From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Wendell Thompson '41

Date of birth: August 6, 1918

Date of death: January 18, 1960

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1941 Lucky Bag:


Wendell was a passenger aboard Capital Airlines Flight 20, which crashed on January 18, 1960 while enroute from Washington, D.C. to Norfolk, Virginia.

He was stationed in London at the time. He was survived by his mother, wife, and two sons. His wife remarried a 1946 Naval Academy graduate.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

Harold Goranson '40 was also lost in this crash. They were both the final names added to their respective class' panels in Memorial Hall.

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.

April 1941

Ensign, USS West Virginia

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

RADM Isaac Kidd '06 (Battleship Division 4)
LTjg Ralph Beacham '35 (Observation Squadron (VO) 4)

Class of 1941

Wendell is one of 60 members of the Class of 1941 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.