JOHN L. ERICKSON, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Erickson '38

Date of birth: unknown

Date of death: December 15, 1944

Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:

Loss

John was lost when his aircraft was shot down during a raid on Clark Airfield in the Philippines on December 15, 1944. He was commanding officer of Bombing Squadron (VB) 7, operating from USS Hancock (CV 19). (Note one site lists his aircraft as a F6F-5N Hellcat night fighter of Fighting Squadron (VF) 7; as the commanding officer of a different (bombing) squadron this seems unlikely.)

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander John Lonam Erickson (NSN: 0-81271), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber and Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), attached to the U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle for Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands Area, on 25 October 1944. Leading his flight of bombing planes in a powerfully coordinated attack against major units of the Japanese Fleet, Lieutenant Commander Erickson unhesitatingly plunged through an accurate and merciless barrage of heavy and medium anti-aircraft fire from hostile guns to press home his aggressive attack and, releasing a 1,000-pound bomb at a perilously low altitude, scored a devastating hit on the bow of a large enemy battleship. A determined and forceful leader, Lieutenant Commander Erickson, by his superb airmanship, daring combat tactics and indomitable fighting spirit maintained throughout this period of furious action, contributed directly to the infliction of serious and costly damage on this Japanese man-of-war and to the ultimate success of our sustained drive against the enemy in the Pacific War Theater. His valiant devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: 25-Oct-44
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron 7 (VB-7)
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)

Legion of Merit

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander John Lonam Erickson (NSN: 0-81271), United States Navy, was awarded the Legion of Merit (Posthumously) for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked in U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in the Pacific war area, from 21 February 1944 to 15 December 1944.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 357 (December 1946)
Action Date: February 21 - December 15, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron 7 (VB-7)
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander John Lonam Erickson (NSN: 0-81271), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked in U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), over Kilrun on 13 October 1944.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 354 (September 1946)
Action Date: October 13, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron 7 (VB-7)
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander John Lonam Erickson (NSN: 0-81271), United States Navy, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked in U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in the Philippine Islands area on 29 October 1944.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 354 (September 1946)
Action Date: October 29, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron 7 (VB-7)
Division: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)


Class of 1938

John is one of 69 members of the Class of 1938 in Memorial Hall.