From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Gise '93

Date of birth: June 22, 1871

Date of death: June 28, 1909

Age: 38

Naval Academy Register

William Kern Gise was admitted to the Naval Academy from Dwight, Illinois on June 14, 1889.


1893 Gise 1.jpg

William Kern Gise "died while on duty" on June 28, 1909 as the executive officer of the naval station at Tutuila, Samoa. Unable to determine the circumstances of his death, but there is nothing to suggest it was operational in nature. The annual report of the Department of the Navy for 1900 included that the only death at the station was "recorded as a suicide."

Register of Alumni gives date of death as June 29 but no other information.

He was survived by his mother and two siblings; he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (William's body was originally buried in Samoa, but re-interred in September 1910.)

In 1906 he was stationed in the Washington, D.C. area; as a Lieutenant he was in charge of "a battalion of marines and bluejackets" during a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1907.

He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, having served in Texas during the Battle of Santiago. He at one time commanded the presidential yacht Sylph.

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.

July 1894

Naval Cadet, Newark

January 1895

Naval Cadet, Newark

January 1897

Ensign, Amphitrite

January 1898

Ensign, Texas

Others at this command:

January 1899

Ensign, Topeka

January 1900

Lieutenant (j.g.), Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

January 1901

Lieutenant (j.g.), commanding officer, Sylph

January 1902

Lieutenant, Kentucky

January 1903

Lieutenant, Kentucky

January 1904

Lieutenant, Kentucky

Others at this command:

January 1905

Lieutenant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:

July 1906

Lieutenant, Dolphin

July 1907

Lieutenant Commander, Dolphin

January 1908

Lieutenant Commander, Ohio

Others at this command:

January 1909

Lieutenant Commander, Annapolis

Class of 1893

William is one of 2 members of the Class of 1893 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.