JOHN S. DALTON, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Dalton '38

Date of birth: June 24, 1915

Date of death: July 18, 1943

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:

Loss

John was lost when his F4F-4 Wildcat fighter was shot down on July 18, 1943 while escorting land-based bombers over the Russell Islands in the Solomon Island chain. He was flying with Fighting Squadron (VF) 28, possibly from USS Sangamon (CVE 26). (Note: One site lists him as flying from USS Independence (CVL 22); that ship departed San Francisco on July 14 and therefore could not have been John's ship.)

His mother was listed as next of kin.

Career

From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

  • Date of rank LTJG from 1 Jul 1941 USN Register, 6/2/1941
  • NAS Pensacola attached for HTA flight training, 7/24/1941
  • NAS Pensacola designated NA # 9987, 12/3/1941
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1942 USN Register, 6/15/1942
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1943 USN Register, 6/15/1942
  • VF-28 USS Chenango (CVE-28) AM MIA BNR, 7/18/1943

VF-28 was assigned aboard USS Chenango in July and August 1943, though often rotated ashore. VF-26 was aboard USS Suwannee in this same time period (from USN Aircraft Location reports).

Memorial Hall Error

John was promoted to LCDR on July 1, 1943 (to date from June 15, 1942). Memorial Hall has LT.

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 Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT John French '22, LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, and ENS Elmer Anderson '35.

January 1939

Ensign, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LT John French '22, LT Louis Drexler, Jr. '23, and ENS Elmer Anderson '35.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Philadelphia

Others at this command: LCDR John French '22 and ENS Elmer Anderson '35.

June 1940

Ensign, USS Schenck

November 1940

Ensign, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LCDR Max Stormes '24.

April 1941

Ensign, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LCDR Max Stormes '24.


Class of 1938

John is one of 71 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.