1944 - Jan 1945
  • Acting Captain USS Swordfish (SS-193) 31 Aug 1944
  • Ensign 1 Jun 1939
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant (T) 15 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 15 Mar 1944


John's father was a Vice Admiral and 1901 US Naval Academy graduate who retired with 44 years of service, including acting Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet and president of the Naval War College.

Related Articles

His brother, William Pye, Jr. '28, was lost in 1938 when his fighter crashed following a mid-air collision off the coast of southern California.

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.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Nashville

Others at this command: CDR Theodore Chandler '15.

June 1940

Ensign, USS Nashville

Others at this command: ENS John Micheel '40 and ENS Walter Shaffer '40.

November 1940

Ensign, USS Nashville

Others at this command: ENS John Micheel '40 and ENS Walter Shaffer '40.

April 1941

Ensign, USS Nashville

Others at this command: ENS John Micheel '40 and ENS Walter Shaffer '40.

Class of 1939

John is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.