WILLIAM L. LAMBERSON, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Lamberson '38

Date of birth: October 30, 1916

Date of death: January 22, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:

Loss

William was lost when his F6F-5 Hellcat fighter was shot down near Okinawa on January 22, 1945. He was the commanding officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 3, operating from USS Yorktown (CV 10).

His parents were listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Iowa.

Career

From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

  • NAS Pensacola attached for HTA flight training, 8/26/1940
  • NAS Pensacola designated NA # 7231, 3/3/1941
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1941 USN Register, 6/2/1941
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1943 USN Register, 6/15/1942
  • VF-3 NAS Seattle (XO), 10/1/1943
  • VF-3 NAS Whibey Island (XO), 10/8/1943
  • VF-3 NAS Pasco (XO), 2/7/1944
  • Date of rank LCDR from 1 Jul 1944 USN Register, 3/15/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Alameda (XO), 4/5/1944
  • VF-3 USS Essex (CV-9) (XO) for trnsp to PH, 4/17/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Kahului (XO), 4/22/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Puunene (XO), 5/4/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Hilo (XO), 6/7/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Kahului (XO), 7/22/1944
  • VF-3 NAS Kahului (CO) attached, 8/29/1944
  • VF-3 USS Yorktown (CV-10) (CO), 10/24/1944
  • VF-3 USS Yorktown (CV-10) (CO) NX DFC(2) PH KIA BNR, 1/22/1945

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander William Lacey Lamberson (NSN: 0-81113), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron THREE (VF-3), attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-10), in action against enemy Japanese shipping, aircraft and ground installations, at Saigon, French Indo-China, on 12 January 1945. Intercepted by a strong force of Japanese aircraft while leading his flight in a bombing and strafing mission against this heavily fortified Japanese stronghold, Lieutenant Commander Lamberson fought a gallant battle against tremendous odds and personally shot down two of the hostile planes. Proceeding to the assigned target area, he boldly countered the enemy's intense, concentrated anti-aircraft fire to direct a brilliantly executed strike against Japanese shipping and pressed home his own daring attack to score a direct hit on an important merchant vessel. Boldly leading his planes in a determined strafing run against a hostile airfield immediately thereafter, he personally destroyed two grounded aircraft during the fierce engagement and obtained photographs of inestimable value to our forces in planning for and executing subsequent attacks. A forceful leader and superb airman, Lieutenant Commander Lamberson contributed materially to the extensive and costly damage inflicted on vital enemy targets and his valiant devotion to the completion of each hazardous mission was an essential factor in the success of our air operations in the Pacific War Area. His cool courage throughout was an inspiration to all with whom he served and reflects the highest credit upon Lieutenant Commander Lamberson, his intrepid command and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet: Serial 08 (February 1, 1945)
Action Date: 12-Jan-45
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)
Division: U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10)

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander William Lacey Lamberson (NSN: 0-81113), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron THREE (VF-3), embarked in U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-10), over Luzon, Philippine Islands, on 14 November 1944.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 345 (December 1945)
Action Date: November 14, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)
Division: U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10)

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander William Lacey Lamberson (NSN: 0-81113), United States Navy, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during World War II.

Action Date: World War II
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)
Division: U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10)

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 1939

Ensign, USS Farragut


Others at this command:

June 1940

Ensign, USS Farragut


Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida


Others at this command:


Class of 1938

William is one of 72 members of the Class of 1938 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.