RALPH D. SMITH, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Ralph Smith '26

Date of birth: October 11, 1905

Date of death: May 21, 1941

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1926 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Abilene Reporter-News of Abilene, Texas on May 23, 1941:

WASHINGTON. May 23. The navy reported today the death of Lt. Ralph Dempsey Smith and Chief Radioman Clarence Widner Allen in the crash of a naval plane piloted by Smith. The plane came down in the waters of Pearl Harbor. Hawaii. Both men were attached to the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Allen is survived by his widow, Mrs. Nellie May Allen, San Diego, and his father, C. E. Allen, Mabanks, Tex.

Ralph had only been at Hawaii for two weeks, according to another report. He was survived by his wife, Marie, and two children, Ralph Jr. and Susanne; they were in San Diego at the time.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. It's possible that he was commanding officer of Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, though he is not listed as such in the 1941 Navy Directory. His headstone gives his rank as LCDR, but all other reports and records are that he was a Lieutenant.

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 1926

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS John Gotjen, Jr. '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 1).

January 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS John Gotjen, Jr. '26.

April 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Joseph Johnson '24, ENS Francis Black '26, and ENS John Gotjen, Jr. '26.

October 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

January 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Warren Graf '27, and ENS Wendell Osborn '27.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Herbert Ballinger '24 (Observation Squadron (VO) 2B).

April 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Warren Graf '27, and ENS Wendell Osborn '27.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Herbert Ballinger '24 (Observation Squadron (VO) 2B).

July 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27 and ENS Wendell Osborn '27.

October 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Wendell Osborn '27, ENS Carl Lindgren '28, and ENS Weldon Hamilton '28.

January 1929

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Wendell Osborn '27, ENS Carl Lindgren '28, and ENS Weldon Hamilton '28.

April 1929

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Wendell Osborn '27, ENS Carl Lindgren '28, and ENS Weldon Hamilton '28.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Stephen Cooke '21 (Observation Squadron (VO) 5B).

July 1929

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Carl Lindgren '28, ENS Weldon Hamilton '28, and ENS Francis Jordan '29.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Stephen Cooke '21 (Observation Squadron (VO) 5B).

October 1929

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS West Virginia

Others at this command: ENS Cyrus Clendening '27, ENS Carl Lindgren '28, and ENS Francis Jordan '29.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Stephen Cooke '21 (Observation Squadron (VO) 5B).

October 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

January 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

April 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

July 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

October 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

January 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

April 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

October 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

January 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

April 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Hovey

October 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Saratoga

Others at this command: LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31, LTjg Albert Gates, Jr. '32, ENS Paul Burton '33, ENS Wendell Froling '34, and ENS Maurice Fitzgerald '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT John Gillon '20 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons), LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Charles Signer '26 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B), LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B), LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons), LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B), LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), LTjg Oliver White '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B), LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B), LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B), and LTjg Thomas Ashworth, Jr. '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B).

January 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Baylies Clark '30 and LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LT Hallsted Hopping '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LT James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LT Walter Dey '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg James McRoberts '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Alden Irons '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg William Sisko '31 (USS Ranger), LTjg William Freshour '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), ENS William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), ENS Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), and ENS Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Ranger).

April 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Baylies Clark '30 and LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LT Hallsted Hopping '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LT James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LT Walter Dey '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg James McRoberts '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Alden Irons '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg William Freshour '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), ENS Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), and ENS Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Ranger).

July 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Albert Gray '31 and LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LTjg James McRoberts '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Leo Crane '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Robert Strickler '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), ENS Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), ENS Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Ranger), and ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger).

January 1937

Lieutenant, Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Albert Gray '31 and LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LT Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Finley Hall '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Leo Crane '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Robert Strickler '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), ENS Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Ranger), and ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger).

April 1937

Lieutenant, Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Albert Gray '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LT Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Finley Hall '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Leo Crane '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Robert Strickler '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg William Townsend '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B), LTjg Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

September 1937

Lieutenant, Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LT Renwick Calderhead '27, LTjg Burden Hastings '33, and LTjg George Klinsmann '33.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LT William Eaton '21 (USS Lexington), LT John Duke '26 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2), LTjg George Ottinger '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 2), LTjg William Kane '33 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2), LTjg Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 2), ENS John Eichmann '35 (USS Lexington), and ENS Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (USS Lexington).

January 1938

Lieutenant, Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2, USS Lexington

Others at this command: LT Renwick Calderhead '27, LTjg Burden Hastings '33, and LTjg George Klinsmann '33.

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington: LT William Eaton '21 (USS Lexington), LT John Duke '26 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2), LTjg George Ottinger '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 2), LTjg John Speer '32 (USS Lexington), LTjg William Kane '33 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2), LTjg Thompson Guthrie, Jr. '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 2), and ENS Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (USS Lexington).

July 1938

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 3, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LT John Eldridge, Jr. '27.

January 1939

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 3, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LT John Eldridge, Jr. '27.

October 1939

Lieutenant, Patrol Squadron (VP) 32, Coco Solo, Canal Zone

Others at this command: LT Gerald Dyson '27.

June 1940

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LT Edward Allen '31 and LTjg Hubert Harden '35.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (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 Philip Torrey, Jr. '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 6), LTjg Walker Ethridge '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 6), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise).

November 1940

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LT Edward Allen '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Paul Riley '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise).

April 1941

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LT Edward Allen '31.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Paul Riley '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), ENS Frank Quady '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 6), ENS John Kelley '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 6), ENS John Eversole '38 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise), and ENS William Williamson, Jr. '41 (USS Enterprise).


Class of 1926

Ralph is one of 36 members of the Class of 1926 on Virtual Memorial Hall.