From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Murray Rich '43

Date of birth: February 25, 1920

Date of death: March 26, 1945

Age: 25

Naval Academy Register

Murray Moncure Rich was admitted to the Naval Academy from Pennsylvania on June 24, 1939 at age 19 years 4 months. He resigned on February 10, 1940 with note: "Deficient in studies, first term's work. Recommended to be dropped. Permitted to resign."


Lucky Bag

Murrey [sic] Moncure Rich is listed with 195 others below this inscription:

NOT ALL OF US who joined the Class of '43 stayed with us to that one broad stripe. Many fell at the end of plebe year, the casualty list mounted at the end of youngster year and a very few left us when the course was almost run. Reasons were varied and diverse: academic tangles, physical disabilities, civilian leanings.... Many went into civilian occupations, some were drafted, others became flyers and a few volunteered for foreign military service. Some left us early, many stayed for a long while, but none will be forgotten.


Murray was lost on March 26, 1945, when his A-26B Invader (#41-39463) crashed five miles east of Lake Charles Army Airfield, Louisiana. He was a member of the 138th Combat Crew Training Squadron; the two other officers aboard were also killed.


In August 1938 he was selected to take an examination for an appointment to West Point; he was an Army private (since July 1, 1938) stationed at Ft. Monroe. The paper (Daily Press Sun) also reported his father was a captain in the air corps, stationed at Lowery Field, Denver, Colorado, "Rich's home." In 1940 he was living in Denver unemployed with his father Arnold, an Army Major; mother Ruth, brother Arnold age 1, and sisters Frances 15 and Ruth 14. In 1941 draft card, he was a carpenter for Hallack and Howard Lumber in Denver. (DoB from draft card.)

A brief obituary in the Montgomery Advertiser on March 29, 1945, said Murray ("Sonny") had been in the Montgomery area for nine years while his father was stationed at Maxwell Field. It also stated that Murray "was a student at Sidney Lanier High School," and that his father (then a Colonel) and mother had resided in Washington, D.C. since the former's retirement.

Other Information

From the Greeley Tribune on August 18, 1941 (via researcher Kathy Franz):

Murray M. Rich, student pilot, was injured and the plane he was piloting wrecked Sunday afternoon when it crashed while taking off from a field on the Wallace Ewing farm three and one-half miles northwest of here.

Murray, 21, a student in primary course of the Civilian Piloting Training program with headquarters at the Ray Wilson flying school, Denver, had landed on the Wallace farm because of poor visibility caused by rain.

When conditions improved, he started to take off. He had attained only about 30 feet altitude when his motor failed and the ship nose-dived into the ground. Front end of the plane was stuck into the ground and the ship came to rest with its tail in the air. Gasoline tank and engine were shoved back toward the pilot’s seat.

Wallace Ewing and his son, William, rushed to the spot and pulled Rich from the wreckage. He was unconscious when first taken out of the wreckage.

Dr. A. T. Montsmith of Fort Lupton was called. He found that Rich had a cut on the forehead which extended down thru one eyelid. He also found Rich had an injured right shoulder and an injured left ankle.

Rich is the son of Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Rich and Mrs. Rich. Colonel Rich is stationed at Lowry field, but resides at Fort Logan.

He and Mrs. Rich rushed to Fort Lupton. They were accompanied by an army doctor from Lowry field. An army ambulance took Rich to Fitzsimons hospital where an examination was to be made to ascertain the full extent of the young pilot’s injuries.

Mr. Ewing and his son had to extricate the young flier from the wreckage thru a hole in the damaged machine, a Piper Cub.

The plane was owned by the Ray Wilson school. Flying school officials said Rich left the field there about 12:30. The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m.

Courtesy Patrolman Howard Eddy made a preliminary investigation at the scene. A crew from the flying school came here for the wrecked plane.

By a coincidence, Rich, the injured pilot and William Ewing are close personal friends. They met at Colorado university when Ewing was in school there year before last.

Rich is an applicant for training as an aviation cadet. He was on a practice cross country flight from Denver to Milliken airport when forced down.

Fitzsimons hospital reported he suffered head and body cuts and bruises, possible right shoulder fracture. His left leg also is fractured, hospital attaches reported.

He began his air training July 1 and was making practice flights for the last month. He resigned from the U. S. naval academy to prepare himself as an air pilot.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Born in Virginia, Murray entered the Naval Academy from Pennsylvania in June 1939.

In 1930, his family lived in France Field Post, Cristobal District, Panama Canal Zone. His mother was Ruth, and his sister was Francis. In June 1938, his father moved to Denver.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery; he was survived by his wife, Marie, and a son, James Arnold (born ~1939). (Family information from Richmond Times Dispatch on March 30, 1945.)

Memorial Hall Error

Murray is not listed with his classmates. This omission was discovered by reviewing the September 1946 issue of Shipmate.

Class of 1943

Murray is one of 85 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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