WILLIAM E. TOWNSEND, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Townsend '32

Date of birth: January 7, 1910

Date of death: January 8, 1944

Age: 34

Lucky Bag

From the 1932 Lucky Bag:

Loss

William was lost on January 8, 1944, when his F4F-4 Hellcat crashed while operating from Ford Island, Hawaii. The aircraft belonged to a "Carrier Aircraft Service Unit (CASU)", but believe he was stationed aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6).

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

William was a Fighter Direction Officer; he used shipboard radar to vector fighter aircraft to intercept Japanese bogeys. During the invasion of Guadalcanal, he was temporarily "loaned" from USS Enterprise to USS McCawley (APA 4), the invasion flagship. He is mentioned several times in First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat by John Lundstrom.

Silver Star

From the July 1943 All Hands Bulletin:

Lt. Comdr. William E. Townsend, USN, of Marietta, Ohio, who was flight deck officer of a United States aircraft carrier during the engagement with Japanese naval units near the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942, for cooly and courageously directing the flight-deck activities and for taking immediate action in controlling and extinguishing a blaze which broke out amidst the planes on the deck. He carried on in spite of the tremendous difficulties and great hazards attendant upon the devastating fire from large numbers of enemy aircraft continually attacking the carrier.


Class of 1932

William is one of 52 members of the Class of 1932 in Memorial Hall.