JOHN H. BILLINGS, LCDR, USN

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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: March 13, 1928
Date of death: April 10, 1963
Age: 35

Lucky Bag

1950 Billings LB.jpg

From the 1950 Lucky Bag:

JOHN HILARY BILLINGS

Mineola, New York

Coming to Navy Tech after a year at R.P.I., Hill soon adapted himself to the change of scenery. Quick to take interest in the various activities of the Naval Academy, he was forever confounding everyone with his remarkable versatility. Almost every week-day evening found Hill working out with the Glee Club, German Club, or Concert Band; and on winter afternoons the Fencing Team was his first love. That he was proficient in all of these is evidenced by his well-lettered B-robe and the number of times he appeared in concerts given by the musical organizations. Upon graduation, Hill wants to enter the C.E.C. or the Silent Service; but no matter where duty calls him, he will be quick to add new names to the already large roster of friends.

He was also a member of the 1st Regiment staff (3rd set).

Obituary

From USS Thresher Memorial:

1950 Billings 1.jpg

John Hilary Billings was born on March 13, 1928, in Jamaica, N.Y., and spent his early school years in that area. He was sworn into the naval service as a midshipman at the Naval Academy on June 13, 1946. Upon being graduated with the class of 1950, he was commissioned as an ensign and assigned to his first sea duty in the destroyer U.S.S. Robert L. Wilson (DD 847).

Two years later, John volunteered for submarine duty, and entered the Submarine School at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut. He was graduated in December 1952, 10th in a class of 89. He then served in the submarines U.S.S. Bugara (SS 331), and later the U.S.S. Bonita (SS 552), based in San Diego, California. During this period, John became qualified in submarines, and was awarded his gold dolphins. He was also qualified to command submarines.

He was selected for graduate study and attended the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and the University of Maryland, where he earned a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, in the Navy advanced science program in 1960.

After a 6-month course of instruction in nuclear submarine familiarization at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, he was assigned duties as assistant planning and estimating superintendent (new construction) in the planning department of the shipyard.

In addition to his regular professional attainments, he had both and interest and talent in teaching. While stationed at Portsmouth, he taught an accredited extension course in applied mathematics for the University of New Hampshire. He was an accomplished pianist and taught his young daughter to play. A devout Catholic, he took an active interest in church affairs and was president of the Holy Name Society at Saint Michael's Church. He was a German linguist and Russian translator.

During his naval service, he had been awarded the World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal with European Clasp, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, China Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.

John is survived by his widow, the former Deloras W. Welsant of Baltimore, Md.; five children, Vicki A.; John H. Jr.; Mary M., Catherine, and Blake B. He also leaves his mother, Mrs. Edna M. Billings of Mineola, N.Y.

From USNA 1950:

John served on the USS Wilson. Following submarine school he served on USS Bugara and USS Bonita. He completed his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at University of Maryland in 1960. He taught applied mathematics at the University of New Hampshire while assigned as planning and estimating superintendent at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He was an accomplished pianist, a German linguist and Russian translator. He was a Lt. Commander when lost aboard the USS Thresher on its fateful dive on April 10, 1963.

John has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

John Dunham ’50 was also a member of the 1st Regiment staff (3rd set).

George Duncan, Jr. '50 was also a member of the 12th Company.

Philip Allen '45, John Harvey '50, Robert Krag '50, Michael DiNola '53, Robert Biederman '54, Merrill Collier '56, John Wiley '59, Guy Parsons, Jr. '59, James Henry, Jr. '60, Ronald Babcock '60, and John Grafton '61 were also lost when USS Thresher (SSN 593) sank with all hands on April 10, 1963.


Class Navigation

Class of 1950
John is one of 35 members of the Class of 1950 in Memorial Hall.
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