From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Roy Hale, Jr. '38

Date of birth: May 10, 1916

Date of death: May 8, 1942

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:


Roy was on May 8, 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, when his SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber was accidentally shot down by friendly fire as he attempted to land just minutes after a Japanese attack. He was flying with Scouting Squadron (VS) 2 from USS Lexington (CV 2).

His parents were listed as next of kin.

From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

Hale was apparently killed by friendly fire as he attempted a landing on Lexington just minutes after the Japanese had completed their attack.

  • NAS Pensacola attached for HTA flight training, 7/15/1940
  • NAS Pensacola designated NA # 7086, 1/30/1941
  • Date of rank LTJG from 1 Jul 1941 USN Register, 6/2/1941
  • VS-2 USS Lexington (CV-2) DFC BNR, 5/7/1942

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Roy Orestus Hale, Jr (NSN: 0-81325), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the Coral Sea, 7 to 8 May 1942. As Pilot of a Scouting Plane during the Battle of the Coral Sea, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Hale boldly engaged attacking Japanese aircraft in spite of fierce fighter opposition.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 317 (August 1943)
Action Date: May 7 - 8, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Company: Scouting Squadron


USS Roy O. Hale (DE 336) was named for Roy; the ship was sponsored by his mother.

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.

July 1938

Ensign, USS New Orleans

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 6)

January 1939

Ensign, USS New Orleans

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 6)

October 1939

Ensign, USS Trever

Others at this command:

June 1940

Ensign, USS Trever

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, Scouting Squadron (VS) 2, USS Lexington

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Lexington:

LT Louis Shane, Jr. '26 (USS Lexington)
LT Weldon Hamilton '28 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 2)
LT Clair Miller '29 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
LT Charles Crommelin '31 (Fighting Squadron (VF) 2)
LTjg Robert Fair '33 (USS Lexington)
LTjg Joel Davis, Jr. '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 2)
LTjg Raymond Moore '37 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
ENS Leonard Thornhill '38 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 2)
ENS Harry Bass '38 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 2)
ENS Edward Price '39 (USS Lexington)
ENS Allan Wussow '39 (USS Lexington)
ENS Edward Seiler, Jr. '39 (USS Lexington)
ENS Willard Sampson '40 (USS Lexington)

Class of 1938

Roy is one of 72 members of the Class of 1938 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.