Coolbaugh, Walter Wesley, LTJG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1942, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
Service Years
1940 - 1942
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Coolbaugh, Walter Wesley, LTJG.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Dec 19, 1942
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Solomon Islands
Not Specified
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Yorktown (CV-5)VB-3VS-5USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1941-1942, 131X, USS Yorktown (CV-5)
  1941-1942, 131X, VB-3
  1942-1942, 131X, VS-5
  1942-1942, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Eastern Solomons
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
 Colleges Attended 
Keystone CollegeAmerican University
  1936-1938, Keystone College
  1938-1940, American University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Walter Wesley Coolbaugh , born in Ransom, Pa., 1 August 1914, enlisted in the Naval Reserve for aviation training 14 November 1940. Serving in a scouting squadron in the Pacific, he won the Navy Cross for his gallant conduct in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. Coolbaugh was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) 1 October 1942, and lost his life in an aircraft accident 19 December 1942.


Name of Award
Navy Cross
Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign Walter Wesley Coolbaugh, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Scouting Plane in Scouting Squadron FIVE (VS-5), attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5), in action against enemy Japanese forces at Tulagi Harbor on 4 May 1942, and in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942. Ensign Coolbaugh engaged in three dive bombing attacks, two on enemy Japanese forces in Tulagi Harbor on 4 May 1942, and the third on an enemy aircraft carrier in the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942. Pressing home these attacks in the face of tremendous anti-aircraft fire, Ensign Coolbaugh, by his skill and determination, assisted greatly in the sinking of the carrier and in the sinking or severe damaging of eight other enemy vessels. His conscientious devotion to duty and gallant self-command against formidable odds contributed materially to the success of our forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea. He gallantly gave his life for his country..

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 311 (February 1943)
Action Date: 4 May 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Ensign
Squadron:  Scouting Squadron 5 (VS-5)
Ship: U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5)
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