CLARENCE K. BRONSON, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Clarence Bronson '10

Date of birth: July 21, 1888

Date of death: November 8, 1916

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1910 Lucky Bag:

Loss

"Five early American naval aviators in Pensacola, c. 1915. From left: Lt. (j.g.) Walter A. Edwards USN, Lt. (j.g.) Clarence K. Bronson USN, Lt. (j.g.) Godfrey Chevalier USN, 2nd Lt. William M. McIlvain USMC, and Lt. (j.g.) Kenneth Whiting USN."

Clarence was lost on November 8, 1916 when "on an experimental bomb test flight at Naval Proving Ground, Indian Head, Maryland, were instantly killed by the premature explosion of a bomb in their plane." He was naval aviator #10.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Other

"They are outside the Flying School office, which bears a sign (at left) with the name of Lt. j.g. Clarence K. Bronson. Both station staff and student aviators are present. Most are identified below (as annotated on the print). Standing, left to right: Ensign Harold W. Scofield, USN; Past Assistant Surgeon Charles L. Beeching, USN; Lt. j.g. Clarence K. Bronson, USN; Lt. j.g. William M. Corry, Jr., USN; Lt. j.g. Joseph P. Norfleet, USN; and Lt. Albert C. Read, USN. Seated, left to right: Unidentified Lt. j.g.; Lt. j.g. Earl W. Spencer, Jr., USN; Lt. j.g. Walter A. Edwards, USN; Lt. j.g. Robert R. Paunack, USN; Lt. Earle F. Johnson, USN; Lt. j.g. George D. Murray, USN. Photograph from the photo album of Vice Admiral T.T. Craven. Courtesy of Lt. Rodman DeKay, Jr., USNR (Retired), 1979. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph."

Clarence was one of the men to establish NAS Pensacola, Florida

Namesakes

USS Clarence K. Bronson (DD 668) was named for Clarence.

Bronson Field, located near Pensacola, Florida, was named for him.

Related Articles

Luther Welsh '09 was also lost in this incident.

Officers at the Naval Aeronautic Station, Pensacola, Florida, circa July-November 1915. They are standing in front of a Curtiss AB type seaplane, and include both station staff and student aviators. They are identified (as numbered on the print) as: 1. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Harold W. Scofield, USN; 2. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) William M. Corry, Jr., USN; 3. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Clarence K. Bronson, USN; 4. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Ewart G. Haas, USN; 5. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Robert R. Paunack, USN; 6. 1st Lieutenant Francis T. Evans, USMC; 7. Lieutenant Earle F. Johnson, USN; 8. Lieutenant Albert C. Read, USN; 9. Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin, USN, Naval Aeronautic Station Commandant; 10. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Patrick N.L. Bellinger, USN; 11. 1st Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC; 12. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Richard C. Saufley, USN; 13. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Joseph P. Norfleet, USN; 14. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Walter A. Edwards, USN; 15. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Harold T. Bartlett, USN; 16. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Earl W. Spencer, Jr., USN; 17. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edward O. McDonnell, USN. Photograph from the photo album of Vice Admiral T.T. Craven. Courtesy of Lieutenant Rodman DeKay, Jr., USNR (Retired), 1979. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Richard Saufley '08 and William Corry '10 were also pictured among the earliest naval aviators.

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.

January 1911

Midshipman, Michigan

January 1912

Midshipman, Michigan

Others at this command: ENS Richard Elliot, Jr. '09 and MIDN Frank McCord '11.

January 1913

Ensign, Michigan

Others at this command: ENS Richard Elliot, Jr. '09.

January 1914

Ensign, Michigan

Others at this command: ENS Louis Roth '13.

January 1915

Ensign, Naval Aeronatic Station, Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LTjg Louis Maxfield '07, LTjg Richard Saufley '08, and ENS Godfrey Chevalier '10.

January 1916

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Aeronatic Station, Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LT Robert Cabaniss '06, LTjg Richard Saufley '08, LTjg Godfrey Chevalier '10, and LTjg William Corry '10.


Class of 1910

Clarence is one of 15 members of the Class of 1910 on Virtual Memorial Hall.