WALTHER G. MASER, LT, USN

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Walther Maser '19

Date of birth: September 15, 1897

Date of death: February 16, 1930

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1919 Lucky Bag:

1919 Maser LB.jpg

Walther George Maser

Dickinson, North Dakota

PEPE sprang to fame in one short night Plebe summer, when in a state of mental saturation after an afternoon on the submarine squad, he betook himself to his packing box and dove therefrom into the roaring tide of the second deck corridor. The roar he set up when he hit turned out the whole outfit to see who had been murdered. Then to complete it all, after being gently stowed in his little bed, he repeated the whole affair just as fast as he could get to sleep again. After that he came to be in great demand in the messhall whenever a plebe was needed to " sound off."

The infinite complaisance with which he pulls his nose, licks his chops and mouths his words while staring fixedly into space charmed the executive department as well as the upper-classmen, and now he gloatingly publishes the papsheets.

Joe attaches an air of great importance to his smallest action, and deliberates weightily upon every word he utters. Maybe that is why he got ragged the first time he ever smoked. "Let me think." He does more things wrong by being re than most people do by getting lit. Military Joe—no joke in that name, for he is truly and conscientiously military in mind, morals and instincts. "The brace that won't wear off" is the pride of the regiment. Ask him why he couldn't convince the M.C. he wasn't a plebe.

Extremely positive and assured in all he says, North Dakota methods are the final authority. We wonder if that North Dakota honey he is talking up is any relation to our own mess-hall variety. Don't blush that way, Pepe; you've got the makings in you, for you've got a big sense of duty to grow up to.

Honors: Two Stripes.


The Class of 1919 was graduated on June 6, 1918 due to World War I. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

1919 Maser LB.jpg

Walther George Maser

Dickinson, North Dakota

PEPE sprang to fame in one short night Plebe summer, when in a state of mental saturation after an afternoon on the submarine squad, he betook himself to his packing box and dove therefrom into the roaring tide of the second deck corridor. The roar he set up when he hit turned out the whole outfit to see who had been murdered. Then to complete it all, after being gently stowed in his little bed, he repeated the whole affair just as fast as he could get to sleep again. After that he came to be in great demand in the messhall whenever a plebe was needed to " sound off."

The infinite complaisance with which he pulls his nose, licks his chops and mouths his words while staring fixedly into space charmed the executive department as well as the upper-classmen, and now he gloatingly publishes the papsheets.

Joe attaches an air of great importance to his smallest action, and deliberates weightily upon every word he utters. Maybe that is why he got ragged the first time he ever smoked. "Let me think." He does more things wrong by being re than most people do by getting lit. Military Joe—no joke in that name, for he is truly and conscientiously military in mind, morals and instincts. "The brace that won't wear off" is the pride of the regiment. Ask him why he couldn't convince the M.C. he wasn't a plebe.

Extremely positive and assured in all he says, North Dakota methods are the final authority. We wonder if that North Dakota honey he is talking up is any relation to our own mess-hall variety. Don't blush that way, Pepe; you've got the makings in you, for you've got a big sense of duty to grow up to.

Honors: Two Stripes.


The Class of 1919 was graduated on June 6, 1918 due to World War I. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

Loss

From the Argus Leader on February 18, 1930:

Washington, Feb, 18.—(AP)—Official reports from the U. S. S. Nevada at Guatanamo Bay, Cuba, today gave in detail the circumstances surrounding the death of Lieutenant Walther G. Maser, who was killed Sunday during the launching of an airplane from the battleship.

Maser was “supervising” the launching of the plane from a powder catapult mounted on the third turret of the ship, a statement from the navy department said.

“He gave the signal to fire,” the report continued, “then for a reason that may never be known, stepped into the immediate vicinity of exhaust stack of the catapult. After the launching was completed, and in the normal manner of the powder gas which furnished the power to operate the catapult rushed out to the atmosphere through the exhaust stack.

Lieutenant Maser was so near that this rush of gas, acting as it does like the blast from a gun, killed him instantly.

“Lieutenant Maser had long experience with this type of catapult and must have been fully aware of the danger of standing in the vicinity of the exhaust stack.

“The plane was launched successfully and was not damaged in any particular, so first reports erroneously stated that it was blown to bits. Both the operation of the catapult and the behavior of the plane were normal in every respect.”

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

His father Frederick, Stark County judge, lived in Dickinson, North Dakota, and contacted Congress members for an investigation into his son’s death. His three brothers were Fred, Victor, and Albert, and his two sisters were Ruth and Viola. His brother Fred described him as a cheerful person who was mechanically inclined. Memorial services were held at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Glen Ullin, North Dakota.

Walther’s wife Edith and 4-month-old baby, Robert Brockwell Maser, lived in Norfolk. Edith renamed their son Walther, and she remarried on July 22, 1937, to John Ballentine Norfleet. She died in 1999. On June 16, 1953, Ensign Walther George Maser (Class of 1953) married Sally Evans Wales in Richmond, Virginia.

Walther was first assigned to submarine duty seeing service in the war. He left to join the air service in 1925. He was considered one of the best aviators in his squadron and for the last three years was flying instructor at Annapolis.

As of August 7, 2020 the Naval Academy Alumni Association lists his son as alive and living in Richmond, Virginia.

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 1919
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS D-3
January 1920
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS N-5
January 1921
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS St. Louis

Others at this command:
January 1922
Lieutenant (j.g.), commanding officer, USS SC-338
May 1923
Lieutenant, under instruction, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

September 1923
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
May 1924
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

July 1924
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
September 1924
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
November 1924
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
January 1925
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
March 1925
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
May 1925
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
July 1925
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron 1

Others at this command:
October 1925
Lieutenant, Naval Academy

January 1926
Lieutenant, Naval Academy

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
1LT Frederick Chappelle '20 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy)
October 1926
Lieutenant, Naval Academy


Others at or embarked at this command:
1LT Frederick Chappelle '20 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy)
January 1927
Lieutenant, Naval Academy


Others at or embarked at this command:
1LT Frederick Chappelle '20 (Marine Barracks, Naval Academy)
July 1928
Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B, USS Langley

Others at or embarked at USS Langley:
LCDR Frank McCord '11 (USS Langley)
LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
October 1928
Lieutenant, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B, USS Langley

Others at or embarked at USS Langley:
LCDR Frank McCord '11 (USS Langley)
LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
January 1929
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Arizona

Others at or embarked at USS Arizona:
April 1929
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Arizona

Others at or embarked at USS Arizona:
July 1929
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Nevada

Others at or embarked at USS Nevada:
October 1929
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Nevada

Others at or embarked at USS Nevada:
January 1930
Lieutenant, Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B, USS Nevada

Others at or embarked at USS Nevada:


Class of 1919

Walther is one of 11 members of the Class of 1919 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.