From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Roger Starks '38

Date of birth: May 22, 1916

Date of death: June 12, 1943

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:

Career & Loss

Roger served as an ensign on the USS Perry then went to the New London submarine base for instruction. He was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on September 30, 1940. He then joined the R-12 coastal defense submarine.

From Find A Grave:

Lieutenant Starks was killed when shortly after noon on 12 June 1943, R-12, while underway to conduct a torpedo practice approach, she sounded her last diving alarm. As R-12 completed preparations to dive, the forward battery compartment began to flood. The collision alarm was sounded and a report was made that the forward battery compartment was flooding. Orders were given to blow main ballast, but the sea was faster. In about 15 seconds, R-12 was lost. The commanding officer, one other officer, and three enlisted men were swept from the bridge as the boat sank and were rescued. Forty-two lives were lost. R-12 was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 6 July.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Navy and Marine Corps Medal

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Roger Norton Starks (NSN: 0-81044), United States Navy, for heroic conduct when the U.S.S. R-12 (SS-89) was lost at sea, 12 June 1943. Lieutenant Starks, as Navigator and Second Officer, disregarded his personal safety and stood at his post directing efforts to save his ship. Although standing at the only possible exit, he made no effort to use it, although realizing that the uncontrolled flooding of the ship placed him in grave danger.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 321 (December 1943)
Action Date: June 12, 1943
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Division: U.S.S. R-12 (SS-89)

Class of 1938

Roger is one of 71 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.