From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Nelson Samuels '33

Date of birth: November 1, 1910

Date of death: March 13, 1934

Age: 23

Lucky Bag

From the 1933 Lucky Bag:


1933 Samuels 1.jpg

Nelson was killed in the crash of an observation plane on March 13, 1934 while in training with the US Army's aviation cadet program. He had entered the program in July 1933. He would have graduated in July 1934.


From the 1953 edition of the book "Double Three Roundup," published by the class of 1933:

Sam grew up, proved himself, succeeded, and died not long after graduation. The Commandant at Kelly Field wrote his mother that he had been "the outstanding material of several years, a natural for flying". The details of his death are characteristic of flight disasters. Nelson T. Samuels of Kelly Field was instantly killed when his observation type plane crashed at Camp Bullis on March 13, 1934. Sam, the student flier, started his advanced training at Kelly Field March 5th after graduating from primary and basic courses at Randolph Field. He was on a reconnaissance mission at the time of the accident. Soldiers on duty at Camp Bullis saw the plane go into a spin at about 1000 feet and crash to the ground.

Dick Poor tells us that he took Sam's body home to his family. Dick also say. "The first bomb I dropped in World War II had scrawled in chalk on its side 'Regards from N.T.S.', and I placed it on a Jap ammunition storage on Maloelap Island. The surge I felt beneath me when it went off must have meant that somehow he knew it had been put in the right place for him." Sam is survived by his mother, Mrs. E. P. Samuels of Severna Park, Maryland; his sister, Frances (Mrs. Carl V. Fellows), and his brother, Bill (USNA class of 1935).

For our tribute we borrow his roommate's comment: "Always laughing — full of fun a wonderful friend."

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Class of 1933

Nelson is one of 38 members of the Class of 1933 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.