WALKER ETHRIDGE, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Walker Ethridge '34

Date of birth: February 1, 1913

Date of death: March 20, 1945

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1934 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Walker was lost when his aircraft was shot down near Okinawa on March 20, 1945 while operating from USS Bataan (CVL 29). He was Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 47 at the time.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Walker Ethridge (NSN: 0-73557), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron FORTY-SEVEN (VF-47), attached to the U.S.S. BATAAN (CVL-29), in action against the enemy Japanese forces off Kyushu, Japan, on 20 March 1945. Launched from his carrier to lead a flight on combat air patrol when he observed a hostile plane diving over the ships of his Task Force, Commander Ethridge unhesitatingly pursued the threatening enemy to blast him from the sky and prevent a damaging blow to our surface vessels, pressing home his attack against the Japanese aircraft in the face of intense, deadly fire and resolutely continuing his valiant efforts until his own plane burst into flames and glided into the sea. His great personal valor, indomitable fighting spirit, courageous determination and heroic defense of his Task Force were inspiring to those with whom he served and reflected the highest credit upon Commander Ethridge and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: Board Awards Serial 0247 (October 31, 1945) Action Date: 20-Mar-45
Rank: Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 47 (VF-47)
Division: U.S.S. Bataan (CVL-29)

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.

October 1935

Ensign, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27, ENS Frederick Purdy '33, ENS Philip Torrey, Jr. '34, ENS Edward Robertson '35, ENS George Philip, Jr. '35, and ENS Manning Kimmel '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B) and ENS George Klinsmann '33 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B).

January 1936

Ensign, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27, ENS Philip Torrey, Jr. '34, ENS Edward Robertson '35, ENS George Philip, Jr. '35, and ENS Manning Kimmel '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT William Ault '22 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B) and ENS George Klinsmann '33 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B).

April 1936

Ensign, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LT William Ault '22.

Others at or embarked at USS Mississippi: LTjg John Eldridge, Jr. '27 (USS Mississippi), ENS Philip Torrey, Jr. '34 (USS Mississippi), ENS Edward Robertson '35 (USS Mississippi), ENS George Philip, Jr. '35 (USS Mississippi), and ENS Manning Kimmel '35 (USS Mississippi).

July 1936

Ensign, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Mississippi

Others at this command: LTjg Loren Morris '27.

Others at or embarked at USS Mississippi: LTjg Arthur Loeser '27 (USS Mississippi), ENS George Philip, Jr. '35 (USS Mississippi), ENS Manning Kimmel '35 (USS Mississippi), ENS Ralph Embree '36 (USS Mississippi), and ENS Robert Bonin '36 (USS Mississippi).

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LCDR William Ault '22 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg James Tyler '34 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Webster Johnson '36 (USS Enterprise), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise).

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LCDR William Ault '22 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (USS Enterprise), LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), ENS Webster Johnson '36 (USS Enterprise), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise).

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Gilbert Carpenter '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Bruce Skidmore '37 (USS Enterprise), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Lester Wall, Jr. '39 (USS Enterprise).

June 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, USS Enterprise

Others at this command: LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Enterprise: LCDR Mark Crouter '20 (USS Enterprise), LT Ralph Smith '26 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LT Eugene Lindsey '27 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LT Alfred Tucker, III '31 (USS Enterprise), LT Edward Allen '31 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Frank Whitaker '34 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Arthur Ely '35 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6), LTjg Hubert Harden '35 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 6), ENS Ernest Wood, Jr. '38 (USS Enterprise), and ENS Edward Degarmo '40 (USS Enterprise).

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LCDR George Grove '15, CDR William Sample '19, LT Finley Hall '29, LT John Yoho '29, LT William Pennewill '29, LT Lance Massey '30, LT Albert Major, Jr. '32, LT Daniel Gothie '32, LT Dewitt Shumway '32, LT George Bellinger '32, LT John Spiers '32, LT Martin Koivisto '32, ENS Frank Peterson '33, LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33, LTjg Charles Ware '34, LTjg Charles Brewer '34, CAPT Floyd Parks '34, LTjg Frank Whitaker '34, LTjg George Nicol '34, LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34, LTjg Allan Edmands '35, LTjg John Powers '35, LTjg Richard Stephenson '35, LTjg Victor Gadrow '35, LTjg Porter Maxwell '36, LTjg Roy Krogh '36, LTjg Frank Henderson, Jr. '37, LTjg John Thomas '37, LTjg John Boal '37, LTjg Richard Hughes '37, ENS Alphonse Minvielle '38, ENS Carl Holmstrom '38, ENS Charles Anderson '38, ENS Charles King '38, ENS Charles Reimann '38, ENS Curtis Howard '38, ENS Donald Smith '38, 2LT Douglas Keeler '38, ENS Edmundo Gandia '38, ENS Eric Allen, Jr. '38, ENS Frank Quady '38, ENS Frank Case, Jr. '38, ENS Harry Bass '38, ENS Harry Howell '38, ENS Howard Clark '38, ENS Howard Fischer '38, ENS James Ginn '38, 2LT James Owens '38, ENS Jep Jonson '38, ENS John Kelley '38, ENS John Erickson '38, 2LT John Maclaughlin, Jr. '38, ENS John Eversole '38, ENS Leonard Thornhill '38, ENS Marion Dufilho '38, ENS Osborne Wiseman '38, ENS Oswald Zink '38, ENS Richard Crommelin '38, ENS Robert Seibels, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Green, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Hale, Jr. '38, ENS William Brady '38, ENS William Tate, Jr. '38, and ENS William Lamberson '38.


Class of 1934

Walker is one of 41 members of the Class of 1934 on Virtual Memorial Hall.