King, Frank Ragan, Jr., CDR

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Last Rank
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1918-1919, CNO - OPNAV
Service Years
1907 - 1919

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Montevallo, Alabama
Last Address
Lost At Sea

Casualty Date
Jul 12, 1919
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Drowned, Suffocated
Antarctic Ocean
World War I/Mining Operations, North Atlantic
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, North Atlantic Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War I Fallen
  1919, World War I Fallen

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)US NavyUSS Arkansas (BB-33)CNO - OPNAV
  1903-1907, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1907-1909, Naval Sea Units
  1909-1911, USS Hartford (steam frigate)
  1911-1913, USS Arkansas (BB-33)
  1913-1915, USS Milwaukee (C-21)
  1915-1917, USS Illinois (BB-7)
  1917-1918, USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
  1918-1919, CNO - OPNAV
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 World War I
  1918-1918 World War I/Mining Operations, North Atlantic
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1903-1907, United States Naval Academy1
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jul 12, 1919, Frank Ragan King (Jr.) 1884 - 1919
  Oct 14, 1920, USS KING DD-242, LAUNCHED 1920.3
  Jul 11, 2012, General Photos
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Commander Frank Ragan King (15 October 1884 - 12 July 1919) was an officer in the United States Navy who died while conducting minesweeping operations shortly after World War I. Born in Montevallo, Alabama, King was appointed midshipman at the Naval Academy 6 May 1903 and graduated 11 February 1907.

After serving as passed midshipman, he was commissioned Ensign 12 February 1909. King served in Arkansas, Hartford, Milwaukee, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attaining the rank of Commander 21 September 1918. Comdr. King assumed command of the trawler Richard Bukley* 7 July 1919 during minesweeping operations in the North Sea.

On 12 July 1919 his ship struck a mine and went down in only seven minutes. During the crisis King exerted himself to see that all of his crew might be saved. King's feeling for his men was evidenced by the fact that his final act before going down with his ship was to strap his own life preserver to a stunned sailor and help him over the side. Comdr. King received the Distinguished Service Medal for his valor.

Note: At the time, the DSM was the highest award given by the Navy. The Navy Cross and the DSM reversed status at the beginning of WWII. 

1903 Midshipman
1907 Passed midshipman

1909 Ensign

1912 Lieutenant (jg)

1915 Lieutenant 

1917 Lieutenant  Commander
1918 Commander
1919 KIA, North Atlantic

*Ship may be listed as: USS Buckley, USS Buckley and/or USS Bulkeley (1917).

USS Richard Bulkely AM
(AM: dp. 550; 1. 150', b. 22', dr. 14'6'; s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 25; el. (R. N.) Mersey);

Richard Bulkeley was launched 21 August 1917 by Coehrane & Sons, Selby, England, as a wooden patrol and antisubmarine vessel for the Royal Navy. She was acquired 31 May 1919 on loan for U.S. Navy service as a minesweeper and commissioned the same day, Lt. Michael J. Wilkinson in command.

Richard Bulkeley served as flagship of Comdr. Frank L. King, commander of a minesweeper flotilla engaged in clearing the Northern Mine Barrage laid during World War I to block German submarine routes to the Atlantic. While underway on a sweeping operation in the North Sea 12 July 1919, Richard Buckley's sweeping gear caught a mine which suddenly exploded. The ship sank with the loss of seven men, including Commander King, whose name was given to a destroyer (DD-242) then under construction in the United States.

U.S.S. RICHARD BUCKLEY (trawler, British owned), displacement 550 tons; sunk by a mine near Shetland Islands; 7 killed; 2 wounded.


Awards and Citations


Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded posthumously for actions during World War I


The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (Posthumously) to Commander Frank Ragan King, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of a Division of trawlers, engaged in the difficult and hazardous operation of sweeping for and removing mines in the North Sea Barrage; and especially for his heroic conduct on the occasion of the destruction by mine explosion of his flagship, the U.S.S. RICHARD BUCKLEY, of which he was also the Commanding Officer. Although stunned by the explosion, he made every effort to save the lives and to rescue men entrapped by steam in the fireroom. The rapid sinking of the vessel prevented his success in the undertaking. Finding the ship about to sink he proceeded to bridge, where he took his station, and went down with the ship.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Book of Distinguished Service (Stringer)

Action Date: 12-Jul-19

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Company: Commanding Officer

Division: U.S.S. Richard Buckley

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