Apr 28

Casualties: USN and USMC Personnel Killed and Injured in Selected Accidents and Other Incidents Not Directly the Result of Enemy Action, 1946-1989

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:29 PM


This is a selected list of incidents not directly the result of enemy action which resulted in US naval personnel casualties, typically while these personnel were on official duty. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list, rather it is intended to identify well known incidents including those involving the sinking of a commissioned ship, and specific accidents involving numerous personnel, though undoubtedly we have missed some of these type of incidents.

Barracks fire at Naval Training Station Barracks B in Newport, Virginia. 4 were killed. 23 Jan. 1946.

Seaman Fist Class R.L. Mangum drowned during Operation Crossroads. 25 March 1946.

USS Solar (DE 221) destroyed in ordnance accident at Naval Ammunition Depot at Earle, New Jersey. 165 killed and 65 injured. 30 April 1946.

Radioman First Class J.D. Moran died from accidental electrocution on seaplane tender USS Albermarle (AV-5) during Operation Crossroads. 4 July 1946.

Lieutenant W.H. William was killed in an aircraft crash on Roi-Namur Island in Kwajalein Atoll during Operation Crossroads. 9 July 1946.

Seaman First Class J.R. Reagan died as a result of methyl alcohol poisoning during Operation Crossroads. 24 July 1946.

PBM-5 crash in Antarctica during Operation Highjump. Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez, ARM1 Wendell K. Henderson, and ARM1 Frederick W. Williams killed. 30 December 1946.

Liberty boat capsized in Mediterranean off Les Salins d’Hyeres, drowning eight sailors. 16 February 1948.

Navy launch approaching an aircraft carrier sank off Norfolk, Virginia. Approximately 31 died. 1 June 1948.

USS Tusk (SS 426) crew members washed overboard while rescuing crew of fire damaged USS Cochino (SS 345) in the Norwegian Sea. 7 drowned. 25 August 1949.

Gasoline tanker USS Chehalis (AOG 48) sunk by fire and explosion at Tutuila, Samoa. 6 killed. 7 October 1949.

Hospital ship USS Benevolence (AH 13) rammed and sunk by freighter Mary Luckenbach near San Francisco Bay. 18 killed. 25 August 1950.

Liberty launch capsized off Newport, Rhode Island, 19 sailors drown. 24 May 1951.

Collier Thomas Tracy collided with seaplane tender USS Valcour (AVP-55) off Cape Henry, Virginia, starting a severe aviation gasoline fire. 36 lost. 14 May 1951.

While at Yokosuka, aircraft carrier USS Bairoko (CVE-115) suffered an explosion and flash fire in flight hanger. Five killed. 18 May 1951.

After an F2H Banshee crashed through the safety barrier of USS Essex (CV-9), the resulting fire and explosion killed seven sailors. 16 September 1951.

LCPL of LST 561 foundered off Yongpyong-do, west coast of Korea with loss of all hands: two US Navy officers including Commander LST Division 12, two US Army officers, one Republic of Korea Navy officer, five US Navy enlisted personnel and two Royal Marines. 2 March 1952.

During gun fire operations off North Korea, 30 killed in a powder blast in forward turret of cruiser USS St. Paul (CA-73). 21 April 1952.

USS Hobson (DMS 26) broke in half and sank after collision with USS Wasp (CV 18) in mid Atlantic collision. 176 killed. 26 April 1952.

While USS Boxer (CV21) conducted flight operations off Korea, an explosion of a Panther jet aircraft (F9F) on the hangar deck caused a fire which ignited gasoline and ammunition. Nine personnel including one officer died of smoke and burns. Helicopters and destroyers of Task Force 77 rescued 63 survivors from the sea. 6 August 1952.

A Navy Mariner PBM crashed on the west slope of Bataan Mountain, near the entrance to Manila Bay. Thirteen bodies were recovered from the wreckage, with no survivors. 7 August 1952.

A Navy Mariner PBM, while on a night ASW patrol flight, crashed on Shikoku Island, Japan. The entire crew including five officers and nine enlisted men, killed. 8 August 1952.

Six F9F-4s from VMF-115 crashed into a South Korean mountain following lead aircraft navigational instrument failure. All six pilots killed. 11 September 1952.

176 killed in an Atlantic collision between the Wasp (CV-18) and the Hobson (DD-464). While the Wasp turned into the wind to recover aircraft, Hobson crossed the carrier’s bow from starboard to port and was struck amidship breaking Hobson in two. 24 September 1952.

USS Ashtabula (AO 51) suffered a gasoline explosion while at Sasebo, Japan, resulting in one man missing, three injured, and considerable material damage to the ship. 30 November 1952.

PBM-5 aircraft of Patrol Squadron 47 crashed in the Sea of Japan while on anti-submarine patrol, killing ten members of the crew of fourteen. 29 December 1952.

Explosion in aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) off Cuba killed 11, injured 4 more. 28 April 1953.

A target drone plane accidentally crashed light carrier USS Wright (CVL-49), 3 killed, 4 injured. 12 May 1953.

Accidental ignition of hydraulic fluid in catapult system started a fire in Leyte (CV-32) at the Charlestown Naval Shipyard, Boston. 32 sailors and five civilians killed, 40 injured. 15 October 1953.

Landing craft sunk after collision in Inchon harbor, Korea. 24 marines drowned. 21 January 1954.

While off Narragansett Bay, a catapult hydraulic fluid explosion, followed by secondary explosions, killed 103 crewmen from the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) and injured 201 others. 26 May 1954.

USS Atka (AGB-3) helicopter pilot Lieutenant John P. Moore killed in helicopter crash at Kainan Bay near Little America, Antarctica. 22 January 1955.

Battery explosion in submarine USS Pomodon (SS-486) at the San Francisco Naval Yard. Five killed, six injured. 20 February 1955.

During an exercise off San Diego, a single-engine Douglas Skyraider AD-5N attack bomber accidentally crashed destroyer USS Hopewell (DD-681). Five killed. 11 November 1955.

Engine room fire in radar picket ship USS Searcher (YAGR-4) off Cape May, New Jersey. Three killed, two injured. 13 November 1955.

Destroyer USS Basilone (DDE-824) ran hard aground at Hampton Roads. One killed. 5 January 1956.

D-2 tractor offloaded from icebreaker USS Glacier (AGB-4), driven by CD3 Richard T. Williams, USN, crashed through the ice off Cape Royds, Antarctica, during Operation Deep Freeze I. The driver and tractor were swallowed by the ice. 6 January 1956.

D 8 tractor driven by CD1 Max R. Kiel, USN, was swallowed by a 100 foot deep “V” shaped crevasse while filling the crevasse 110 miles east of Little America, Antarctica, during Operation Deep Freeze I. The cab of the tractor was smashed by impact with the narrowing ice walls and Kiel was instantly crushed. It was impossible to recover Kiel’s body. 5 March 1956.

Two killed, four injured after collision between Columbus (CA-74) and Floyd B. Parks (DD-884) off Luzon. 11 March 1956.

Three sailors died from exposure in an open whale boat found in Narragansett Bay. 17 March 1956.

During a night march at the Parris Island recruit depot, an exceptionally strong tidal current in Ribbon Creek swept over Marine Platoon 71, drowning six men. 8 April 1956.

Accidental 5-inch shell explosion on destroyer USS Buck (DD-761) killed one, injured nine. 28 September 1956.

Anti-aircraft gun explosion killed two, injured 11, on John R. Pierce (DD-753) while off Nice. 1 October 1956.

P2V-2N from Squadron VX-6 crashed in a storm at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, during Operation Deep Freeze II. Captain Rayburn Hudman, USMC; Lieutenant David W. Carey, USNR; Aviation Electronics Technician 1 Charles S. Miller, USN; and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1 Marian O. Marze, USN, died. 18 October 1956.

Commander Ollie B. Bartley killed when his Weasel tracked carrier fell through the ice at Hut Point, Antarctica. 14 January 1957.

Steam-line explosion killed two, injured five, in aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42). 20 June 1957.

Fire on two lighters adjacent to aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) in Marseilles harbor killed three sailors, injured five. 4 July 1957.

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2 Nelson R. Cole, from aviation Squadron VX-6, died from burns received in a helicopter crash in vicinity of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. 12 July 1957.

Three killed, at least four injured, by explosion in patrol ship USS Somersworth (PCER-849) off Montauk Point, New York. 18 July 1957.

Two killed, three injured, following a steam catapult explosion in Kearsarge (CV-33), Yokosuka, Japan. 10 January 1958.

During pre-deployment exercises out of San Diego, an attack bomber exploded on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CV-19). Two killed. 30 January 1958.

During a storm in the Atlantic, one officer is swept off the bridge of submarine USS Cutlass (SS-478) and drowned. 23 April 1958.

At Pearl Harbor, an accidental explosion in the depth charge fuse locker injured five destroyer escort Silverstein (DE-534) crewmen. 21 May 1958.

During an ASW exercise off Pearl Harbor, submarine USS Stickleback (SS-415) lost power and broached just ahead of destroyer escort Silverstein (DE-534). Holed in the resulting collision, the submarine gradually flooded and sank in 1,800 fathoms of water. No injuries. 28 May 1958.

Flight deck explosion on Ranger (CVA-61) killed two crewmen during training operations off San Francisco. 11 November 1958.

Single-engine Otter cargo aircraft from VX-6 crashed during takeoff at Marble Point, Antarctica. Lieutenant Harvey E. Gardner and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Lawrence J. Farrell died. 4 January 1959.

A collision in the Strait of Gibraltar between Kenneth D. Bailey (DD-713) and supply ship Haiti Victory killed one and hurt four. 5 March 1959.

At Norfolk, a flash electrical fire in aircraft carrier USS Randolph (CVA-15) killed one sailor, severely burned two others. 4 May 1959.

During carrier operations, an FJ Fury crashed USS Essex (CV-9) flight deck, killed two men, injured 21, and destroyed five other planes. 20 June 1959.

During a test in the hangar of aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-18), a runaway helicopter engine exploded, killing two and injuring 21. 19 August 1959.

An engine room fire hurt two crewmen in destroyer USS Decatur (DD-936). 29 August 1959.

During a storm off Virginia, destroyer USS Daly (DD-519) was caught in a huge swell, killing one sailor and sweeping five others over board. 4 February 1960.

Radar Man 6 Douglas Liftmaster from Fleet Tactical Support Squadron One (VR-1) involved in mid-air collision with a Brasilian Real Airlines aircraft over Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro, during President Eisenhower’s 3-day tour of Brasil. Of the 41 passengers and crew on the R6D, 3 survived. The dead included 19 US Navy Bandsmen. 25 February 1960.

In a collision near Cape Henry between destroyer escort USS Darby (DE-218) and ore ship Soya-Atlantic, two sailors were killed and several others injured. 19 March 1960.

An explosion in aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CV-38) injured three near Valparaiso, Chile. 6 April 1960.

An oxygen feed-line fire and explosion in Sargo (SSN-583) after torpedo room. One killed. 14 June 1960.

Destroyers Ammen (DD-527) and Collett (DD-730) collided in a dense fog off Newport Beach, California. 11 killed, 20 injured. 10 July 1960.

A flash fire in the engineering spaces of minesweeper USS Exultant (MSO-441) killed five off Savannah. 12 August 1960.

Steel Worker 1 Orlan F. John, USN, killed in accidental explosion at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. 2 November 1960.

A fire during the building of aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) at the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, killed 46 workers and injured 150. 19 December 1960. [It is not clear how many of these were naval personnel and how many were civilian employees of the Navy or contractors.].

During operations in the Aegean, a fuel oil fire in USS Saratoga (CVA-60) engine room killed seven. 23 January 1961.

After launching from the deck of USS Antietam (CVS-36) on 4 May 1961, and reaching the unprecedented height of 113,500 feet, the high-altitude research balloon Strato-Lab High 5 splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the accidental flooding of the passenger compartment, Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather drowned before rescue crews could arrive on the scene. 4 May 1961.

While anchored at Cannes, France, a fire in No. 4 main machinery space of aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) injured four. 19 August 1961.

During a test run from Norfolk to New York, a fire in the machinery room of aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) killed four men and injured nine others. 6 November 1961.

P2V Neptune from VX-6 crashed during take-off from Wilkes Station, Antarctica. Lieutenant Commander William D. Counts, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Romauld P. Compton, Aviation Structural Mechanic 1 William W. Chastain, Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2 James L. Gray, and a civilian seismologist were killed. 9 November 1961.

An S2F Tracker from USS Randolph (CVS-15) lost during night flight operations while southeast of Norfolk, Virginia. Four personnel died. 4 April 1962.

During a practice torpedo firing exercise west of Pearl Harbor, toxic gases from a fire in the forward torpedo room of USS Tiru (SS-416) injured 18 sailors. 23 June 1962.

USS Thresher (SSN 593) sank with all hands in 8500 feet of water, 220 miles east of Boston. 112 Navy personnel and 17 civilian technicians killed. 10 April 1963.

A two-alarm fire swept through a storage building on the Washington Navy Yard, DC, injuring two sailors. 30 April 1963.

While operating at night off Cape Henry, USS Randolph (CVA-15) starboard deck-edge elevator broke loose, dropping five men and one airplane into the Atlantic. Three men recovered, two drowned. 1 April 1964.

A four-engine P-3A Orion crashed in fog while attempting to land at Argentia Naval Air Station, Newfoundland, Canada. Ten crew members killed. 17 November 1964.

A twin-engine P2V Neptune crashed into a mountain near the tip of Cape Newenham, Alaska. Twelve crew members killed. 26 November 1964.

Two enlisted deep sea divers burned to death and two others functioning as “tenders” were injured (treated for smoke inhalation) during a flash fire inside a decompression chamber during a physiological experiment simulating a pressure of 250 feet of depth for two hours at the Washington Navy Yard, DC. 16 February 1965.

During combat flight operations off Vietnam, USS Ranger (CVA-61) suffered a fuel line fire in her No. 1 main machinery room. One sailor died before the fire was extinguished. 13 April 1965.

USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883) collided with USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) in the Tyrrhenian Sea, one destroyer sailor killed, another injured. 27 August 1965.

A flash fire in USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) No. 3 machinery room suffocated two sailors. 6 December 1965.

While off Norfolk, a catapult launch off Independence (CVA-62) ruptured an F-4B Phantom fighter’s detachable fuel tank, spilling and igniting 4,000 gallons of jet fuel. Fire destroyed another Phantom and spread into aviation stores compartment before being extinguished. 16 sailors burned or injured. 12 December 1965.

DC-3 aircraft from VX-6 crashed during landing on the Ross ice shelf in the Antarctic while supporting Operation Deep Freeze. All six members of the crew killed. 3 February 1966.

USS Oriskany (CV 34) fire and explosions in hanger bay during flight operations off Vietnam. During handling in a high explosives magazine a Mk Mod 3 flare was dropped and its safety lanyard inadvertently pulled, starting the fire which ignited more flares, 2.75-inch rockets, and a liquid oxygen cart. 44 died of asphyxiation except one who died from burns and injuries. 156 injured. 26 October 1966.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) fire in a supply store room asphyxiated eight men, injured four more. 4 November 1966.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) collided with USS Essex (CVS-9) during maneuvers off North Carolina. One submariner injured. 10 November 1966.

During gunline operations off South Vietnam, USS Manley (DD-940) suffered a 5-inch gun powder fire and explosion. Three sailors injured. 7 December 1966.

A collision between tanker SS Tom Bigbee and USS McMorris (DE-1036) about 75 miles southeast of Honolulu killed two sailors and injured seven others. 2 February 1967.

While in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, a crane accident killed two USS Oriskany (CVA-34) sailors and injured another. 9 February 1967.

During a NATO exercise off the Faeroe Islands, two USS Picuda (SS-382) sailors were washed overboard and drowned. 17 April 1967.

USS Raleigh (LPD-1) suffers an engine room steam accident which killed two sailors. 22 June 1967.

USS Forrestal (CVA 59) fire and explosions on flight deck during combat operations off Vietnam. After an inadvertent firing of a Zuni rocket which struck an A-4 aircraft igniting its JP-5 fuel, other aircraft loaded with bombs and missiles were consumed leading to explosions. Sixty aircraft were damaged or destroyed. Ship damage totaled $72.1 million. 134 killed and 161 injured. 29 July 1967.

At Mayport, a spontaneous-combustion fire in a rag store room in aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CV-38) killed one sailor in the fire party and severely injured another. 7 October 1967.

During flight operations in the Tonkin Gulf, an accidental Zuni rocket ignition in USS Coral Sea (CV-43) injured nine sailors. 25 October 1967.

During deck operations in the Tonkin Gulf, jet blast from a taxiing aircraft knocked an A-4 Skyhawk into the sea, drowning the pilot. 25 November 1967.

While at Sasebo, Japan, a fire in USS Kearsarge (CV-33) enlisted quarters killed three sailors, injured two more. 22 December 1967.

Also at Sasebo, a small explosion in Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) injured two sailors. 24 December 1967.

Grounded at Rhodes, Greece, by heavy winds and seas, destroyer USS Bache (DD-470) was abandoned and later broken up for salvage. No major personnel injuries. 7 February 1968.

USS Scorpion (SSN 589) was lost with all hands 400 miles southwest of Azores, in over 10,000 feet of water. 99 killed. 22 May 1968.

Helicopter operating from Bonhomme Richard (CVA-31) crashed near Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. Five Navy personnel including a Filipino steward killed. 10 July 1968.

While operating off Charleston, South Carolina, a fire in Douglas H. Fox (DD-779) killed two sailors and injured six others. 7 September 1968.

USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) suffered ordnance accident resulting in fire and explosions while operating off Hawaii. Fifteen aircraft were destroyed and 17 were damaged. The ship suffered $56.2 million in damages; aircraft losses totaled over $70 million. 28 killed, 343 injured. 15 January 1969.

An F8H Crusader from VF 24 crashed and went over the side while trying to land on USS Hancock (CVA 19), Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Swigart killed. 5 February 1969.

An A4E “Skyhawk” from VA 164 was lost when aircraft nose gear collapsed during catapult launch from USS Hancock (CVA 19), killing Lieutenant Commander Myers. 9 February 1969.

USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) cut in half in collision with Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne (R 21). 74 killed. 2 June 1969.

At Jacksonville, a flash fire in aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CV-38) killed one sailor and severely burned two others. 10 January 1970.

An F 8J Crusader from VF 24 struck the flight deck ramp of USS Hancock (CVA 19) and exploded during night carrier qualifications, killing Lieutenant Darrell N. Eggert. 1 September 1970.

An F 8J Crusader from VF 211 crashed into the flight deck of USS Hancock (CVA 19), killing Lieutenant G. J. Carloni. 28 October 1970.

USS Trenton (LPD-14) engine room main guarding steam valve ruptured, instantly killing four sailors and burning six others, two of whom later died from burns. 28 June 1971.

While operating off Vietnam, a turret fire and explosion in Newport News (CA-148) killed 20 and injured another 36 sailors. 1 October 1972.

USS Saratoga (CVA-60) suffered a fire in No.2 Machine Room while at Singapore, three killed and 12 injured. 29 October 1972.

One sailor died fighting a fire in the forward hold of Florikan (ASR-9). 30 October 1972.

Two sailors were injured in premature shell explosion on Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7) off Saigon, Republic of [South] Vietnam. 6 January 1973.

A boiler explosion in the after fireroom of USS Basilone (DD-824) killed seven sailors and injured another four. 5 February 1973.

Three sailors were injured in an engine room fire in USS Agerholm (DD-826) off San Diego, California. 7 February 1973.

One sailor was electrocuted while working in fireroom on USS Garcia (FF-1040). 28 June 1973.

Commander A. L. Wilderman, Commanding Officer of USS Plunger (SSN-595), lost overboard in a storm just off San Francisco. 2 December 1973.

No.1 Main Machinery Room fire in USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in South China Sea killed six, injured 38 sailors. 11 December 1973.

Jet aircraft crashed into eastern Indian Ocean after taking off from USS Enterprise. One crew member killed and another injured. 13 January 1975.

USS Belknap (DLG 26) collided with USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) in the Mediterranean. One Kennedy crewman killed, seven Belknap crewmen killed and 47 injured. 22 November 1975.

USS Voge (FF-1047) collided with unidentified Soviet submarine in the Ionian Sea, 1 sailor injured. 31 August 1976.

USS Wabash (AOR-5) was caught in major storm off the Philippines, 14 sailors injured. 16 September 1976.

USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) collided with USS Bordelon (DD-881) near Scotland, six destroyer crewmen injured. 16 September 1976.

Helicopter from USS San Diego crashed at sea. Russell Eugene Ward (and perhaps others) died. 17 December 1976.

LCM-6 from USS Trenton (LPD-14) carrying sailors and marines returning from liberty to USS Trenton and USS Guam (LPH-9), capsized after collision with Spanish merchant ship Urlea off Barcelona, Spain. 49 died in the accident. 17 January 1977.

Dummy training shell fired from a destroyer accidentally struck USS Opportune (ARS-41), injuring four sailors. 30 July 1978.

USS Francis Marion (LPA-249) collided with Greek freighter off Virginia, two sailors injured. 5 March 1979.

A severe storm off Cape Hatteras swept four sailors overboard from USS King (DDG-41), one rescued and three drowned. 9 February 1980.

Low flying P-3 Orion struck a cable and crashed at Pago Pago, American Samoa. Seven crewmen killed. 18 April 1980.

USS Midway (CV-41) and Panamanian-registered cargo ship Cactus collided, two sailors killed and three injured. 30 July 1980.

Training aircraft crashed in the Chesapeake Bay, two killed. 18 December 1980.

US Navy C-130 Hercules crashed in South China Sea, 16 killed. 26 February 1981.

EA-6B Prowler crashed into flight deck of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during a night landing, 14 sailors and marines killed, and 45 injured. Twelve aircraft lost or destroyed at a cost of $73 million. 26 May 1981.

Flight deck accident killed one sailor on USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). 8 September 1981.

During landing on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), an A-7E Corsair snapped an arresting cable, two killed and three injured. 4 December 1981.

Lieutenant Commander Stu Powrie, a member of the Blue Angels, was killed in the crash of his A-4 Skyhawk in California. 23 February 1982.

US Navy C-1A Trader cargo plane crashed in Crete, 11 killed. 3 April 1982.

Steam accident in USS Saratoga (CV-60) during overhaul at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, injured ten. 17 June 1982.

One sailor died and four others injured in USS Goldsborough (DDG-20) during severe storm off Hawaii. 25 November 1982.

EA-6B Prowler crashed near Coupeville, Washington, killing three crewmen. 29 December 1982.

Three fighter aircraft lost during training exercise off Puerto Rico, two killed. 18 March 1983.

US Navy plane crashed in St. Johns River, Florida, killing 15 passengers and crew. 1 May 1983.

P-3 Orion lost over Kauai, Hawaii, killing 14 crewmembers. 17 June 1983.

Two US Navy aircraft collided near Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, one killed. 3 September 1983.

Space shuttle Challenger (Mission STS-51-L) exploded during launch killing Commander Michael Smith and 6 other non-Navy astronauts. 28 January 1986.

USS Iowa (BB 61) ammunition explosion in the #2 16 inch gun turret while conducting firing practice northeast of Puerto Rico. 47 killed, 11 minor injuries. 19 April 1989.

Heavy waves washed three sailors from the deck of USS Barbel (SS-580) while operating off Kyushu, Japan. Two sailors drowned, one rescued. 1 May 1989.

Fire in engine room of USS White Plains while 100 miles east of Hong Kong killed six sailors. 9 May 1989.


Smaller lesser-known incidents involving fewer personnel are only included if data was readily at hand in the Navy Department Library or in some cases in the Ships history Branch of the Naval Historical Center. A comprehensive list of such incidents would require many years of research in archival records at numerous repositories. As examples of data not included, according to the Annual report of the Secretary of the Navy, in 1937, 378 sailors died in accidents; 67 in motor vehicles, and 43 by drowning. According to a Bureau of Naval Personnel Memorandum http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/aviation_fatal.htm, 3,257 naval aviation personnel were killed in an unknown number of non-combat related aircraft crashes between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946. Only a few of these accidents are listed above, however, primarily owing to the lack of easy access to detailed information. The date provided at the end of each entry is the date of the accident/incident, rather than the date of death of individuals who died subsequent to the event. Data are based on incomplete and sometimes conflicting sources. Suggested additions or corrections with photocopied supporting documentation should be mailed to: Navy Department Library, Naval Historical Center, 805 Kidder Breese Street, Washington Navy Yard DC 20024-3805.

Note regarding ship identification: On 17 July 1920, following the promulgation of Navy Department General Order No. 541, the Office of Naval Operations established standard nomenclature for naval vessels. The type name and number was replaced with a letter designation and a hull number, for example “Battleship No. 5” became BB 5. This alpha numeric hull designation system is still in use today.


Allen, Robert L. The Port Chicago Mutiny. New York: Warner Books, 1989. [17 Jul. 1944 incident].

Annual Reports of the Navy Department. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1840s, 1912-1940. [see the enclosed “Report of the Surgeon General for 1919-1921, for statistics on the influenza pandemic. The report for 1919 dealing with the influenza is posted at http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/influenza_secnavpta.htm

Arkin, William M. and Handler, Joshua. Naval Accidents, 1945-1988. Neptune Papers, No. 3. Greenpeace Institute for Policy Studies, June 1989.

Bauer, K. Jack and Stephen S. Roberts. Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.

Bonner, Kit and Carolyn Bonner. Great Naval Disasters: U.S. Naval Accidents in the 20th Century. Osceola WI: MBI Publishing, 1998.

Calhoun, C. Raymond. Typhoon, the Other Enemy: The Third Fleet and the Pacific Storm of December 1944. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press 1981.

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Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 9 vols. Washington DC: Naval Historical Center, 1959-1991. [Available online at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/index.html.].

Dunnigan, James F. and Nofi, Albert A. The Pacific War Encyclopedia. 2 vols. New York: Facts on File, Inc 1998.

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New York Times. [various years].

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Silverstone, Paul H. US Warships Since 1945. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1987.

Sweetman, Jack. American Naval History: An Illustrated Chronology of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-Present. 2d ed. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.

Trimble, William F. Wings for the Navy: A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917-1956. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990. [death of Kennedy on 12 Aug. 1944].

US Navy. Board of Inquiry. Loss of the USS Scorpion, Finding of Fact: Board of Inquiry Finding of Facts as to the Loss of the USS Scorpion (SSN 589) on 22 May 1968, Held June 1968. Washington, 1968. [declassified Nov. 1993].

US Navy. Board of Inquiry. Loss of the USS Thresher, Findings of Fact: Board of Inquiry Findings of Fact as to the Loss of the USS Thresher (SSN 593) on 10 April 1963 Held May 1963. Washington, 1963. [declassified Nov. 1993].

US Navy. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Casualty Branch. Navy Casualties: Lost and Wrecked Ships, 1801 1941; Explosions, 1804 1941; Steam Casualties, 1855 1941. Washington, 1941. [Rare non-circulating manuscript available for examination at the Navy Department library.].

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