JOHN E. FRENCH, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John French '22

Date of birth: March 6, 1900

Date of death: December 7, 1941

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1922 Lucky Bag:


Loss

John was lost on December 7, 1941 when USS Arizona (BB 39) was destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the ship's navigator; he had reported aboard in early November.

His wife was listed as next of kin; he was also survived by a son, Gordon Leigh Smith, a USMC Lieutenant in 1959.

John is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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.

May 1923

Ensign, USS Huron

Others at this command: LCDR Frank McCord '11.

July 1923

Ensign, USS Huron

Others at this command: LCDR Frank McCord '11 and ENS Herbert Wescoat '23.

September 1923

Ensign, USS Huron

Others at this command: ENS Herbert Wescoat '23.

November 1923

Ensign, USS Huron

Others at this command: ENS Herbert Wescoat '23.

January 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

March 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

May 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

July 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

September 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

November 1924

Ensign, USS Helena

January 1925

Ensign, USS Helena

March 1925

Ensign, USS Huron

May 1925

Ensign, USS Huron

July 1925

Ensign, USS Huron

Others at this command: ENS Burton Doggett '24.

October 1925

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Huron

Others at this command: LCDR Donald Godwin '11 and ENS Burton Doggett '24.

January 1926

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Overton

October 1926

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Overton

January 1927

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Overton

April 1927

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Overton

October 1927

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Overton

January 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), sick leave

April 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Sands

Others at this command: ENS Claude Haman '26.

July 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Sturtevant

October 1928

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Sturtevant

January 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Sturtevant

April 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Sturtevant

April 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Academy

Others at this command: LCDR James Logan '10, LCDR Norman Scott '11, LCDR Robert English '11, LCDR Cassin Young '16, LT John Gillon '20, LT Joseph Hubbard '21, LT Edward Metcalfe '22, LT William Ault '22, and LTjg John Cromwell '24.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Charles Kail '23 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy).

October 1931

Lieutenant, engineering officer, USS Asheville

January 1932

Lieutenant, engineering officer, USS Asheville

April 1932

Lieutenant, engineering officer, USS Asheville

October 1932

Lieutenant, engineering officer, USS Asheville

January 1933

Lieutenant, engineering officer, USS Asheville

April 1933

Lieutenant, USS Smith Thompson

July 1933

Lieutenant, USS Smith Thompson

October 1933

Lieutenant, USS Smith Thompson

April 1934

Lieutenant, USS Smith Thompson

July 1934

Lieutenant, USS Smith Thompson

September 1937

Lieutenant, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23 and ENS Elmer Anderson '35.

January 1938

Lieutenant, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23 and ENS Elmer Anderson '35.

July 1938

Lieutenant, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, ENS Elmer Anderson '35, and ENS John Dalton '38.

January 1939

Lieutenant, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, ENS Elmer Anderson '35, and ENS John Dalton '38.

October 1939

Lieutenant Commander, 1st Lieutenant, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: ENS Elmer Anderson '35 and ENS John Dalton '38.

November 1940

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CAPT James Logan '10, LT Edwin Martin '29, LT Arthur Vorpahl '32, LT John Fairbanks, Jr. '32, LT John Tennent, III '32, LT Milton Pavlic '32, LT Nathaniel Dial '32, LT Reader Scott '32, LTjg George Fuller '35, and LTjg George Lambert '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT James Willis '27 (Postgraduate School, Naval Academy) and 2LT Alfred Gordon '39 (USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy).

April 1941

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CAPT James Logan '10, LT Edwin Martin '29, LT Arthur Vorpahl '32, LT John Fairbanks, Jr. '32, LT John Tennent, III '32, LT Milton Pavlic '32, LT Nathaniel Dial '32, LT Reader Scott '32, and LTjg George Fuller '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT James Willis '27 (Postgraduate School, Naval Academy).


Class of 1922

John is one of 27 members of the Class of 1922 on Virtual Memorial Hall.