WELDON L. HAMILTON, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Weldon Hamilton '28

Date of birth: December 9, 1906

Date of death: June 8, 1943

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1928 Lucky Bag:

Loss

"LCDR Hamilton, Air Group Commander of Air Group 11, Guadalcanal 1943"

Weldon was lost "in an accident near Tontouta Noumea, on 8 June 1943, while a passenger in a transport plane." Also lost were sixteen pilots and aircrew from one of his subordinate squadrons, Torpedo Squadron (VT) 11.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He is buried in California.

Wartime Service

The action for which he was awarded his second Navy Cross is recounted in some detail in The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway. He was commanding officer of Bombing Squadron (VB) 2 at the time. Other actions are also recounted.

On October 10, 1942 he became the first commanding officer of Bombing Squadron (VB) 10; he served as such until he became commanding officer of Air Group 11 sometime before his death. (The page lists September 30, 1943; that is obviously incorrect.) Air Group 11 had been operating from Guadalcanal because of a limited number of aircraft carriers.

Navy Cross

1928 Hamilton 2.jpg

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Weldon Lee Hamilton (NSN: 0-62053), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber and Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron TWO (VB-2), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), in action against enemy Japanese forces over enemy-controlled waters near Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea on 10 March 1942. Lieutenant Commander Hamilton led his squadron 125 miles over uncharted mountains and jungles, to press home in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, a vigorous and determined dive bombing attack on enemy ships, sinking or crippling three of them. Lieutenant Commander Hamilton's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 6 (April 13, 1942)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Weldon Lee Hamilton (NSN: 0-62053), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber and Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron TWO (VB-2), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Air Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942. He led his squadron in a dive bombing attack against an enemy disposition. In this attack, made in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and opposed by enemy fighters, he dropped his 1,000 pound bomb on the deck of an enemy carrier. The success of the attack by his squadron attested to the high state of combat efficiency developed under his leadership and inspiring example.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 13 (June 16, 1942)
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Weldon Lee Hamilton (NSN: 0-62053), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Lieutenant Commander Hamilton was killed in an accident near Tontouta Noumea, on 8 June 1943, while a passenger in a transport plane. It is recommended that an award be made to him posthumously for his participation in action described below. As Commanding Officer of Air Group ELEVEN, he displayed to an outstanding degree the qualities of intelligent leadership, personal bravery and the ability to inspire others. While not required to do so, he participated actively in attack missions conducted by squadrons under his command, flying ten missions in a TBF and one in an SBD between 29 April 1943 and 5 June 1943. These missions were all against heavily defended positions and ships. With no thought for his personal safety he repeatedly made bombing attacks against enemy anti-aircraft and searchlight installations that resulted in heavy damage to the enemy and contributed largely to the effectiveness of the missions in which he took part. He participated in a greater number of attacks than any other pilot in this command during this period.

Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander


Class of 1928

Weldon is one of 17 members of the Class of 1928 in Memorial Hall.