ROBERT A. GALLAGHER, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Robert Gallagher '33

Date of birth: February 21, 1910

Date of death: October 24, 1944

Age: 34

Lucky Bag

From the 1933 Lucky Bag:

Biography

From the 1953 edition of the book "Double Three Roundup", published by the class of 1933:

As we all remember, Red was the savviest man in our class. Also at the time of our graduation he was elected President of the Class and even though he has since passed to his reward we have not seen fit to elect a successor. He will always be the President of '33.

Red entered the Construction Corps in 1936 after two years on the NEW MEXICO, receiving his degree from MIT in 1938. After duty in the Bureau of Construction and Repair and at the Navy Yard, New York, he reported to the Sixteenth Naval District at Cavite in April of 1941 and was taken prisoner by the Japanese after their attack the following December. Red was retained in various prison camps in the Philippines until the Fall of 1944, when the Japs decided to remove him to Japan proper, He never arrived there, but died on the way, on 24 October 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.

In the Woman's Home Companion of January 1943 is an article entitled "I Can Take It" with a picture of Red's wife, Susan Downing Gallagher and young son, Robert Anthony, Jr. Quoting from the short article (with the permission of The Crowell-Collier Publishing Co.), the baby is supposed to be imagined as saying, "My name is Robert Anthony Gallagher, Jr. That's my Mother, Sue Downing Gallagher, smiling at the Red Cross nurse in the picture. And I want to tell you something about the stuff my parents are made of. My mummy was a Red Cross army nurse in Manila — she enrolled in the Red Cross First Reserve in 1936; my dad, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, is listed as missing in action.

"When Mummy married Dad she sent in her resignation, but before it could be accepted war was declared. Even after I was on the way she stayed to care for the victims of Japanese bombings. She finally escaped from Corregidor to Australia and got back home last August in time for me to be born at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington the first baby to be born to two veterans of the heroic fight on Bataan.

"So now I guess you understand why I'm so extra proud of these parents of mind and why I want to grow up to be the kind of fellow who can take it, too."

Susan, whom Red married in Manila in September 1941, has been taking postgraduate work in Public Health Nursing and education at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Loss

Robert was lost when the Japanese "Hell Ship" he was aboard, Arisan Maru, was sunk by an American submarine on October 24, 1944.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Pennsylvania.

Career

Robert began his career aboard USS New Mexico (BB 40); he is listed there as an Ensign in the 1934 and 1935 Navy Directories. In the 1936 Navy Directory he is listed as an Ensign under instruction at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the 1937 Navy Directory has him in the same place but as a LTjg. By the 1938 Navy Directory he had moved to the New York Navy Yard, and he had become a member of the Construction Corps; the 1939 and 1940 Navy Directories list the same.

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

Lieutenant Robert A. Gallagher (NSN: 0-72301), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Action Date: May 6, 1942 - Died in Captivity
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Division: Prisoner of War (Philippine Islands)


Class of 1933

Robert is one of 38 members of the Class of 1933 in Memorial Hall.