PHILIP H. TORREY, JR., CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Philip Torrey, Jr. '34

Date of birth: April 25, 1913

Date of death: February 16, 1945

Age: 31

Lucky Bag

From the 1934 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Phil was shot down on February 16, 1945, during the first carrier air raids on Tokyo. He was Commanding Officer of Air Group (CAG) 9, embarked in USS Enterprise (CV 6).

His wife was listed as next of kin. His ashes remain in a temple near the crash site and he has a memorial gravestone in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Return

Col Phil Torrey, III, USMC (ret.) was able to find his father's remains as detailed in this incredible story:

A longer presentation of this story is here:

Remembrance

1934 Torrey 2.jpg

From the dedication page of the Carrier Air Group Nine book on its second Pacific cruise:

To
Commander Philip H. Torrey, Jr.
United States Navy

Commander, Carrier Air Group Nine
December 1943 - February 1945

Killed in First Carrier Raids on Tokyo
16 February 1945

"Outstanding leadership is the quality above all others that inspires fighting spirit. The remarkable records of some air groups reveal and confirm the fact that the Air Group Commanders were outstandingly capable leaders. It has now become axiomatic that the fighting spirit, combat efficiency and success of air groups reflect in almost an exact ratio, the extent to which those qualities are found in their leaders"
-Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet

Navy Cross

1934 Torrey 1.jpg

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. (NSN: 0-73559), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Plane and Commander of Air Group NINE (AG-9), attached to the U.S.S. ESSEX (CV-9), in action on 16 and 17 February 1945, while deployed over Truk in the Caroline Islands. On these dates, Lieutenant Commander Torrey coordinated and directed four strikes of the ESSEX and INTREPID Air Groups against the Japanese stronghold in Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands. These were the first strikes of World War II against this great keystone of the Japanese inner line of defenses. He skillfully employed the forces at his command in repeated attacks against enemy combatant ships, merchant shipping, airfields, grounded aircraft and base installations. Despite enemy fighter opposition and in the face of heavy, accurate anti-aircraft fire, these attacks were pressed home successfully and resulted in extensive damage to the enemy's naval and merchant shipping and base installations. He strafed such targets of opportunity as his paramount duties permitted. His leadership, planning, courage and individual actions contributed greatly to the success of this mission as a whole and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: February 16 & 17, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Regiment: Air Group 9 (AG-9)
Division: U.S.S. Essex (CV-9)

Note: Hall of Valor gives all dates above in 1944, as does Home of Heroes. Believe this is a simple transcription error.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. (NSN: 0-73559), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commander of a Fighting Squadron during the attack on Marcus Island, 31 August 1943. He successfully directed his squadron in the accomplishment of extensive damage to the enemy shore installations and grounded airplanes in the face of enemy aircraft fire. His ability to organize and the leadership, judgment, and courage that he displayed contributed materially to the success of the attack. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: August 31, 1943
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. (NSN: 0-73559), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commander of a Fighter Squadron during a strike on enemy shipping at Rabaul, New Britain, on 11 November 1943. Lieutenant Commander Torrey and his fighter squadron provided such excellent protection for the bombing planes during the attack and subsequent retirement, that although they were under constant attack by enemy fighters, only one bomber was lost. In the action his squadron destroyed fourteen of the sixteen enemy planes which were shot down, he himself destroying one and severely damaging another. In a subsequent counter-attack by enemy aircraft the same day, his squadron destroyed forty-one of the attacking planes for a total of fifty-five Japanese planes during the two engagements. His outstanding leadership, excellent training progress, and courageous devotion to duty were largely responsible for the complete success of the missions and the severe damage dealt to the Japanese forces. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: November 11, 1943
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. (NSN: 0-73559), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the first strike of World War II against Saipan, Marianas Islands, 22 February 1944. In spite of considerable difficulties and despite circumstances that tended to thwart the successful execution of this operation, he, as Commander Carrier Air Group NINE, led his Air Group in a successful attack against the Japanese airfield and seaplane base at Saipan. Despite a storm which completely obscured the target to an altitude of 12,000 feet, he reached his objective, and, by taking advantage of intermittent breaks in weather, successfully attacked the airfield, seaplane base and grounded planes thereon, in the face of enemy anti-aircraft fire. He made repeated strafing attacks, one of which was so low that an enemy plane exploding directly beneath him, resulted in pieces of the debris penetrating the undersurface of his starboard wing. He also obtained excellent oblique photographs of this hitherto un-photographed enemy base. His leadership, planning, courage and individual actions contributed greatly to the success of the mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: February 22, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Third Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. (NSN: 0-73559), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the line of his profession as Commander of a carrier based Air Group. He displayed conspicuous gallantry and skill during the aerial attacks in support of the assault and occupation of Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, during the period 29 January to 3 February 1944. He successfully led his group in many attacks, through extremely difficult and hazardous conditions, which inflicted severe damage to enemy installations. These attacks were carried out in the face of heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire, repeated enemy fighter attacks, and dangerous flying weather. His courage and skill in these actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: January 29 - February 3, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Note: the dates in this final Distinguished Flying Cross are correct; unclear why it was awarded after the previous one, which occurred after the action here.

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.

October 1935

Ensign, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27, ENS Frederick Purdy '33, ENS Walker Ethridge '34, ENS Edward Robertson '35, ENS George Philip, Jr. '35, and ENS Manning Kimmel '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B) and ENS George Klinsmann '33 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B).

January 1936

Ensign, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27, ENS Walker Ethridge '34, ENS Edward Robertson '35, ENS George Philip, Jr. '35, and ENS Manning Kimmel '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B) and ENS George Klinsmann '33 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B).

April 1936

Ensign, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27, ENS Edward Robertson '35, ENS George Philip, Jr. '35, and ENS Manning Kimmel '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B) and ENS Walker Ethridge '34 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B).

July 1936

Ensign, USS Litchfield

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Walker Ethridge '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LCDR William Ault '22 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg James Tyler '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Webster Johnson '36 (USS Enterprise), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise).

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Walker Ethridge '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LCDR William Ault '22 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Webster Johnson '36 (USS Enterprise), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise).

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Walker Ethridge '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Lester Wall, Jr. '39 (USS Enterprise).

June 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Walker Ethridge '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Ralph Smith '26 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LT Edward Allen '31 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise).

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LCDR George Grove '15, CDR William Sample '19, LT Finley Hall '29, LT John Yoho '29, LT William Pennewill '29, LT Lance Massey '30, LT Albert Major, Jr. '32, LT Daniel Gothie '32, LT Dewitt Shumway '32, LT George Bellinger '32, LT John Spiers '32, LT Martin Koivisto '32, ENS Frank Peterson '33, LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33, LTjg Charles Ware '34, LTjg Charles Brewer '34, CAPT Floyd Parks '34, LTjg Frank Whitaker '34, LTjg George Nicol '34, LTjg Walker Ethridge '34, LTjg Allan Edmands '35, LTjg John Powers '35, LTjg Richard Stephenson '35, LTjg Victor Gadrow '35, LTjg Porter Maxwell '36, LTjg Roy Krogh '36, LTjg Frank Henderson, Jr. '37, LTjg John Thomas '37, LTjg John Boal '37, LTjg Richard Hughes '37, ENS Alphonse Minvielle '38, ENS Carl Holmstrom '38, ENS Charles Anderson '38, ENS Charles King '38, ENS Charles Reimann '38, ENS Curtis Howard '38, ENS Donald Smith '38, 2LT Douglas Keeler '38, ENS Edmundo Gandia '38, ENS Eric Allen, Jr. '38, ENS Frank Quady '38, ENS Frank Case, Jr. '38, ENS Harry Bass '38, ENS Harry Howell '38, ENS Howard Clark '38, ENS Howard Fischer '38, ENS James Ginn '38, 2LT James Owens '38, ENS Jep Jonson '38, ENS John Kelley '38, ENS John Erickson '38, 2LT John Maclaughlin, Jr. '38, ENS John Eversole '38, ENS Leonard Thornhill '38, ENS Marion Dufilho '38, ENS Osborne Wiseman '38, ENS Oswald Zink '38, ENS Richard Crommelin '38, ENS Robert Seibels, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Green, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Hale, Jr. '38, ENS William Brady '38, ENS William Tate, Jr. '38, and ENS William Lamberson '38.


Class of 1934

Philip is one of 41 members of the Class of 1934 on Virtual Memorial Hall.