THOMAS E. JENIKE, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Thomas Jenike '50

Date of birth: October 28, 1925

Date of death: August 1, 1952

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1950 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From USNA 1950:

Tom joined the Navy via the V-12 program at Case Institute of Applied Science, followed by Radar School in Biloxi, MS. He won his wings in 1952 and was assigned to USS Roosevelt. While flying, he experienced engine failure. He reported a "cut gun" and started his glide followed by two squadron mates. Tom elected to ditch on the beach of tiny Navassa Island in the Caribbean. As his AD skidded to a stop, the plane burned.

The date of the crash was August 1, 1952.

Biography

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Thomas was a graduate of Batavia High School, Clermont County, where he played basketball. He attended Case Institute of Technology at Cleveland and the Ohio University at Athens where he belonged to Phi Delta Theta in 1946. The O. U. Bobcats’ basketball team had an undefeated record when they went to Madison Square Garden during Christmas vacation 1945 to face Coach Joe Lapchick’s Redmen on December 22. “In the smoke filled arena, the boys of Ohio fell prey to the height of Harry Boykoff, the tricky glass backboards of the garden, and St. John’s in general.” Final score 67-33. Thomas played guard but did not score any baskets. In April 1945, Thomas was at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, and in August 1949, he was on the battleship USS Missouri.

He had training in combat-type aircraft on the USS Monterey and received his wings on March 19, 1952, at Pensacola. In early June, he was assigned to the combat squadron.

The fatal crash came near the end of a six-week training stint based out of Jacksonville. He was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His classmate Lt. Earl K. Dille escorted his body by ship and train home to Hillsboro.

Thomas’ father was Army Major William F. Jenike. He and his wife lived in Verdun, France, and he was stationed at the American Army engineering depot at Etienne, France.

Thomas married the former Mary Louise Bey on October 27, 1951, and their daughter was Ann Denise. He was also survived by his brothers William and Joe, maternal grandparents, and an uncle.

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Class of 1950

Thomas is one of 37 members of the Class of 1950 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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