Crommelin, Charles Laurence, CDR

 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
1945-1945, 131X, USS Randolph (CVS-15)
Service Years
1931 - 1945

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

137 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Crommelin, Charles Laurence, CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Watumpka, AL
Last Address
San Diego, CA

Casualty Date
Feb 17, 1945
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Not Specified
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
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
  2013, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  2014, United States Navy Memorial - 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
VF-2 Bounty HuntersUSS Lexington (CV-2)VF-5 Fighting Hell CatsUSS Yorktown (CV-10)
Carrier Air Group 5 (CVG-5)COMNAVAIRLANTUSS Randolph (CVS-15)
  1934-1940, 131X, VF-2 Bounty Hunters
  1939-1939, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
  1942-1942, 131X, VF-5 Fighting Hell Cats
  1943-1944, 131X, USS Yorktown (CV-10)
  1943-1944, 131X, Carrier Air Group 5 (CVG-5)
  1945-1945, 131X, USS Randolph (CVS-15)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1927-1931, United States Naval Academy2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Charles Laurence de Berniere "Charlie" Crommelin (b. March 16, 1909) was in the USNA Class of 1931 and rose to fame flying F6F Hellcat fighter planes in the Pacific, earning the rank of commander. Early in the war, he survived a crash landing test flying an aircraft. He was later awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for action over the Japanese-held Marcus Island in August 1944. During the air battles near the Marshall Islands in November, Charles ran into antiaircraft fire that inflicted severe wounds and severe damage to his aircraft. His successful landing was captured on film and became part of the war propaganda film Fighting Lady; medical personnel discovered more than 200 particles of glass and metal in his face and body. According to an often-repeated anecdote, he exited the ambulance in Pearl Harbor and headed straight for the officer's club for a drink. Flying off the USS Randolph (CVS-15), he commanded Carrier Air Group 12, known as "Crommelin's Thunderbirds," which engaged in the first carrier air strikes against Japan. He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while leading a February 1945 attack near Tokyo. During a mission, Charles's plane went missing over the sea near Okinawa on March 28, 1945, and he was declared killed in action. Charles is memorialized at the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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 Commander Charles Lawrence Crommelin (NSN: 0-70011), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Fighter Plane and Commander of AIR GROUP TWELVE (AG-12), attached to the U.S.S. RANDOLPH (CV-15), during the first attack on Japan by Naval carrier-based planes on 17 February 1945. Acting as Strike Leader for a coordinated attack on a vital aircraft engine plant in the Tokyo area, Commander Crommelin courageously refused to turn back when he discovered, upon reaching the Japanese coast, that his engine was operating at greatly reduced power and he knew extremely adverse weather conditions made necessary a long trip over the Japanese mainland to the target area. Pressing home the attack in the face of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition, he was last to leave the target area, taking damage assessment photographs before delivering his own rocket and strafing attack. Commander Crommelin, by his outstanding professional skill, inspiring leadership and gallant devotion to duty, contributed materially to the serious damage of an important enemy installation, thus upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0540 (September 12, 1945)
Action Date: 17-Feb-45
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Squadron: Air Group 12 (AG-12)
Ship: U.S.S. Randolph (CV-15)
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