Backus, Standish, Jr., CDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
19 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
165X-Special Duty Officer - Public Affairs
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1956-1956, McMurdo CFR, NAS McMurdo Station
Service Years
1940 - 1956
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Penguin

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

15 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Backus, Standish, Jr. (Stan), CDR.

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.
Contact Info
Home Town
Detroit, Mich.
Last Address
Born: Detroit, Wayne County, Mich.
Died: Santa Barbara, California
Burial: Santa Barbara Cemetery
Cremated: Ashes are in the Mausoleum in the Pines
Courtyard - Row 10 - Niche 24

Date of Passing
Oct 12, 1989
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback US Naval Reserve Honorable Discharge Order of the Arctic Circle (Bluenose) Order of the Golden Dragon

Blue Star

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Commander Standish Backus, Jr.
Combat Artist and Illustrator
(1910 - 1989)

He joined the Naval Reserves in 1940 and was assigned as a Navy combat artist, a role in which he witnessed the surrender of the Japanese on the U.S.S. MISSOURI. He was among the first U.S. military men to enter Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He became a commander and remained in the Naval Reserve. After the war, Stan returned to Santa Barbara and resumed painting. In 1956, he accompanied Admiral Byrd to Antarctica. One of his paintings, "Midsummer Scene, McMurdo Sound," was shown in Princeton in 1968 by the Historical Society of Princeton.

STAN BACKUS, a prominent watercolor impressionist in Santa Barbara, Calif., died there on Oct. 12, 1989. A memorial service was held at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Oct. 21, and Adele Smith, the widow of Howard (Bullet) Smith, represented the Princeton Class of 1933.

Stan was born on Apr. 5, 1910, in Detroit. He graduated  rom Princeton University Class of 1933. In college, he was on the 150-lb. crew and was a member of Cap and Gown. Stan studied architecture in college, but on graduation he discovered that, as he put it, "architects were starving to death." He therefore went to Munich to study art. In 1935, he opened a studio in Santa Barbara.

After being commissioned as an Ensign in the inactive Naval Reserve in 1940, Backus became an active duty officer in 1941. During most of the war he was assigned to the Net and Boom Defenses, first in the South Pacific and then in Washington D.C. In 1945 he was transferred to the Bureau of Naval Personnel to assist in establishing a special Graphic Presentation Unit. Late in the War Backus was assigned to cover operations in the Pacific as a Combat Artist. Backus received promotions throughout the war, attaining the rank of Commander before returning to civilian life in May 1946.

Returning to active duty, Backus accompanied Admiral Byrd to the Antarctica for four months in 1955-56 to record images of the exploration.

Labeled "Operation Deepfreeze", this expedition did preliminary work for the one in July 1956, which widely explored the Antarctic in commemoration of the Geophysical Year. 

During the original exhibition of paintings from Operation Deepfreeze, Backus discussed why the Navy sends artist to cover Naval activities. "The Navy appreciates that the artist, in reporting his experiences, has the opportunity to convey to his audience a large sense of realization of a subject, the artist is obliged to contemplate the subject reflectively, seeking to penetrate beyond the surface of factual representation, in order to present the true nature of the experience."

After his work for the Navy was completed Backus returned to California and continued painting while also teaching at the University of California. As a dedicated member of his community, he served on the boards of several civic and arts organizations. He died in Santa Barbara in 1989.

Other Comments:

Commander Standish Backus, Jr., Illustrator and Navy Combat Artist:

The Emperor’s Cruiser Aoba

Near the great Kure Naval Base lies a dozen capital ships--on the bottom. When the bottom is near the surface these ships resemble tangled briar patches as torn as they are by bombs and torpedoes. Enhancing this effect are the quantities of dead branches and latticework applied in futile attempt to camouflage. Among them is Aoba.

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)US NavyFleet Public Affairs CenterUSS Missouri (BB-63)
Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)Naval Support Force Antarctica (NSFA)USS Atka (AGB-3)McMurdo CFR, NAS McMurdo Station
  1940-1940, Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS Staff) Detroit, MI
  1942-1943, USS Ebony (YN-10/AN-15)
  1944-1945, Fleet Public Affairs Center
  1945-1945, USS Missouri (BB-63)
  1945-1946, Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)
  1946-1955, Broken Service
  1955-1956, Naval Support Force Antarctica (NSFA)
  1955-1956, USS Atka (AGB-3)
  1956-1956, McMurdo CFR, NAS McMurdo Station
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Surrender of Japan, End of WWII
 Colleges Attended 
Princeton University
  1929-1933, Princeton University
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jan 24, 1990, Princeton Class of '3312
Copyright Inc 2003-2011