JOHN H. GOTJEN, JR., ENS, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Gotjen, Jr. '26

Date of birth: February 9, 1904

Date of death: October 30, 1928

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1926 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Find A Grave:

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) Wednesday, October 31, 1928, page six

Killed By Propeller
Washington. Oct. 31 - (INS) - Ensign John Herman (sic) Gotjen, Jr. of Charleston, S.C. was killed yesterday at the Pensacola Naval Air Station when he accidently walked into a whirling propeller, the navy department was advised today.

He is buried in South Carolina; his headstone bears the inscription:

In Loving Memory of Ensign John H. Gotjen, Jr., USN Feb 9, 1904 - Oct 30, 1928

Fatally Wounded on Old Corry Field Pensacola, Florida

Under the wide and starry sky,
Happy he lived and brave did he die.
Home is the sailor home from the sea,
Home where he ever loved to be.

He was survived by his parents.

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 1926

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS Ralph Smith '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1).

January 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS Ralph Smith '26.

April 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS Ralph Smith '26.

October 1927

Ensign, USS Ramapo

Others at this command: ENS Francis Black '26.

January 1928

Ensign, USS Ramapo

Others at this command: ENS Francis Black '26.

April 1928

Ensign, USS Ramapo

Others at this command: ENS Francis Black '26.


Class of 1926

John is one of 36 members of the Class of 1926 on Virtual Memorial Hall.