JOHN E. BLACK, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Black '38

Date of birth: January 19, 1915

Date of death: December 7, 1941

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


Loss

John was lost when USS Utah (AG 16) was sunk on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.

His mother was listed as next of kin. There is a memorial plaque at the Utah State Capitol building as well as the USS Utah Memorial in Pearl Harbor, HI honoring the 54 men who died on December 7, 1941.

Career

John was commisioned an Ensign on June 2, 1938 and assigned to the USS Saratoga (CV-3). In 1940 he was transferred to an Aircraft Battle Force assignment. On June 2, 1941 he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade, and by the end of 1941 was aboard the USS Utah (BB-31).

On January 25, 1943 the Navy posthumously awarded John a letter of commendation "for exceptional courage, coolness and devotion to duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. Utah, during the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941."

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.

July 1938

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LT John Waldron '24, LT Gerald Dyson '27, ENS Paul Riley '37, ENS William Mason, Jr. '37, ENS John Smith '38, ENS Keene Hammond '38, ENS Osborne Wiseman '38, and ENS Vincent Sim '38.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Irving Wiltsie '21 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LT William Pye, Jr. '28 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LT John Yoho '29 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LTjg Albert Major, Jr. '32 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LTjg James Reilly '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LTjg John Spiers '32 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LTjg George Nicol '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3), ENS David Taylor, Jr. '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), and ENS William Hulson '36 (Aircraft, Battle Force).

January 1939

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LT Gerald Dyson '27, ENS Paul Riley '37, ENS William Mason, Jr. '37, ENS John Smith '38, ENS Keene Hammond '38, ENS Osborne Wiseman '38, and ENS Vincent Sim '38.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Irving Wiltsie '21 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LT John Waldron '24 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3), LT John Yoho '29 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LTjg James Reilly '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LTjg John Spiers '32 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LTjg George Nicol '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3), LTjg David Taylor, Jr. '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), and ENS William Hulson '36 (Aircraft, Battle Force).

October 1939

Ensign, USS Saratoga

Others at this command: ENS William Mason, Jr. '37, ENS John Smith '38, ENS Keene Hammond '38, ENS Claude Goodman, Jr. '39, ENS Lenard Reichel '39, and ENS Norman White '39.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Richard Moss '24 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LT Harrington Drake '31 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), LTjg John Spiers '32 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3), LTjg George Nicol '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 3), LTjg John Ennis '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 3), and ENS Raymond Vogel, Jr. '36 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 3).

June 1940

Ensign, USS Yorktown

Others at this command: LTjg Stuart Stephens '34, LTjg Milton Ricketts '35, ENS Andrew Gardner '39, and ENS Donald Scheu '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg John Curtis '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), LTjg Samuel Adams '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), LTjg Thomas Cummins '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), and LTjg Jack Moore '36 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 5).

November 1940

Ensign, staff, Carrier Division 2, USS Yorktown

Others at this command: ENS Keene Hammond '38.

Others at or embarked at USS Yorktown: LTjg Stuart Stephens '34 (USS Yorktown), LTjg John Curtis '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), LTjg Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Yorktown), LTjg Samuel Adams '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), LTjg Thomas Cummins '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), LTjg Frank Robinson '36 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 5), LTjg Jack Moore '36 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 5), LTjg James Southerland, II '36 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), ENS Andrew Gardner '39 (USS Yorktown), and ENS Donald Scheu '40 (USS Yorktown).

April 1941

Ensign, staff, Carrier Division 2, USS Yorktown

Others at this command: ENS Keene Hammond '38.

Others at or embarked at USS Yorktown: LTjg Charles Ware '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 5), LTjg Stuart Stephens '34 (USS Yorktown), LTjg John Powers '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), LTjg John Curtis '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), LTjg Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Yorktown), LTjg Samuel Adams '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 5), LTjg Jack Moore '36 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 5), LTjg James Southerland, II '36 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), ENS Eric Allen, Jr. '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 5), ENS Andrew Gardner '39 (USS Yorktown), and ENS Donald Scheu '40 (USS Yorktown).


Class of 1938

John is one of 71 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.