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:


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:

April 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia


Others at this command:

October 1927

Ensign, USS West Virginia

January 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia


Others at this command:


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:


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:

October 1928

Ensign, USS West Virginia


Others at this command:

January 1929

Ensign, USS West Virginia


Others at this command:

April 1929

Ensign, USS West Virginia


Others at this command:


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:


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:


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:


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 Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Elmer Cooper '27 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Loren Morris '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Oliver White '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Thomas Ashworth, Jr. '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B)

January 1936

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


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:

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

April 1936

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


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:

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

July 1936

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


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:

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

January 1937

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


Others at this command:


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 Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B)
LTjg Leo Crane '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Robert Strickler '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)
LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger)
ENS Milton Ricketts '35 (USS Ranger)
ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger)

April 1937

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


Others at this command:


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 Robert Strickler '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)
LTjg William Townsend '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B)
LTjg William Widhelm '32 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger)
ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger)
ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger)

September 1937

Lieutenant, Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2, USS Lexington


Others at this command:


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)
ENS Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (USS Lexington)

January 1938

Lieutenant, Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2, USS Lexington


Others at this command:


Others at or embarked at USS Lexington:

LT William Eaton '21 (USS Lexington)
LT John Duke '26 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2)
LTjg John Speer '32 (USS Lexington)
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 Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (USS Lexington)

July 1938

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


Others at this command:

January 1939

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


Others at this command:

October 1939

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


Others at this command:

June 1940

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise


Others at this command:


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 Walker Ethridge '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 6)
LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6)
LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 6)
LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6)
ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise)
ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise)

November 1940

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise


Others at this command:


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 Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise)

April 1941

Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, USS Enterprise


Others at this command:


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 John Eversole '38 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6)
ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise)
ENS John Kelley '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 6)
ENS Frank Quady '38 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 6)
ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise)
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.

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.