WALTER E. RENO, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Walter Reno '05

Date of birth: October 3, 1881

Date of death: November 19, 1917

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1905 Lucky Bag:


Biography & Loss

"Photo taken prior to World War I when a Lieutenant."

From Naval History and Heritage Command:

Walter Elsworth Reno was born in Davis County, Iowa, on 3 October 1881. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1901 and graduated in 1905. While a junior officer, Reno served primarily in battleships. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1910 and during the next four years was stationed in the battleships New Jersey and Wisconsin. From early 1914 until early 1916 he was Officer in Charge at the Chicago, Illinois, Navy Recruiting Station.

Lieutenant Reno then went out to the Philippines, where he took command of the destroyer Chauncey. In the Summer of 1917, after United States had entered World War I, Reno brought his ship from the Far East to the European war zone. While on convoy escort duty west of Gibraltar during the night of 19 November 1917, Chauncey was rammed by a merchant steamer and sank, taking with her Lieutenant Commander Reno and twenty of his ship's officers and men.

Namesake

USS Reno (DD 303) was named for Walter.

Memorial Hall Error

Walter is listed on the killed in action panel at the front of Memorial Hall. His loss is more accurately characterized as operational, though, as there were no enemy forces in the area.

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 1906

Midshipman, New Jersey

July 1907

Ensign, Virginia

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS John Wilcox, Jr. '05 (West Virginia).

January 1908

Ensign, Virginia

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS John Wilcox, Jr. '05 (West Virginia).

January 1909

Ensign, Solace

January 1910

Ensign, New Hampshire

January 1911

Ensign, New Jersey

January 1912

Lieutenant, Wisconsin

January 1913

Lieutenant, Wisconsin

January 1914

Lieutenant, Wisconsin

January 1915

Lieutenant, Navy Receiving Station, Chicago, Illinois

January 1916

Lieutenant, officer in charge, Navy Receiving Station, Chicago, Illinois

January 1917

Lieutenant, commanding officer, USS Chauncey

Others at this command: ENS Charles Wedderburn '15.


Class of 1905

Walter is one of 4 members of the Class of 1905 on Virtual Memorial Hall.