From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Shepherd, III '39

Date of birth: February 13, 1917

Date of death: March 28, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


John was lost when USS Trigger (SS 237) was sunk by Japanese surface forces in the East China Sea on March 28, 1945. He was acting executive officer of the boat.

His wife was listed as next of kin.


From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Houston (CA-30) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Jul 1940
  • Duty USS Mustin (DD-413) 1 Nov 1940
  • Under Instruction Submarine School New London 1942
  • TDC Operator USS Trigger (SS-237) Mar 1944 - May 1944
  • Acting Captain USS Trigger (SS-237) 31 May 1944 - 1 Jul 1944
  • Executive Officer USS Trigger (SS-237) 1944 - Mar 1945
  • Ensign 1 Jun 1939
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant (T) 15 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 15 Mar 1944

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Commander John Eldon Shepherd, III (NSN: 0-82592), United States Navy, for gallantry and intrepidity in action in the performance of his duties as Torpedo Data Computer Operator in the U.S.S. TRIGGER (SS-237), during the NINTH War Patrol of that Submarine from 23 March 1944 to 15 May 1944. His skill and ability in operating the Torpedo Data Computer enabled him to furnish his Commanding Officer with accurate attack data, thereby contributing directly to the success of his vessel in sinking four enemy passenger-freighters and one destroyer totaling 33,200 tons, and damaging four additional enemy ships totaling 18,050 tons. His efficiency and coolness during severe enemy countermeasures greatly assisted his ship in conducting successful evasive tactics. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to the officers and men in his ship, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 06666 (November 17, 1944
Action Date: March 23 - May 15, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Torpedo Data Computer Operator
Division: U.S.S. Trigger (SS-237)

He was also awarded the Bronze Star medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal; unable to find citations.

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.

November 1940

Ensign, USS Mustin

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, USS Mustin

Class of 1939

John is one of 78 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.