Difference between revisions of "FRANKLIN VAN VALKENBURGH, CAPT, USN"

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
m (1 revision imported)
 
(No difference)

Latest revision as of 14:15, 4 December 2019

Franklin Van Valkenburgh '09

Date of birth: April 5, 1888

Date of death: December 7, 1941

Age: 53

Lucky Bag

From the 1909 Lucky Bag:


Biography

1909 Van Valkenburgh 1.jpg

From Wikipedia:

Born in Minneapolis, Van Valkenburgh moved to Milwaukee when he was a toddler. His father was a prominent lawyer also named Franklin Van Valkenburgh, who served as Milwaukee assistant city attorney and a U.S. attorney for Wisconsin. His great-grandmother’s brother was Daniel Wells Jr., who represented Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District in the 1850s. He grew up on Milwaukee’s east side, attending Cass Elementary School and graduating from East Side High School, later renamed Riverside High School.

Franklin Van Valkenburgh was appointed a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy on September 15, 1905, and graduated on June 4, 1909. After service in the battleship USS Vermont (BB-20) and in USS South Carolina, Van Valkenburgh was commissioned ensign on June 5, 1911. Traveling to the Asiatic Station soon thereafter, he joined the submarine tender USS Rainbow (AS-7) at Olongapo, Philippine Islands, on September 11,. He reported to the gunboat USS Pampanga (PG-39) as executive officer on June 23, 1914, for a short tour in the southern Philippines before his detachment on August 4,.

After returning to the United States, Lt. (jg.) Van Valkenburgh joined USS Connecticut (BB-18) on November 11,. Following postgraduate work in steam engineering at the Naval Academy in September 1915, he took further instruction in that field at Columbia University before reporting to USS Rhode Island (BB-17) on March 2, 1917. The entry of the United States into World War I found Van Valkenburgh serving as the battleship's engineering officer. Subsequent temporary duty in the receiving ship at New York preceded his first tour as an instructor at the Naval Academy. On June 1, 1920, Van Valkenburgh reported on board USS Minnesota (BB-22) for duty as engineer officer, and he held that post until the battleship was decommissioned in November 1921.

He again served as an instructor at the Naval Academy—until May 15, 1925—before he joined USS Maryland (BB-46) on June 26,. Commissioned commander on June 2, 1927, while in Maryland, he soon reported for duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations on May 21, 1928, and served there during the administrations of Admirals Charles F. Hughes and William V. Pratt. Detached on June 28, 1931, Van Valkenburgh received command of the destroyer USS Talbot (DD-114) on July 10, and commanded Destroyer Squadron 5 from March 31, 1932.

After attending the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., and completing the senior course in May 1934, Comdr. Van Valkenburgh next served as inspector of naval materiel at the New York Navy Yard before going to sea again as commanding officer of USS Melville (AD-2) from June 8, 1936, to June 11, 1938. Promoted to captain while commanding Melville—on December 23, 1937—he served as inspector of material for the 3d Naval District from August 6, 1938, to January 22, 1941.

On February 5, 1941, Van Valkenburgh relieved Capt. Harold C. Train as commanding officer of USS Arizona (BB-39). Newly refitted at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Arizona served as flagship of Battleship Division 1 for the remainder of the year, based primarily at Pearl Harbor with two trips to the west coast.

In a letter to a relative, Faith Van Valkenburgh Vilas, dated November 4, 1941, Captain Van Valkenburgh wrote: "We are training, preparing, maneuvering, doing everything we can do to be ready. The work is intensive, continuous, and carefully planned. We never go to sea without being completely ready to move on to Singapore if need be, without further preparation. Most of our work we are not allowed to talk about off of the ship. I have spent 16 to 20 hours a day on the bridge for a week at a time, then a week of rest, then at it again.

"Our eyes are constantly trained Westward, and we keep the guns ready for instant use against aircraft or submarines whenever we are at sea. We have no intention of being caught napping."

On December 4, the battleship went to sea in company with USS Nevada (BB-36) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) for night surface practice and, after conducting these gunnery exercises, returned to Pearl Harbor independently on the 6th to moor at berth F-7 alongside Ford Island.

Both Captain Van Valkenburgh and the embarked division commander, Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, spent the next Saturday evening, December 6, on board. Suddenly, shortly before 08:00 on December 7, Japanese planes roared overhead, shattering the Sunday peace and punctuating it with the explosion of bombs and the staccato hammering of machine guns. Captain Van Valkenburgh ran from his cabin and arrived on the navigation bridge, where he immediately began to direct his ship's defense. A quartermaster in the pilot house asked if the captain wanted to go to the conning tower—a less-exposed position in view of the Japanese strafing—but Captain Van Valkenburgh adamantly refused and continued to man a telephone, fighting for his ship's life.

A violent explosion suddenly shook the ship, throwing the three occupants of the bridge—Captain Van Valkenburgh, an ensign, and the quartermaster, to the deck, and blowing out all of the bridge windows completely. Dazed, battered and shaken, the ensign stumbled through the flames and smoke of the shattered bridge's interior and escaped, but Captain Van Valkenburgh and the quartermaster were never seen again. A continuing fire, fed by ammunition and oil, raged for two days until finally being extinguished on December 9. Despite a thorough search, Captain Van Valkenburgh's body was never found; all that was ever retrieved was his Annapolis class ring.

He was survived by his wife, two daughters, and son. He has a memory marker in Wisconsin.

Medal of Honor

1909 Van Valkenburgh 2.jpg

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh (NSN: 0-7187), United States Navy, for distinguished conduct in action, outstanding heroism, and utter disregard of his own safety above and beyond the call of duty during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. ARIZONA (BB-39), Captain Van Valkenburgh gallantly fought his ship until the U.S.S. ARIZONA blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life.

Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Arizona (BB-39)

Namesake

USS Van Valkenburgh (DD 656) was named for Franklin; the ship was sponsored by his widow, Marguerite. "The ensign hoisted upon commissioning that afternoon was the same that had flown above Arizona's fantail at Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941."

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 1910

Midshipman, Vermont

January 1911

Midshipman, South Carolina

January 1912

Ensign, Rainbow

January 1913

Ensign, Rainbow

January 1914

Ensign, Rainbow

January 1915

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Connecticut

January 1916

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Naval Academy

Others at this command: LTjg Fred Berry '08 and LTjg Mervyn Bennion '10.

January 1917

Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, Columbia University, New York, New York

March 1918

Lieutenant, USS Rhode Island

January 1919

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

January 1920

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: LCDR Millington McComb '10 and LCDR John Fletcher '11.

January 1921

Lieutenant Commander, USS Minnesota

Others at this command: ENS Howard Peeples '20 and ENS Olin Miner '20.

January 1922

Lieutenant Commander, USS Savannah

May 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR Isaac Kidd '06, LCDR Fred Berry '08, LCDR Joseph Murphy '09, LT Archer King, Jr. '15, LT Harold MacLellan '18, and ENS Edward Frawley '22.

November 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR Isaac Kidd '06, LCDR Fred Berry '08, LCDR Joseph Murphy '09, LT Harold MacLellan '18, LT Festus Foster '19, and LT Robert Smith, Jr. '19.

January 1924

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command: CDR Isaac Kidd '06, LCDR Fred Berry '08, LCDR Joseph Murphy '09, LT Harold MacLellan '18, LT Festus Foster '19, and LT Robert Smith, Jr. '19.

July 1925

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS John Cromwell '24, ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, and ENS Thelman Lester '25.

October 1925

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS John Cromwell '24, ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, and ENS Thelman Lester '25.

January 1926

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS John Cromwell '24, ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, and ENS Thelman Lester '25.

October 1926

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, ENS Thelman Lester '25, ENS John Graff '26, and ENS Sidney Smith '26.

January 1927

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, ENS Thelman Lester '25, ENS John Graff '26, and ENS Sidney Smith '26.

April 1927

Lieutenant Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, ENS Thelman Lester '25, ENS John Graff '26, and ENS Sidney Smith '26.

October 1927

Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Fremont Wright '25 and ENS Harry Hubbard '25.

January 1928

Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, ENS Elmer Cooper '27, and ENS Harold Richards '27.

April 1928

Commander, navigator, USS Maryland

Others at this command: LCDR Mervyn Bennion '10, ENS Fremont Wright '25, ENS Harry Hubbard '25, ENS Elmer Cooper '27, and ENS Harold Richards '27.

July 1928

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Lyman Swenson '16.

October 1928

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Lyman Swenson '16 and LTjg Walter Dey '24.

January 1929

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Lyman Swenson '16 and LTjg Walter Dey '24.

April 1929

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LCDR Lyman Swenson '16 and LTjg Walter Dey '24.

July 1929

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LTjg Raymond Tuttle '22.

October 1929

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LTjg Raymond Tuttle '22.

January 1930

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LTjg Raymond Tuttle '22.

April 1930

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: LT Raymond Tuttle '22.

October 1930

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: CDR Howard Lammers '08 and LT Raymond Tuttle '22.

January 1931

Commander, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command: CDR Howard Lammers '08 and LT Raymond Tuttle '22.

April 1931

Commander, commanding officer, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Black '26.

July 1931

Commander, commanding officer, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Black '26 and LTjg Warren Graf '27.

October 1931

Commander, commanding officer, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Black '26 and LTjg Warren Graf '27.

January 1932

Commander, commanding officer, USS Talbot

Others at this command: LTjg Francis Black '26 and LTjg Warren Graf '27.

April 1932

Commander, commanding officer, Destroyer Division 5, USS Roper

Others at or embarked at USS Roper: ENS Millard Klein '31 (USS Roper).

October 1932

Commander, commanding officer, Destroyer Division 5, USS Roper

Others at or embarked at USS Roper: ENS Ernest Evans '31 (USS Roper) and ENS Millard Klein '31 (USS Roper).

January 1933

Commander, commanding officer, Destroyer Division 5, USS Roper

Others at or embarked at USS Roper: ENS Ernest Evans '31 (USS Roper) and ENS Millard Klein '31 (USS Roper).

April 1933

Commander, commanding officer, Destroyer Division 5, USS Roper

Others at or embarked at USS Roper: ENS Ernest Evans '31 (USS Roper) and ENS Millard Klein '31 (USS Roper).

July 1933

Commander, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

October 1933

Commander, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

April 1934

Commander, under instruction, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

July 1934

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

October 1934

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

January 1935

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

April 1935

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

October 1935

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, New York: CDR Warner Portz '15 (Material Laboratory).

January 1936

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, New York: CDR Warner Portz '15 (Material Laboratory).

April 1936

Commander, Inspector of Naval Materiel, Navy Yard, New York

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, New York: CDR Warner Portz '15 (Material Laboratory).

July 1936

Commander, commanding officer, USS Melville

January 1937

Commander, commanding officer, USS Melville

April 1937

Commander, commanding officer, USS Melville

September 1937

Commander, commanding officer, USS Melville

Others at this command: LT Paul Register '21.

January 1938

Commander, commanding officer, USS Melville

Others at this command: LT Paul Register '21.

July 1938

Captain, Inspector of Naval Material, New York District, New York City, New York

January 1939

Captain, Inspector of Naval Material, New York District, New York City, New York

October 1939

Captain, Inspector of Naval Material, New York District, New York City, New York

June 1940

Captain, Inspector of Naval Material, New York District, New York City, New York

November 1940

Captain, Inspector of Naval Material, New York District, New York City, New York


Class of 1909

Franklin is one of 10 members of the Class of 1909 on Virtual Memorial Hall.