From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Walter Nock, Jr. '43

Date of birth: November 23, 1919

Date of death: August 9, 1942

Age: 22

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


Walter was lost when USS Astoria (CA 34) was sunk during the Battle of Savo Island on August 9, 1942 with the loss of 234 of her officers and crew.

From Find A Grave:

Walter served as a Ensign, USS Astoria (CA-34), U.S. Navy during World War II.

He resided in Salisbury, Wicomico County, Maryland prior to the war.

Walter was declared "Missing In Action" when the Astoria was sunk during the Battle of Savo Island during the war. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

Walter graduated from the US Naval Academy with the class of 1943, which graduated in June of 1942, because of WWII. He was the first of his class to be lost at sea.

Service # 0-165396

He has a memory marker in Delaware.

From The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware, on March 8, 1943:

Ensign Walter P. Nock, Jr, "died as bravely as he fought" and "his body lies with the Astoria in the waters the Coral Sea," the Navy's story of the Coral Sea battle declares. The young Ensign, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter P. Nock, Salisbury, graduated from the Naval Academy last year and made a transcontinental dash to a Pacific port. He joined the Astoria at sea from a transport when the fleet stopped to transfer mail at sea. That was on Aug. 5. On Aug. 9 he was killed in the sinking of the Astoria. Capt William G. Greenman, now on leave in the United States, wrote Mr. Nock his condolences and quoted an extract of his report to the Bureau of Naval Personnel on Ensign Nock's conduct during the battle as follows: "At the time the action began, he immediately realized the chances… [missing a part of the text] … responsibility of maintaining an alert watch for such attack; meanwhile encouraging the gun crew in his charge, and keeping ready for immediate action against any enemy targets within range. "While thus engaged. Ensign Nock was mortally wounded by the explosion of a 5-inch enemy shell near him, and he died soon there after. "Up until the time of his death, the conduct of Ensign Nock was most exemplary and in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service. He performed his duties with utter disregard of Injury to himself and he died as bravely as he fought "Ensign Nock's body lies with the Astoria In the waters of the Coral Sea, about five miles southeast of the Savo Island, in the Solomons group."

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Walt was born in Salisbury, Maryland on 23 November, 1919, He was appointed from Maryland and entered the Academy on 19 July, 1939. Upon graduation he reported to the cruiser USS ASTORIA which was then in the thick of the fighting in the South Pacific. On 9 August, the ASTORIA caught between the East and West Column of Japanese cruisers and destroyers just a few miles to the Southeast of Savo Island, in a scant few minutes burst into an inferno of flames from deadly accurate multiple hits. The battle was the ASTORIA’s last as was it Walt’s. He shared with Diirck the distinction of being the first classmate to die in combat. He wore the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, and Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal with bronze star. Walt was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Nock who at Walt’s death resided at 203 N. Boulevard, Salisbury, Maryland.

His father is listed as next of kin.

Related Articles

Herbert Carroll, Jr. ’34 was also lost aboard USS Astoria (CA 34).

Class of 1943

Walter is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.