Cecil, Charles Purcell, RADM

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 111X, Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force (COMSOPAC)/Commander, Seventh Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet
Service Years
1916 - 1944
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

33 kb

Home State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Year of Birth
1893
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Cecil, Charles Purcell, RADM.

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
Louisville, KY
Last Address
Bonnie Brae
Flat Rock, NC
(Wife~Mary Randolph Pelzer Cecil)

Casualty Date
Jul 31, 1944
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location
Tuvalu
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 8 Grave 3428

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
On a day in July 1943, a sorry looking group of Navy men—officers and blue-jackets, all lucky to be alivewaded ashore on a Pacific island. Among them was Charles P. Cecil, tall, cold-eyed skipper of the heroic cruiser Helena,  which had been torpedoed in the July 7 Battle of Kula Gulf. With the others. Captain Cecil had floated for hours in the oil-covered waters. He had refused to be picked up until his men were rescued.

It was the second ship Cecil had lost to the enemy. In the Battle of Santa Cruz, in October 1942, he had commanded the lost destroyer Porter. He ruefully remarked: "I guess they have my number."

His number was crossed out, when an airplane in which he was riding crashed at a Pacific base on July31, 1943. He was the ninth flag officer (plus one general officer of the Marines) lost by the Navy in operations or action in World War II. 
   
Comments/Citation

 
Name of Award
Navy Cross X2
Years Awarded
1942
1943 
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Charles Purcell Cecil, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, Destroyer Squadron FIVE, during the engagement with enemy Japanese forces north of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942. Captain Cecil conducted his group so that units under his command maneuvered skillfully in forming a tight defensive screen around a United States carrier in spite of intense and violent action sustained for an hour and a half. Captain Cecil's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 314 (May 1943)
Action Date: 26-Oct-42
Service: Navy
Rank: Captain
Company: Commander
Division: Destroyer Squadron 5

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Charles Purcell Cecil, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Light Cruiser U.S.S. HELENA (CL-50), during operations in Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands, on 5 and 6 July 1943. Commanding his warship during landing operations on New Georgia island, Captain Cecil skillfully maneuvered his ship through submarine-infested waters and effectively bombarded Japanese shore batteries in the face of intense gun and torpedo fire. Twenty-four hours later the Helena participated in an engagement with a numerically superior force and contributed materially to the sinking or severe damaging of all the enemy ships before she was struck by a torpedo. Captain Cecil, calmly and without confusion, directed the abandonment of his sinking ship, and continued supervision of rescue operations from a small life raft. Captain Cecil's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 319 (October 1943)
Action Date: July 5 & 6, 1943
Service: Navy
Rank: Captain
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Helena (CL-50)
   

 Tributes from Members  
Namesake~USS Charles P. Cecil (DD-835) posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 432
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 Ribbon Bar
Command at Sea

 
 Duty Stations
USS Arizona (BB-39)US NavyUSS Rochester (CA-2)USS Texas (BB-35)
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS West Virginia (BB-48)USS Arkansas (BB-33)NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Great Lakes, ILL
COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC/DESRON 5USS Helena (CL-50)
  1916-1917, 116X, USS Arizona (BB-39)
  1917-1919, 116X, USS Yankton (1893) Schooner
  1920-1921, 116X, USS Ballard (DD-267)
  1922-1923, 116X, USS Rochester (CA-2)
  1922-1924, 116X, 6th Naval District
  1923-1924, 000X, USS Upshur (DD-144)
  1924-1925, 116X, USS Pittsburgh (CA-4)
  1925-1926, 116X, USS Texas (BB-35)
  1928-1937, 111X, Bureau of Navigation
  1928-1937, 111X, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1929-1929, 111X, Commander Battleship Division 3
  1930-1930, 111X, Commander Battleship Division 4
  1930-1932, 111X, USS West Virginia (BB-48)
  1932-1934, 111X, USS Arkansas (BB-33)
  1935-1936, 111X, USS Greer (DD-145)
  1936-1938, 111X, USS Cummings (DD-365)
  1939-1941, 111X, NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Great Lakes, ILL
  1941-1942, 111X, COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC/DESRON 5
  1942-1942, 111X, USS Porter (DD-356)
  1942-1943, 111X, USS Helena (CL-50)
  1943-1944, 111X, Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force (COMSOPAC)/Commander, Seventh Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf2
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1912-1916, United States Naval Academy3
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Jun 03, 1916, Commission Date to Ensign
  Jan 01, 1918, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Feb 26, 2016, General Photos2
 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2016, World War II Fallen
  2016, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2016, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2016, WW II Memorial National Registry
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