THOMAS F. MALONE, LT, USN
Thomas Malone '41
Date of birth: December 7, 1919
Date of death: December 8, 1942
From the 1941 Lucky Bag:
Thomas was lost when USS Boyd (DD 544) was damaged by Japanese shore batteries during an attempted rescue of a downed aircrew near Nauru Island on December 7, 1942. He was the only officer lost; 11 men were also killed and 8 wounded.
At 1033 while returning to form up with carrier group BOYD left formation as ordered by Commander Task Group 50.8 to pick up survivors of a plane crash first reported 12 miles southwest of island. At 1038 a raft was reported in position 2 miles west of island. During approach, a plane reported to CTG (Commander Task Group) 50.8 who direct BOYD to proceed on assigned rescue and 3 planes were ordered to assist in the search. At 1130 plane dropped smoke float near raft, and BOYD made approach. At 1125 a lookout reported object in water, which looked like a man waving his hand in the air. At 1140 BOYD stopped between life raft, which was carrier plane type and upside down, and the island; object was identified as smoke float or float light. At 1142 two shells hit the ship, on exploding in forward engine room, shearing or puncturing all steam lines and main power distribution board, the second exploding inside #1 stack. BOYD immediately commenced maneuvering radically (chasing salvos) and began counter battery fire using manual control. In retiring, ship was straddled at least five times, the second four gun salvo exploding close aboard to port damaging guns 24 and 26 and piercing an air flask of an after torpedo. In this attach all personnel of the forward engine room, with the exception of one MM2 who was seriously burned, were killed. Damage control measures were taken to plug the hole in the side and pump water from the forward engine room space. Total casualties were one officer and 11 men killed, 8 wounded. Burial of 10 of these was held on 9 December. Two died later after transfer to ALABAMA and were interred at Espiritu Santo.
His wife was listed as next of kin.