RICHARD S. BULL, JR., LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Richard Bull, Jr. '36

Date of birth: January 6, 1913

Date of death: May 8, 1942

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1936 Lucky Bag:

1936 Bull LB.jpg

Richard Salisbury Bull, Jr.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"Dick"

There was a high pitched whine followed by the familiar roar of a propeller blade cutting the air. As a plane taxied out on the Severn River and poised its wings for flight, another chunk of my study period was gone while the Coach explained how the Navy's air service might be improved. Six feet, two hundred pounds of brawn, Dick learned to play football in that smokiest of cities, Pittsburgh. He made good at Culver and came on to Severn for a last bit of study before signing articles with Uncle Sam. Kicking goals is his specialty but he can block and tackle like a fiend. No red mike is this man, for he believes in doing everything well. He loves athletics, the Navy, and flying. May it always be Dick's good fortune to have many happy landings.

Football 4, 3, 2, 1. N*; Basketball 2, 1; Lacrosse 2, 1; Crew 4; Wrestling 4, 3; N Club; N.A. Choir 4, 3, 2, 1; Two Stripes

1936 Bull LB.jpg

Richard Salisbury Bull, Jr.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"Dick"

There was a high pitched whine followed by the familiar roar of a propeller blade cutting the air. As a plane taxied out on the Severn River and poised its wings for flight, another chunk of my study period was gone while the Coach explained how the Navy's air service might be improved. Six feet, two hundred pounds of brawn, Dick learned to play football in that smokiest of cities, Pittsburgh. He made good at Culver and came on to Severn for a last bit of study before signing articles with Uncle Sam. Kicking goals is his specialty but he can block and tackle like a fiend. No red mike is this man, for he believes in doing everything well. He loves athletics, the Navy, and flying. May it always be Dick's good fortune to have many happy landings.

Football 4, 3, 2, 1. N*; Basketball 2, 1; Lacrosse 2, 1; Crew 4; Wrestling 4, 3; N Club; N.A. Choir 4, 3, 2, 1; Two Stripes

Loss

Richard was lost when his aircraft was shot down during the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 8, 1942. He was the 5th Division Leader of Fighting Squadron (VF) 2 and was "escorting the group commander" when he was lost. He had joined the squadron in mid-December 1941; he was "a former VF-42 pilot, [and] had just come from Britain, where he had been an aviation observer."

Other Information

From his high school yearbook

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Richard graduated in 1930 from Wilkinsburg High School. “Dick”. Varsity Football (left tackle), 2, 3, 4; Activity Board, 4; Science Club, 3, 4; National Honor Society, 4; Basketball 2,3; Treasurer French Club, 3, 4; Gym Exhibit 3, 4; Hi-Y, 4. “The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill.” Appearance: Expansive. Pet Saying: Ain’t that regustin’. Pet Diversion: Study Periods. Weakness: Blushing. Ambition: To have more girlfriends. Football toast: “To Bull, our left tackle, whose sturdy frame has led him thru battles to honor and fame.”

His wife was listed as next of kin; she passed away in 1981.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Richard Salisbury Bull, Jr. (NSN: 0-77208), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in action against Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. He engaged enemy aircraft with utter disregard for personal safety and contributed materially to the defense of our forces. In this action he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.

General Orders: Commander in Chief, Pacific: Serial 2050 (June 28, 1942)
Action Date: May 7 & 8, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant

Namesake

Both USS Richard S. Bull (DE 402) and USS Bull (DE 693) were named for Richard. Richard S. Bull was sponsored by his mother; Bull was sponsored by his widow.

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.

July 1936
Ensign, USS Indianapolis


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg Francis Black '26 (Scouting Force)
January 1937
Ensign, USS Indianapolis


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT Francis Black '26 (Scouting Force)
April 1937
Ensign, USS Indianapolis


Others at or embarked at this command:
LT Francis Black '26 (Scouting Force)
ENS Thomas Sharp '35 (Scouting Force)
September 1937
Ensign, USS Indianapolis


Others at or embarked at this command:
ENS Thomas Sharp '35 (Scouting Force)
January 1938
Ensign, USS Indianapolis

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
ENS Thomas Sharp '35 (Scouting Force)
ENS James Clark '35 (Scouting Force)
October 1939
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Squadron (VS) 41, USS Ranger

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:
LT William Pennewill '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42)
LTjg David Taylor, Jr. '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
LTjg Frederick Schrader '35 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 4)
June 1940
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Squadron (VS) 41, USS Ranger

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:
LT William Pennewill '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42)
LTjg Wendell Froling '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
LTjg Walter Bayless '36 (USS Ranger)
LTjg Ralph Embree '36 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
ENS Patrick Hart '37 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42)
ENS Walter Sharer '38 (USS Ranger)
ENS Lemuel Cooke '39 (USS Ranger)
ENS William Beck, Jr. '40 (USS Ranger)
November 1940
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Squadron (VS) 41, USS Ranger

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:
LT George Ottinger '32 (USS Ranger)
LT William Widhelm '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
LTjg Wendell Froling '34 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
LTjg Walter Bayless '36 (USS Ranger)
LTjg Ralph Embree '36 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
ENS Walter Sharer '38 (USS Ranger)
ENS Lemuel Cooke '39 (USS Ranger)
ENS William Beck, Jr. '40 (USS Ranger)
April 1941
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Squadron (VS) 41, USS Ranger


Others at or embarked at USS Ranger:
LT George Ottinger '32 (USS Ranger)
LT William Widhelm '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4)
LTjg Walter Bayless '36 (USS Ranger)
ENS Walter Sharer '38 (USS Ranger)
ENS John Erickson '38 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42)
ENS Lemuel Cooke '39 (USS Ranger)
ENS William Beck, Jr. '40 (USS Ranger)


Class of 1936

Richard is one of 39 members of the Class of 1936 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.