ROBERT E. WAINWRIGHT, ENS, USN

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Lucky Bag

From the 1948-B Lucky Bag:

1948 Wainwright LB.jpg

ROBERT ERNEST WAINWRIGHT

NORTH ANDOVER, MASSACHUSETTS

Possesses the most sweet and pure countenance in Bancroft, regardless of his life history . . . although he might well have been nicknamed Galahad for his appearance . . . the more popular sobriquet Elf won out when Bob's . . . you mean Elf's . . . refined Massachusetts tones broke the air during plebe English sessions ... his themes were well written and beautifully delivered from an academic point of view ... it was quite a while before they could grasp his picturesque speech without straining. Had a picaresque background filled with material for interesting speeches ... his positions have varied from North Andover's head caddy master to life in the regular Navy . . . spent two of his three years at sea on the romantic, tropical isle of Trinidad . . . however the "romantic" aspect was a sour one to Elf . . . that's one reason he forsook the Caribbean's sand for the Chesapeake's snow. Spent week ends in seclusion with the ever-present Time if his correspondence was up to date . . . combines the gift of academic ability with a desire to seek more knowledge and might have been found poring through a thick, philosophical work during exam weeks . . . gave up the rank of Ensign, USNR, to come here . . . goes back a mighty Ensign, USN, secure in the knowledge that now he knows his trade.

Robert was a member of the Color Company (10th); it appears that the Color Girl was his sister. "Mrs. Katherine Wainwright Austin, of North Andover, Mass., a friend of our Company Commander and a sister of a classmate was our color girl. A widow of a war hero she and Fred echoed the tempo of the world about us." He graduated from the 8th Company with the class of 1948-B in June 1948. (The top half of the class academically, designated 1948-A, graduated in June 1947 as the last wartime-accelerated class.)

1948-B 10th Company

1948 Wainwright LB 1.jpg

Loss

From Find A Grave:

Ensign Wainwright served aboard the minesweeper USS MAGPIE (AMS-25). On October 1, 1950, it struck a floating mine and sunk. Twenty one men were lost. He was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on October 2, 1951.

From Korean War Educator:

10 October 1950 USS Dixie (AD 14) From: CARPENTER, Vail P., BMC, 393 08 57 US Navy To: Secretary of the Navy

(1) Commander Mine Division Fifty-two (2) Commander United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, Far East (3) Commander Naval Forces, Far East (4) Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet (5) Chief of Naval Operations

Subject: Loss of the USS MAGPIE (AMS25)

Reference: US Navy Regulations 1948, Article 0778 As senior survivor of the USS MAGPIE (AMS25), my version of the MAGPIE loss is as follows: At about 1700, minus 9 zone time, 1 October 1950, I was on watch on the fantail, during mine-sweeping operations. The starboard sweep gear and magnetic tail were streamed. Three hundred fathoms of sweep wire was in use. We were in approximate position latitude 36-30 N., longitude 129-30 E., off Chusan Po, Korea, and on a southerly course. Steaming at ten knots. The USS MERGANSER (AMS26) was stationed about five hundred yards astern and to starboard of the MAGPIE. At about this time there was a tremendous explosion forward and the entire forward portion of the ship, forward of the stack, appeared to explode. The remainder of the ship immediately started to settle by the head. During this period I took shelter under the towing winch but could see forward. After the debris stopped falling I assisted in launching the port after ten-man life raft. After that I proceeded as far forward as I could to the break abreast of the stack, on both port and starboard sides, with the view of assisting any survivors or saving the ship. I encountered no one. After this inspection I abandoned ship, port side, to assist BENNETT, 365 32 49, EMFN, USN, who was in the water and shouting for help. BENNETT was injured and unable to adjust and inflate his life jacket. I assisted BENNETT to the raft and both of us boarded the raft. After being in the water and on the raft for a period of about thirty minutes, the USS MERGANSER (AMS26) Wherry towed us to the MERGANSER.

There were twelve survivors: CARLOCK, Dale T., 344 79 03, FN, USN; CARPENTER, Vail P., 393 08 57, BMC, USN; DOBBS, Thomas D., 325 16 58, ETSN, USN; ESPINOZA, Leo L., 369 20 83, SN, USN; KEPFORD, James W., 345 02 15, FN, USN; McCLAIN, James H., 569 02 59, FN, USN; HARRISON, William E., 234 41 27, GM3, USN; BENNETT, Alex W., 365 32 49, EMFN, USN; BENSON, Richard B., 325 74 34, SN, USN; BLASSINGAME, Henry A., 581 07 35, CSSA, USN; KASTENS, Howard L., 344 82 35, USN; SANDERS, Howard W., 570 94 48, QM3, USN. The first seven survivors are now quartered on board USS DIXIE (AD14). The last five were transferred by USS MERGANSER to USS REPOSE (AH15) at Pusan, Korea for treatment. I do not know what disposition was later made of them.

To the best of my knowledge all records and logs were lost, except pay accounts which were on board the USS DIXIE (AD14). Pay account of HARRISON, W.E., 234 41 27, USN, were lost with the USS MAGPIE.

It is understood that Commander United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, Far East, had ordered an investigation to inquire into the circumstances resulting in the sinking of the USS MAGPIE and the injury or loss of the members of her crew. – (signed) VAIL P. CARPENTER CASUALTY LIST – MAGPIE DEATHS

  1. Bash, Charles Russell, RDSN, USN - Dixon Valley, PA - MIA
  2. Beck, Robert Augustus, BMC, USN - Richmond, CA - MIA
  3. Calhoun, Stanley Louis, EMFN, USN - Pembroke, KY - MIA
  4. Cloud, George Grady, EN1, USN - Oakland, CA - MIA
  5. Coleman, Richard Allyn, YBN3, USN - Lewistown, MT - MIA
  6. Cook, Theodore Amos, QMSN, USN - Sacramento, CA - MIA
  7. Davis, Roy Anderson, HM1, USN - Russellville, KY - MIA
  8. Dowell, James Clayborn, EMFN, USN - Stockton, CA - MIA
  9. Durkee, Seth Dean, QM1, USN - Cashmere, WA - MIA
  10. Ferjaran, Vincente Quitugua, SD3, USN - Asan, Guam - MIA
  11. Ferrell, Harry Elmer, ENFN, USN - Cleveland, OH - MIA
  12. Horton, Charles Thomas, CSSN, USN - Columbiana, AL - MIA
  13. Hughes, Lloyd Edgar, CS1, USN - Ottawa, KS - MIA
  14. Krouskoupf, Eugene Paul, SN, USN - Zanesville, OH - MIA
  15. Langwell, ENS. Robert Warren, USN - Indianapolis, IN - MIA
  16. Person, LT. (jg) Warren Roy, USN - Pacific Grove, CA - MIA
  17. Rogers, Cleveland Green, SO2, USN - Foxworth, MS - MIA
  18. Scott, Richard Dale, BM1, USN - Peru, IN - MIA
  19. Wainwright, ENS. Robert Ernest, USN - North Andover, MA - MIA
  20. Wanee, LT. (jg) Donald Victor, USN - Gardena, CA - MIA


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Class of 1948
Robert is one of 46 members of the Class of 1948 in Memorial Hall.
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