From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Ralph Elden '31

Date of birth: unknown

Date of death: June 6, 1942

Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

From the 1931 Lucky Bag:


Ralph was lost when USS Hammann (DD 412) was sunk by a torpedo from the Japanese destroyer I-168 during the Battle of Midway on June 6, 1942. He was the ship's executive officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin; she passed away in 2004. A son, Thomas, also survived him.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Ralph Waldo Elden (NSN: 0-70255), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and extreme disregard for personal safety while serving as Executive Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. HAMMANN (DD-412), during action against enemy Japanese forces near Midway Island, on 6 June 1942. When the Commanding Officer was temporarily disabled, Lieutenant Elden immediately took charge and, with cool courage and unfailing presence of mind, continued to direct abandon ship operations aboard the rapidly sinking vessel until the decks were completely awash and he went down into the sea. A few seconds thereafter he was killed by an underwater explosion. While faithfully and efficiently performing his duties he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.

General Orders: Authority: Board of Awards: Serial 19 (October 14, 1942)
Action Date: 6-Jun-42
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Executive Officer
Division: U.S.S. Hammann (DD-412)


USS Elden (DE 264) was named for Ralph; the ship was sponsored by either his mother (per Wikipedia) or his widow (per her obituary).

Class of 1931

Ralph is one of 50 members of the Class of 1931 in Memorial Hall.