LARUE C. LAWBAUGH, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

LaRue Lawbaugh '20

Date of birth: February 12, 1897

Date of death: March 28, 1938

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1920 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From Pace Aeropress:

Enroute from Palm Springs, CA to NAS North Island, San Diego, CA [on March 28, 1938]. The aircraft had flown earlier in the day from San Diego to March Field & then on to Palm Springs where they rested. The aircraft departed Palm Springs at 1415 for its return flight & failed to arrive. The aircraft was not equipped with a radio, but was seen entering in the San Gorgonio Pass.

A search by 25 USN & USMC aircraft was grounded by bad wx on the first day. By 31 Mar, over USN, USMC & USAAC aircraft from NAS North Island & the March Field were searching the San Gorgonio & San Jacinto Mountain areas. Storms & low ceilings continued to hamper the search. By early April, the search had extended to the coastal areas of Southern CA. Though the USN expressed optimism that the aircraft would be found, no trace of the aircraft was ever found. On 18 April, the USN posted a $500 reward.

Pilot LCDR Larue C. Lawbaugh & AMM1c Erin Key.

Biography

From researcher Kathy Franz:

LaRue’s father was Charles, and his mother was Bertha. She later married Mr. A. S. Roberts, a hotel proprietor in Carbondale. His sister was also named Bertha. LaRue married Vera Keller on July 3, 1926, in Pensacola, Florida. Vera never remarried and died in 1986.

While growing up in Carbondale, LaRue played baseball and football. In December 1913, LaRue was unanimously chosen to captain the football team the next school year. The local newspaper wrote: “The full back ought to make a good leader. He is capable, hard working and will by example inspire his men to hard work. He is always in the game from beginning to end, giving the best that he has, and well do the members of the team remember his well known battle cry, “Clout ‘em, lads,” used so often during the past season when spirits were drooping and muscles were tiring.”

LaRue graduated from the University High School in 1914 after which he spent some time in Notre Dame College, Terre Haute, Indiana. He was later appointed by Congressman E. E. Denison to the Naval Academy.

In November 1916, he played in the Navy vs. Villanova game won by the Navy 57 to 7. The newspaper wrote: “But before the whistle, the Navy had another scare. McQuicken’s pass and Reap’s run effected a glittering gain of 50 yards. Reap was clear of the field, but a Navy man, rushing out from the pack and going like a shot, dived at his man from behind, caught him and dropped him. It was Lawbaugh who made this useful and spectacular tackle.”

In December 1923, LaRue’s U.S.S. Idaho team won her third grid-iron championship of the Pacific beating the Fleet Air Force team from San Diego 15 to 6. LaRue, captain and quarterback, kicked a field goal in the first quarter, and in the fourth quarter, made a touchdown, kicked the extra point, and then hit another field goal. The other 2 points were from a safety.

In October 1920 he returned home from a cruise to Honolulu on the U. S. S. New York. He commented on the Japanese question. The local newspaper wrote: Lawbaugh said the Navy was ready any minute to go to Japan after the enemy in case of war. But Naval men believe Japan will bluff until her hand is called and then she will back down. … The United States has a present building program of 16 first line battleships, as many as there are at present. This will give us absolute supremacy. Stay out of the League of Nations and our big navy ultimatums will be enough.”

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.

January 1920

Ensign, USS Vermont

January 1921

Ensign, USS New York


Others at this command:

January 1922

Ensign, USS Idaho


Others at this command:

July 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

September 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

November 1923

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

January 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

March 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

May 1924

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Idaho


Others at this command:

October 1926

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1


Others at this command:

January 1927

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1


Others at this command:

April 1927

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1


Others at this command:

October 1929

Lieutenant, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:

January 1930

Lieutenant, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:

April 1930

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

October 1930

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

January 1931

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

April 1931

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

July 1931

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

October 1931

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

January 1932

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

April 1932

Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S, USS Salt Lake City


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Salt Lake City:

LTjg John Blue '25 (USS Salt Lake City)

October 1932

Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island


Others at this command:

January 1933

Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island


Others at this command:

April 1933

Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island


Others at this command:

July 1933

Lieutenant, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

October 1933

Lieutenant, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

April 1934

Lieutenant, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

July 1934

Lieutenant, Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B, USS Ranger


Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:

LT Samuel Arthur '20 (USS Ranger)
LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger)
LTjg William Pennewill '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B)
LTjg Robert Haven '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B)
LTjg John Burgess '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B)
LTjg James Kyes '30 (USS Ranger)
ENS William Sisko '31 (USS Ranger)
2LT Robert Brown '31 (USS Ranger)
ENS Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger)

October 1934

Lieutenant, USS Langley


Others at or embarked at this command:

LT Hallsted Hopping '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)
LTjg Oscar Pate, Jr. '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)
2LT Ernest Pollock '28 (Scouting Squadron 14-M)
LTjg Gilbert Carpenter '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)

January 1935

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

April 1935

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

October 1935

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

January 1936

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

April 1936

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

July 1936

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F


Others at this command:

January 1937

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F


Others at this command:

April 1937

Lieutenant, Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F

September 1937

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station, San Diego, California

January 1938

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station, San Diego, California


Class of 1920

LaRue is one of 28 members of the Class of 1920 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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