From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Richard Swensson '39

Date of birth: July 4, 1916

Date of death: April 29, 1944

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Richard was lost when his TBF-1 Avenger crashed on April 29, 1944 near Truk. He was a member of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 24, operating from USS Belleau Wood (CVL 24).

His wife was listed as next of kin. His brother also survived him.

Distinguished Flying Cross

In The Manhattan Mercury (newspaper) on December 6, 1944, it was reported that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross "for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a pilot of Torpedo Squadron 24 attached to an aircraft carrier in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Palau, Caroline and Ulithi islands, and at Hollondia, New Guinea, from March 30 to April 29, 1944."

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 1939

Ensign, USS Savannah

Others at this command:

June 1940

Ensign, USS Savannah

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, USS Savannah

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, USS Savannah

Others at this command:

Class of 1939

Richard is one of 78 members of the Class of 1939 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.