JOHN L. MEHLIG, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Mehlig '37

Date of birth: January 19, 1915

Date of death: February 21, 1945

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


Loss

John was lost when USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95) was sunk by two kamikazes on February 21, 1945 while supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima. He was the ship's executive officer.

He does not have anyone listed as next of kin.

Career

John was promoted to LTJG on June 3, 1940; on December 2, 1941 he was designated naval aviator #9988. He was promoted to LT on January 2, 1942 and reported as executive officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 6 aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) on August 24, 1942. He was promoted to LCDR on July 1, 1943 and on some unknown date after this became executive officer of USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95). (Information from Richard Leonard, naval aviation historian.)

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.

July 1938

Ensign, USS Tennessee

Others at this command: LT Roderick Rooney '29, LTjg Joseph Lacombe '33, LTjg Robert Fair '33, and ENS Kenneth Pound '37.

January 1939

Ensign, USS Tennessee

Others at this command: LT Roderick Rooney '29, LTjg Joseph Lacombe '33, LTjg Robert Fair '33, and ENS Kenneth Pound '37.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Tennessee

Others at this command: LT Roderick Rooney '29, ENS Alfred Wallace '39, ENS Dudley Adams '39, and ENS Karl Border '39.

June 1940

Ensign, USS Tennessee

Others at this command: ENS Alfred Wallace '39, ENS Dudley Adams '39, ENS Karl Border '39, ENS Carlton Rees '40, and ENS James Cannon '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Claude Haman '26 (Observation Squadron (VO) 2).

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Tennessee

Others at this command: ENS Dudley Adams '39, ENS Karl Border '39, ENS Carlton Rees '40, and ENS James Cannon '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Claude Haman '26 (Observation Squadron (VO) 2).

April 1941

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Tennessee

Others at this command: ENS Karl Border '39, ENS Carlton Rees '40, and ENS James Cannon '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Claude Haman '26 (Observation Squadron (VO) 2).


Class of 1937

John is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.