JOHN J. ELDRIDGE, JR., LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Eldridge, Jr. '27

Date of birth: October 10, 1903

Date of death: November 2, 1942

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1927 Lucky Bag:


Loss

John with his wife Dorothy.

John was lost on November 2, 1942 when his aircraft was shot down during an attack on a Japanese convoy in "the slot" at Guadalcanal.

He was shot down once earlier; unclear on exactly when.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Navy Cross

1927 Eldridge 2.jpg

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge, Jr. (NSN: 0-61105), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Scouting Plane and Commanding Officer of Scouting Squadron SEVENTY-ONE (VS-71), attached to the U.S.S. WASP (CV-7), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 7 to 8 August 1942. Leading the first dive-bombing attack against hostile positions on the islands of Gavutu and Tanambogo, Lieutenant Commander Eldridge, with cool courage and utter disregard for his own safety, personally destroyed Japanese gun emplacements in front of the Marine Landing Area on Gavutu Island, thereby making possible a successful landing in that area. His proficient skill and timely effectiveness in directing the bombing of enemy gun positions, stores and dugouts, contributed materially to the seizure of the islands and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander In Chief Pacific Fleet: Serial 25 (January 16, 1943)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge, Jr. (NSN: 0-61105), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron SEVENTY-ONE (VF-71), attached to the U.S.S. WASP (CV-7), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area during the period 5 through 14 October 1942. Landing in an early morning flight against a Japanese seaplane base at Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel Island on 5 October, Lieutenant Commander Eldridge launched a vigorous attack, inflicting considerable damage on enemy float planes and anti-aircraft emplacements in spite of extremely adverse weather conditions. Returning to Guadalcanal after being rescued from a forced landing, he led several daring scout-bombing attacks against enemy ships, causing fires and, in one known instance, sinking a Japanese destroyer. His expert airmanship and outstanding devotion to duty contributed materially to the defense of our positions in this area.

General Orders: Commander Southern Pacific Forces: Serial 648 (February 26, 1943)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge, Jr. (NSN: 0-61105), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during World War II. Despite continual enemy shelling of mud-covered Henderson Field, Lieutenant Commander Eldridge effected an extremely difficult take-off on 25 October 1942, to participate in vital bombing of approaching Japanese surface forces. In the ensuing engagement he assisted his four-plane group in destroying a Japanese cruiser and in damaging another warship.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 325 (April 1944)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Namesake

USS Eldridge (DE 173) was named for John; the ship was sponsored by his widow.


Class of 1927

John is one of 43 members of the Class of 1927 in Memorial Hall.