Latta, Frank DeVere, CDR

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Last Rank
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, USS Lagarto (SS-371)
Service Years
1928 - 1945

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Kent Weekly (SS/DSV) (DBF), EMCS to remember Latta, Frank DeVere, CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Indianapolis, IN
Last Address
St. Helena, CA

Casualty Date
May 04, 1945
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Other Explosive Device
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - Manila, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Commander Latta was the Commanding Officer of the USS Lagarto (SS-371).

The USS  Lagarto (SS-371) was on a War Patrol and was announced as "overdue from patrol and presumed lost" on 10 August 1945. A post war examination of Japanese records suggest that the Lagarto was probably sunk by a Japanese mine layer the Hatsutaka, on 3 May 1945. Commander Latta was listed as missing in action and later declared dead 25 may 1946.

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Narwhal (SS-167)
General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 00526 (March 11, 1944)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Frank DeVere Latta (NSN: 0-71545), United States Navy, for conspicuous heroism and skill in the completion of a series of secret missions as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. NARWHAL (SS-167), performed during six successive and successful War Patrols (4th through 9th inclusive, from 30 April 19i43 through 7 February 1944, each of which has been attended by great difficulty and invested with great danger. As Commanding Officer of the NARWAHL he supplied the foresight in preparation, the ever-painstaking attention to detail and unflinching courage in performance which have made these missions outstanding and successful. In addition to these missions he sank 8,500 tons of enemy shipping. His actions and conduct have been a striking example of invincible determination and bold courage, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Silver Star
General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 0767 (March 1, 1946)
Action Date: July 8 - August 26, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Executive Officer
Division: U.S.S. Narwhal (SS-167)
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Frank DeVere Latta (NSN: 0-71545), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in the performance of his duties in the U.S.S. NARWHAL (SS-1678) during the THIRD War Patrol of that Submarine in the northern Honshu and Hokkaido areas from 8 July 1942 to 26 August 1942. As Executive Officer and Navigator, his outstanding skill and efficiency resulted in the sinking of 14,500 tons of enemy shipping and in the damaging of 4,000 tons. His coolness and high devotion to duty contributed directly to the success of his vessel in evading severe enemy countermeasures. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to the officers and men in his ship and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Legion of Merit
General Orders: Board Serial 870 (March 7, 1947)
Action Date: January 24 - March 20, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Lagarto
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" (Posthumously) to Commander Frank DeVere Latta (NSN: 0-71545), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States in the performance of his duties as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. LAGARTO, during that vessel's first War Patrol, off the Bonin Islands and off Bungo Suido, from 24 January to 20 March 1945. His skill and efficient leadership of a coordinated attack group, consisting of HADDOCK, SENNET, and LAGARTO, resulted in two brilliant gun actions. The first gun attack, at dawn on 12 February, accounted for the sinking of two enemy patrol vessels. Again, on the following day, Commander Latta led his submarines in another gun attack. Lack of ammunition precluded total destruction of two more patrol boats, which were severely damaged. The Commanding Officer once again distinguished himself by sinking a Japanese submarine, on 24 February, in a skillful submerged attack. His conduct throughout this splendid patrol was an inspiration to his officers and men and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. (Commander Latta is authorized the Combat "V".)
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Submarine Officer Badge
Submarine Combat Patrol Badge - 7 Patrols
Command at Sea

 Duty Stations/ Advancement Schools
USS Saratoga (CV-3)NAS PensacolaUS NavyNAVSUBASE New London/Groton
USS S-44 (SS-155)NAVSUBASE Pearl HarborUSS Ortolan (ASR-22)USS Narwhal (SS-167)
USS Lagarto (SS-371)
  1932-1934, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1934-1935, NAS Pensacola
  1935-1936, USS Chester (CA-27)
  1936-1936, NAVSUBASE New London/Groton
  1936-1939, USS S-44 (SS-155)
  1939-1940, NAVSUBASE Pearl Harbor
  1941-1942, USS Ortolan (ASR-22)
  1942-1944, USS Narwhal (SS-167)
  1944-1945, USS Lagarto (SS-371)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)/Invasion & Occupation of Attu1
  1945-1945 USS LAGARTO (SS-371) 1st War Patrol
  1945-1945 USS LAGARTO (SS-371) 2nd War Patrol
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1928-1932, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jun 02, 1935, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Oct 01, 1939, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Jun 15, 1942, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Nov 18, 1942, Promoted to Commander
  Apr 24, 2005, USS LAGARTO (SS-371) FOUND7
  Nov 30, 2018, General Photos3
 Military Association Memberships
WW II Memorial National RegistryThe National Purple Heart Hall of HonorUnited States Navy Memorial World War II Fallen
The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2018, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2018, The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor [Verified]
  2018, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2018, World War II Fallen
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry
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