From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Richard Robinson '39

Date of birth: April 14, 1915

Date of death: April 8, 1945

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


From Clemson Alumni:

Richard Warren Robinson
Class: 1938
Major: General Science
Activities while at Clemson: Attended only one semester, in the fall 1934. He did not re-enroll for spring semester 1935 or later.
Home Town: Anderson, South Carolina
Unit: Commander, Air Group 25, Serving on the USS Chenango (CVE 28)
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Date of Death: April 8, 1945; Lieutenant Commander Robinson’s body was recovered and returned for burial in Section N, Site 1104 of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Details of Death: Killed in Action. Lt Cmdr Robison drowned when he was forced to crash land in the open sea off Ishigaki Shima in the Ryuku Islands after his aircraft was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire during an attack on a Japanese airfield.

Spouse: Ruth Turnbull

Awards: Purple Heart, Air Medal

Other: Birth April 15, 1915. Parent G. L. Robinson. Anderson, SC. Attended Anderson Boys High School. Attended Anderson College Sept 1932 to May 1933. Enrolled Clemson Sept 1934. Did not re-enroll for spring semester 1935 or later. According to a newspaper report he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1939.

From Find A Grave:

Lt. Comdr. Richard Warren Robinson USN, son of Mr & Mrs G. L. Robinson, formerly of Anderson but, now of Columbia was drowned while in the service of his country aboard the aircraft carrier in the Pacific according to a telegram received from the Navy Department.

He was a 1939 graduate of Annapolis and commanding officer of a squadron of fighter planes at the time of his death.

Commander Robinson was serving aboard a destroyer at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack Dec 7, 1941. He then returned to the states and took flight training at Pensacola, Florida.

After flight training he served as commanding officer for one year on a air base on the island of Samoa. Returning to the west coast he was in-charge of training Naval Air Squadrons. Following that tour. He returned to the Pacific area of operation with one of his squadrons.

While stationed in Samoa. He married Ruth Moncrief Turnbull, daughter of A. C. Turnbull, governor of Samoa. On February 3, 1944. His wife is now making her home in Columbia with the Robinson family.

Commander Robinson has a brother in service. Lt LeRoy Walter Robinson now in the Pacific. Another brother , Woodrow Robinson, who was on duty as a Staff Sergeant with the air corps at Wheeler Field, Hawaii received a medical discharge after 30 months service.

Besides his parents, wife and brothers. He is survived by two other brothers, F T. Robinson of Chaplin and G. L. Robinson Jr of Wilmington, N. C. and three sisters, Mrs J. D. Dellaney of Columbia, Mrs Joe B. Farmer of Anderson and Mrs W. A. Campbell of Moultrie, Ga.

He was flying a F6F-5 Hellcat with Fighting Squadron (VF) 25.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

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.

June 1940

Ensign, USS Downes

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, USS Downes

April 1941

Ensign, USS Downes

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.