From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Melvin '11

Date of birth: October 16, 1887

Date of death: November 5, 1917

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1911 Lucky Bag:


John was lost on November 5, 1917 when USS Alcedo (SP 166) was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of France while on convoy escort duty.

From Wikipedia:

Born at Selma, Alabama, Melvin was appointed midshipman 6 July 1907 and commissioned ensign 7 July 1911. Resigning his commission 20 August 1915, he was appointed lieutenant (jg.), 9 February 1917, upon his joining the Naval Reserve.

Attached to the patrol boat Alcedo, Lieutenant (jg.) Melvin lost his life 5 November 1917 when that vessel was sunk by a German submarine in the war zone. Alcedo was the first American war vessel to go down in World War I, and Lieutenant Melvin is officially recognized as the first American naval officer to die in the war.

He had reported to Alcedo on June 12, 1917.

His father was listed as next of kin. John has a memory marker in Alabama.


Both USS Melvin (DD 335) and USS Melvin (DD 680) were named for Melvin; the latter ship was sponsored by his grandniece.

Memorial Hall Error

John was promoted to LT(j.g.) on March 22, 1915. He resigned his commission on August 20, 1915; when he returned to the service on February 9, 1917, it was as a member of the "USNRF." Memorial Hall has "USN."

Class of 1911

John is one of 15 members of the Class of 1911 on Virtual Memorial Hall.