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Rexford Ostrom '39

Date of birth: October 30, 1915

Date of death: April 10, 1945

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Rexford was lost when his F6F-5 Hellcat was shot down over the Ryukyu islands (possibly Okinawa). (Note: that site says Iwo Jima for his place of loss; history of USS Santee (CVE 29) places Rexford nearly 1,000 miles away at the time.)

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander Rexford J. Ostrom (NSN: 0-82602), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Fighter Pilot and Flight Leader embarked in U.S.S. SANTEE over the Ryukyus on 10 April 1945.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 352 (July 1946)
Action Date: April 10, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron
Division: U.S.S. Santee

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 Indianapolis

Others at this command: ENS Byron Cooke '39

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Gordon Schecter '35 (Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 6)

June 1940

Ensign, USS Case

November 1940

Ensign, USS Case

April 1941

Ensign, USS Case

Class of 1939

Rexford is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 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.