JOSEPH A. CROOK, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Joseph Crook '36

Date of birth: January 15, 1916

Date of death: August 16, 1942

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1936 Lucky Bag:

1936 Crook LB.jpg

Joseph Alexander Crook

Jackson, Tennessee

"Joe"

Life began at 16, when Joe left Tennessee for Annapolis. He is the youth of the class, yet he starred with ease plebe year. Too much sleep deprived him of his collar decorations the next, but by dint of fitful spells of frantic research he finished in the proverbial blaze of glory. Although he expresses a vigorous denial, he is the perpetual ladies man who glides with ease over the floors of Dahlgren or Carvel, with the times from weekend to weekend mere tolerated intervals to the greater things in life. He is an inveterate chowhound, with an uncanny ability to ferret out any tasty morsel. His chief diversions are cards and tennis. You may safely lay odds that Joe will come out ahead no matter what the game, cards or life, for he plays well.

Wrestling 4; Class Wrestling 3; Lacrosse 4; Class Football 3; Radio Club 2, 1; Company Representative 1; Star 4, 2, 1; Two Stripes

1936 Crook LB.jpg

Joseph Alexander Crook

Jackson, Tennessee

"Joe"

Life began at 16, when Joe left Tennessee for Annapolis. He is the youth of the class, yet he starred with ease plebe year. Too much sleep deprived him of his collar decorations the next, but by dint of fitful spells of frantic research he finished in the proverbial blaze of glory. Although he expresses a vigorous denial, he is the perpetual ladies man who glides with ease over the floors of Dahlgren or Carvel, with the times from weekend to weekend mere tolerated intervals to the greater things in life. He is an inveterate chowhound, with an uncanny ability to ferret out any tasty morsel. His chief diversions are cards and tennis. You may safely lay odds that Joe will come out ahead no matter what the game, cards or life, for he plays well.

Wrestling 4; Class Wrestling 3; Lacrosse 4; Class Football 3; Radio Club 2, 1; Company Representative 1; Star 4, 2, 1; Two Stripes

Loss

Joseph was lost when the transport plane he was aboard crashed near Kodiak, Alaska, on August 16, 1942.

From Wartime Press, this undated passage:

Plane With 14 Missing in Alaska - A U.S. Navy plane with a crew of four and ten passengers enroute from Kodiak to Whitehorse, Alaska was reported overdue by the Navy Department, which notified next of kin of those aboard that the crew and passengers were missing. The flight was a routine one from Kodiak to Seattle, Wash. Three planes started on the trip and were forced to fly by instrument soon after taking off. Two made their way through the bad weather to Whitehorse. Naval aircraft have been making searches for the missing plane and other agencies were asked to assist in the search.

Those aboard the missing plane were Commander Joyce A. Ralph, USN; Lieut. Comdrs. Burton Lee Doggett, USN, Jerome H. Sparbo. USNR and Paul H. Tobelman, USN; Captain Arthur Barrows. USMC; Lieuts. Joseph A. Crook, USN and Thomas E. Johnson. Jr. (ChC), USN; Lieuts. (j.g.) Thomas G. Cherikos, USNR. Charles E. Deterding, USN and Jay A. Noble, Jr.. USN: Ensign Charles L. Mixon, USNR; Charles E. Barber. ACRM. USN; H. A. Scott, ACRM, USN, and C O. Walton, AMM2c. USN.

The aircraft was never located, and all 14 passengers and crew were declared dead a year and a day following their disappearance. The aircraft was a part of Transport Squadron (VR) 2.

Other Information

From The Jackson Sun on August 23, 1942

From researcher Kathy Franz:

His parents received a letter from Captain Mayo, commander of the Nevada in 1936 & 1937, paying high compliment to the young man. He stated that Joseph was not only a splendid officer, but he had other qualifications, including good manners, which would guarantee for him a career in the Navy. He was selected for post-graduate training at Annapolis.

Joseph was aboard USS St. Louis (CL 49) on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor. Describing his action at that time in a message to his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Jere Crook, he stated: "We shot our way out of Pearl Harbor and brought down three Japanese planes." He specialized in both gunnery and navigation and was directing the fire on his ship.

He was to be married on September 1, 1942, to Anne McGuigan, daughter of Capt. and Mrs. Joe McGuigan of San Francisco.

His father was listed as next of kin.

Related Articles

Joyce Ralph '23, Burton Doggett '24, Paul Tobelman '26, Charles Deterding, Jr. '40, and Jay Noble, Jr. '40 were also passengers aboard this aircraft.

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.

April 1937
Ensign, USS Nevada

July 1938
Ensign, staff, US Fleet, USS Pennsylvania

Others at or embarked at USS Pennsylvania:
LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20 (USS Pennsylvania)
LTjg Martin Ray, Jr. '34 (USS Pennsylvania)
LTjg George Lambert '35 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Harold Shrider '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Howard Nester, Jr. '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS James Andrea '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Alvin Sbisa '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Leonard Thornhill '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS William Sissons '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Richard Crommelin '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
January 1939
Ensign, staff, US Fleet, USS Pennsylvania

Others at or embarked at USS Pennsylvania:
LCDR Elmer Kiehl '20 (USS Pennsylvania)
LTjg Martin Ray, Jr. '34 (USS Pennsylvania)
LTjg George Lambert '35 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Harold Shrider '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Howard Nester, Jr. '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS James Andrea '37 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Alvin Sbisa '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Leonard Thornhill '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS William Sissons '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
ENS Richard Crommelin '38 (USS Pennsylvania)
October 1939
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS St. Louis

June 1940
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS St. Louis

November 1940
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS St. Louis

April 1941
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS St. Louis


Class of 1936

Joseph is one of 39 members of the Class of 1936 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.