Sellstrom, Edward Robert, Jr., ENS

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1941-1942, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
Service Years
1941 - 1942

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

74 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Sellstrom, Edward Robert, Jr. (Doc), ENS.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Rockwell City. IA
Last Address
Rockwell City, IA

Casualty Date
Jun 21, 1942
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
Gowrie Township Cemetery - Gowrie, Iowa
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2014, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  2014, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2014, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLVF-3 TomcattersUSS Lexington (CV-2)
  1941-1941, S2c-0000, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1941-1942, 131X, VF-3 Tomcatters
  1941-1942, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
 Colleges Attended 
Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minnesota
  1935-1939, Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minnesota
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Service Date and Service Number
  Iowa Birth
  Jun 28, 2013, General Photos3
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., in 1939. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve as Seaman second class at Minneapolis on 14 January 1941 and was appointed Aviation Cadet at Pensacola, Fla., on 20 March 1941. On 15 September 1941, he was commissioned Ensign, USNR.

After duty in the Advanced Carrier Training Group, Pacific Fleet, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 3, on board carrier Lexington.

On 20 February 1942, Ensign Sellstrom intercepted an enemy four-engined bomber, determinedly pursued it through clouds and rain, and assisted in shooting it down despite heavy machine gun and cannon fire. Later that day, he intercepted and shot down another aircraft during an attack directed at his carrier by nine enemy bombers. As a result of his "skillful marksmanship and courage," he was awarded the Navy Cross.

Ensign Sellstrom was killed the next day in an airplane crash on 21 June 1942. The plane crashed on take-off in Honolulu when it hit something left at the end of the runway. He was burned severely and died a couple of days later in a Honolulu hospital. Thus, his body was recovered. He was first buried in the military cemetery in Hawaii, but later was reinterred in the Gowrie, Iowa, cemetery where he rests with his parents. A destroyer escort was later named for him... the USS Sellstrom.

Name of Award
Navy Cross

Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign Edward R. Sellstrom, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron THREE (VF3), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), in action against enemy forces in the Pacific War Area when his ship was attacked by eighteen Japanese bombing planes on 20 February 1942. Ensign Sellstrom intercepted an enemy four-engine bomber, and after a determined pursuit through clouds and rain, he assisted in shooting down this enemy plane despite combined machine gun and cannon fire. Later the same day, during an attack directed at his carrier by nine enemy bombers, he intercepted and attacked a formation of the enemy aircraft, and as a result of his skillful marksmanship and courage, and again, despite the enemy machine gun and cannon fire, he shot down one enemy bomber. Ensign Selstrom's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: February 20, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Ensign
Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)
Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2)
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