VAN O. PERKINS, CDR, USN
Van Perkins '36
Date of birth: December 10, 1913
Date of death: October 24, 1944
From the 1936 Lucky Bag:
Van was lost when his ship, USS Birmingham (CL 62) was seriously damaged by an explosion aboard USS Princeton (CVL 23) during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 24, 1944. Birmingham lost 233 killed and 426 wounded in the explosion.
Van's daughter, Pamela, was married in January 1964. (Information from April 1964 issue of SHIPMATE.)
On the passage home for repairs Birmingham's assistant damage control officer, Lt. Cdr. Van O. Perkins, devised a trunk leading up to the main deck from compartments open to the sea, so that water could vent and relieve pressure from the shored-up bulkheads. Geysers spouted from the trunk whenever the cruiser pitched, earning her the nickname “Old Faithful.”
The damage was from two bombs and a torpedo on November 8, 1943.
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant VanOstrand Perkins (NSN: 0-77142), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving aboard the U.S.S. ATLANTA (CL-51), during the night action of Task Force SIXTY-SEVEN at about 0200, 13 November 1942, with enemy surface forces during with the ATLANTA received severe damage which later resulted in her loss. Although badly wounded in the leg after action with the enemy on 13 November 1942, Lieutenant Perkins carried on his work of directing fire fighting parties and other damage control measures being undertaken. In spite of his wounded condition, Lieutenant Perkins desired not to be evacuated with the wounded, but was ordered to do so. His conduct was exemplary and in line with the best traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander South Pacific Force and Area: Serial 00235 (January 21, 1943)
Action Date: November 13, 1942
Division: U.S.S. Atlanta (CL-51)
Unable to find the citation for the Bronze Star Medal that is listed on his memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.