ROBERT C. EVINS, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Robert Evins '39

Date of birth: August 12, 1918

Date of death: June 17, 1944

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:

1939 Evins LB.jpg

ROBERT CLEVELAND EVINS

Hartsville, South Carolina

Bob, Sweet Pea, Mushmouth

Sweet Pea comes from the middle of the sunny Southland —- a Rebel and damned proud of it, as we learned upon the first resumption, Plebe Summer, of the fury of the sixties. He isn't so large, but he is capable of wielding broom, belaying pin, or bare first against any and all odds if the occasion so demands. Bob is still that way -- but we've found an easy method of softening his heart. He'll never admit it (for the world) but he is easy prey for the opposite sex. Does he like to truck! In and out of love, in and out of exams, in and out of training —- he has always been ready for more — that's why we like our Sweet Pea.

Battalion Boxing 3, 2, 1; Battalion Football 3; Company Small Bore 2; 1 P.O.

1939 Evins LB.jpg

ROBERT CLEVELAND EVINS

Hartsville, South Carolina

Bob, Sweet Pea, Mushmouth

Sweet Pea comes from the middle of the sunny Southland —- a Rebel and damned proud of it, as we learned upon the first resumption, Plebe Summer, of the fury of the sixties. He isn't so large, but he is capable of wielding broom, belaying pin, or bare first against any and all odds if the occasion so demands. Bob is still that way -- but we've found an easy method of softening his heart. He'll never admit it (for the world) but he is easy prey for the opposite sex. Does he like to truck! In and out of love, in and out of exams, in and out of training —- he has always been ready for more — that's why we like our Sweet Pea.

Battalion Boxing 3, 2, 1; Battalion Football 3; Company Small Bore 2; 1 P.O.

Loss

Robert was lost June 17, 1944 near Saipan when his FM-2 Wildcat fighter "made a forced landing on the water." (From USS White Plains (CVE 66) war diary.) The ship had been under attack throughout the day.

From VC-4’s Aircraft Action Report for June 17, 1944:

0809 GCT: Lieutenant Commander Robert C. EVINS, USN, took off from the USS WHITE PLAINS (CVE66) as leader of a flight of eight (8) FM-2 aircraft comprising two divisions, to reinforce the already airborne Combat Air Patrol of four (4) planes in intercepting an incoming raid enemy aircraft. Other CVE's in the formation also launched VF aircraft. The weather was clear with scattered cumulus clouds at 5000 feet, no moon, sunset 0845 (GCT). After take-off and rendezvous the two divisions were split up and vectored out by the controlling fighter director officer. Neither divialen made contact with the enemy.

0920 (GCT), Sunset + 35 minutes: All aircraft were recalled preparatory to recovery and were instructed to turn on running lights to signify friendly character. Five (5) FM-2 aircraft of Composite Squadron FOUR landed aboard the USS WHITE PLAINS (CVE66) between 0923-1005 (GCT) and two (2) more landed safely aboard other carriers of the force.

0945 (GCT): Lieutenant Commander R. C. EVINS called the ship and reported that his vision was completely obscured by oil covering his windshield. He was ordered to land aboard if able to read landing signals, otherwise, to land in water alongside a destroyer. He was directed not to land in water until so ordered. After being repeated several times, this order wes acknowledged at about 0950 (GCT). Immediately following the acknowledgement Lieutenant Commander R. C. EVINS called the ship to report that he believed he would be able to land aboard by putting his head out of the cockpit. This was the last transmission received from him. Lieutenant Commander R. C. EVINS was last seen by his wingman, Lieutenant William A. MIDGETT at about 0950 (GCT) when he made a normal breakup ahead of USS WHITE PLAINS preparatory to landing. This was the last time that the position of Lieutenant Commander R. C. EVINS was definitely known.

He was commanding officer of Composite Squadron (VC) 4.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

While at Hartsville High School, Robert participated in the plays “Medicus” and “Rome and the Modern World.” He was a junior in the 1933 yearbook.

His father was John Hamilton Evins (1877-1/24/1945.) His grandfather was Colonel John H. Evins. His aunt was Mrs. C. C. (Mary) Twitty. His uncle Samuel Evins, an attorney, died in 1939. His daughter Janet married Lt. Commander Henry G. Cooper (‘09) in 1925.

His wife was listed as next of kin. They were married October 10, 1942.

Photographs

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 Nevada

June 1940
Ensign, USS Noa

Others at this command:
November 1940
Ensign, USS Noa

Others at or embarked at this command:
April 1941
Ensign, USS Noa

Others at or embarked at this command:



Class of 1939

Robert 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 alumni in Memorial Hall.