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.

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.

October 1932

Ensign, USS Omaha

Others at this command: LCDR Samuel Moore '13.

January 1933

Ensign, USS Omaha

Others at this command: LCDR Samuel Moore '13.

April 1933

Ensign, USS Omaha

July 1933

Ensign, USS Omaha

October 1933

Ensign, USS Omaha

April 1934

Ensign, USS Omaha

July 1934

Ensign, USS Omaha

October 1934

Ensign, USS Omaha

January 1935

Ensign, USS Omaha

July 1936

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 5B

January 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 5B

April 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Leo Crane '31, LTjg Robert Strickler '32, and LTjg William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Robert Bedilion '22 (USS Ranger), LT Ralph Smith '26 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B), LT Seymour Johnson '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Finley Hall '29 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Albert Gray '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 1B), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Earle Schneider '33 (USS Ranger), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

September 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Robert Strickler '32, LTjg Frank Fernald '33, and LTjg Charles Brewer '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Vernon Hain '31 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg George Hutchinson '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

January 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Robert Strickler '32, LTjg Frank Fernald '33, and LTjg Charles Brewer '34.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg George Hutchinson '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Frederick Schrader '35.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LCDR William Sample '19 (USS Ranger), LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LT William Pennewill '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42), LTjg Harrington Drake '31 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), ENS Floyd Garrett, Jr. '38 (USS Ranger), ENS Harry Howell '38 (USS Ranger), ENS Richard Sampson '38 (USS Ranger), and ENS Walter Sharer '38 (USS Ranger).

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Frederick Schrader '35.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LCDR William Sample '19 (USS Ranger), LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LT William Pennewill '29 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 42), LTjg Harrington Drake '31 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), ENS Floyd Garrett, Jr. '38 (USS Ranger), ENS Harry Howell '38 (USS Ranger), ENS Richard Sampson '38 (USS Ranger), and ENS Walter Sharer '38 (USS Ranger).

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Training Squadron (VN) 5D8, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LT John Yoho '29, LTjg George Ottinger '32, LTjg Robert Strickler '32, and LTjg William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida: LCDR John Waldron '24 (Training Squadron (VN) 1D8), LT Renwick Calderhead '27 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LT Finley Hall '29 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), CAPT Paul Moret '30 (Training Squadron (VN) 3D8), LT John Huntley '31 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Albert Major, Jr. '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Daniel Gothie '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Training Squadron (VN) 1D8), LTjg George Bellinger '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Martin Koivisto '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg John McCormack, Jr. '33 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Archibald Stone, Jr. '34 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Wendell Froling '34 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Dewitt Harrell '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Francis Maher, Jr. '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), 1LT James Crowther '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Mark Eslick, Jr. '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Frank Robinson '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg John Hunter '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Ralph Embree '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Walter Bayless '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Webster Johnson '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg William Hulson '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Donald Patterson '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Edward O'Hare '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Harold Shrider '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Howard Nester, Jr. '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS James Mayes '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Macdonald Thompson '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Patrick Hart '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Paul Riley '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Raymond Moore '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), and ENS Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida).

June 1940

Lieutenant, Training Squadron (VN) 5D8, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LT John Yoho '29, LTjg George Ottinger '32, LTjg Robert Strickler '32, and LTjg William Widhelm '32.

Others at or embarked at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida: CDR William Sample '19 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LT Finley Hall '29 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LT Charles Ostrom '30 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LT Lance Massey '30 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Daniel Gothie '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Training Squadron (VN) 1D8), LTjg George Bellinger '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Martin Koivisto '32 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Charles Ware '34 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), 1LT Floyd Parks '34 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Francis Maher, Jr. '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Jack Ferguson '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Joel Davis, Jr. '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg John Powers '35 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Frank Robinson '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg James Southerland, II '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg Roy Krogh '36 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Alexander Groves, II '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Donald Patterson '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Frank Henderson, Jr. '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Harold Shrider '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Howard Nester, Jr. '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS James Mayes '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), LTjg John Thomas '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS John Boal '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Macdonald Thompson '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Paul Riley '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), 2LT Radford West '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Raymond Moore '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Thomas Edwards, Jr. '37 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Alphonse Minvielle '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Donald Smith '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), 2LT Dorrance Radcliffe '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Frank Quady '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Harry Howell '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Howard Clark '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), 2LT John Maclaughlin, Jr. '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), ENS Richard Crommelin '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida), and ENS William Brady '38 (Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida).

November 1940

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Miami, Florida

Others at this command: LT Charles Ostrom '30, LT Robert Strickler '32, and LTjg George Klinsmann '33.

April 1941

Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Miami, Florida

Others at this command: LT Charles Ostrom '30, LT Robert Strickler '32, and LTjg George Klinsmann '33.


Class of 1932

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