DAMON M. CUMMINGS, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Damon Cummings '31

Date of birth: January 30, 1910

Date of death: November 13, 1942

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1931 Lucky Bag:

1931 Cummings LB.jpg

Damon Morris Cummings

Washington, D.C.

"Bill"

The man with a sense of humor and an elastic patience is greatly desired for company by all men. Bill has these and more!

He came to our class early in the summer of 1927 with a knowledge of sea lore which was a constant source of wonder to us all; the rudiments from book diversions in Lawrence School and St. Alban's; the experience and the practical sides from summers in Jamestown. Conscientious work, however, has brought its returns; so that "horizontal exercise" has crept into the off hours of Bill's days. He seeks the realms of Morpheus in order that the next seconds may be better filled with hard work and cheeriness towards others.

"Still water runs deep." And so it is with this unassuming student, who, with all the worries available from Academic troubles, manages to keep a cheery smile and both feet on the upper side of the line. With his native determination and ability to make friends, his life in the Service will be a pleasure to him and his shipmates.

Reception Committee 3, 2, 1; Reef Points; 1 P.O.


BIll was a member of the Reception Committee.

1931 Cummings LB.jpg

Damon Morris Cummings

Washington, D.C.

"Bill"

The man with a sense of humor and an elastic patience is greatly desired for company by all men. Bill has these and more!

He came to our class early in the summer of 1927 with a knowledge of sea lore which was a constant source of wonder to us all; the rudiments from book diversions in Lawrence School and St. Alban's; the experience and the practical sides from summers in Jamestown. Conscientious work, however, has brought its returns; so that "horizontal exercise" has crept into the off hours of Bill's days. He seeks the realms of Morpheus in order that the next seconds may be better filled with hard work and cheeriness towards others.

"Still water runs deep." And so it is with this unassuming student, who, with all the worries available from Academic troubles, manages to keep a cheery smile and both feet on the upper side of the line. With his native determination and ability to make friends, his life in the Service will be a pleasure to him and his shipmates.

Reception Committee 3, 2, 1; Reef Points; 1 P.O.


BIll was a member of the Reception Committee.

Loss

Damon was lost when USS San Francisco (CA 38) was severely damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. He was on the staff of the Commander, South Pacific Force (aka Task Force 67), led by Daniel Callaghan '11, who was also lost in this action.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

He is buried at sea and his memorial is on the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Biography

From Wikipedia:

Damon Morris Cummings was born on January 30, 1910 in Belvidere, Illinois, the son of then-Ensign (later Captain) Damon Earhart Cummings (1885–1969) and Ennis Frances Morris. He graduated in 1927 from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., and from the United States Naval Academy on June 4, 1931.

He served in heavy cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) and destroyer USS Monaghan (DD-354) and had staff duty at Naval Submarine Base New London at New London, Connecticut, and with Destroyer Squadron 3 (DesRon 3).

While serving on the staff of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey—the Commander, South Pacific Force (COMSOPAC) -- Lieutenant Commander Cummings was killed in action on board heavy cruiser San Francisco (CA-38) on the night of 12–13 November 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

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 Damon Morris Cummings (NSN: 0-70295), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession on the Staff of the Commander, South Pacific Force, serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Lieutenant Commander Cummings was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander Cummings contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 312 (March 1943)
Action Date: November 12 - 13, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Staff of the Commander
Regiment: South Pacific Force
Division: U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38)

Namesake

USS Damon M. Cummings (DE 643) was named for Damon; the ship was sponsored by his widow.

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 1931
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
January 1932
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
April 1932
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
October 1932
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
January 1933
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
April 1933
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
July 1933
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
October 1933
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
April 1934
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg John Duke '26 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
July 1934
Ensign, USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
ENS Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
October 1934
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
LTjg Alfred Tucker, III '31 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
January 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Northampton


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg Robert Symes '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 9S)
April 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
October 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
January 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
April 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
July 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
January 1937
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Monaghan
April 1937
Lieutenant (j.g.), communications officer, USS Monaghan
October 1939
Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark
June 1940
Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command:
November 1940
Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command:
April 1941
Lieutenant, staff, Destroyer Squadron 3, USS Clark

Others at this command:


Class of 1931

Damon is one of 52 members of the Class of 1931 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.