Zechella, Alexander, LCDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Service Branch
Civil Engineer
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1952-1953, Commander Naval Forces Korea (CNFK)
Service Years
1943 - 1953
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Golden Dragon
Iwo Jima
Panama Canal
Civil Engineer
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Zechella, Alexander (Zeke), LCDR.

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
Newport, KY
Last Address
Vicar's Landing at Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Date of Passing
Aug 15, 2009
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified
Military Service Number
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Sea Bees Badge US Navy Honorable Discharge Order of the Shellback Cold War Medal

Order of the Golden Dragon Blue Star

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation
  1945, United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

LCDR Alexander Philip "Zeke" ZECHELLA
WWII destroyers and a Seabee in Korea
Design engineer on the USS Nautilus

Born Aug 11, 1920 in Newport, KY he worked at odd jobs as a young boy to help his family through the great depression. He excelled in both academics and athletics and was named to the state championship football, basketball and track teams. Graduating, president of his class, from Newport High School in 1938 he then attended the University of Kentucky on a football scholarship for one year. He was then awarded and appointment to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD where he was a member of the football team. Zeke graduated with a degree in engineering in 1943. He married his childhood sweetheart, Jean Millicent Bary on June 24, 1942. He was assigned to the destroyer USS Greer DD-145, as assistant engineering officer, in the north Atlantic during the first part of WWII. He became the XO, second in command,  of the USS Ringgold DD-500 at the age of 23 and participated in the Pacific Theater until the end of the war.

He returned home to his family, remained in the Navy, and earned a Masters degree  in civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1948 while stationed in Long Beach, California. Zechella utilized his engineering knowledge while he was in charge of construction projects at Navy bases in Alaska and spent two tours of duty in the Aleutian Islands on Adak, where Zeke was the resident officer in charge of constructing new officers quarters. Before and during construction the family lived in a Quonset Hut, which was quite an adventure! He
served with the Seabees during the Korean War and after many moves and tours of duty Zeke resigned from the Navy as a Lt Commander in 1953.

Zeke then, began a very distinguished career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a pioneer in the field of nuclear power. He worked as a design engineer on the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, then was instrumental in the building of the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. For the Enterprise, he was responsible for building the prototype engineering plant, then installed the ship's eight nuclear reactors, on the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, in Newport News, VA.

Alexander Philip "Zeke" Zechella, 89, passed away August 15, 2009, after an extended illness. He was a member of the "Greatest Generation" and son of Italian immigrants, Nicholas and Cecelia Rizzi Zechella. He took great pride in being an American and made the most of what this country had to offer.
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  1943-1944, USS Greer (DD-145)


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USS Greer (DD-145) Unit Page


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Base, Station or City
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 USS Greer (DD-145) Details

USS Greer (DD-145)
Hull number DD-145

Surface Vessel

Parent Unit
Surface Vessels


Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: May 24, 2012
Memories For This Unit

Other Memories
Sailing from Guantanamo Bay January 23, 1943, Greer sailed to Boston then headed for the Atlantic convoy duty. Departing NS Argentia, Newfoundland March 1, 1943, she escorted merchantmen for Northern Ireland. During heavy North Atlantic gales, Convoy SC-121 lost seven ships to three separate U-boat attacks before reaching Derry March 13. Greer then escorted 40 merchantmen on the return voyage without incident, and continued on to Hampton Roads April 15 with tanker Chicopee.

After exercises in Casco Bay, Greer departed New York May 11 with a convoy of 83 ships. Reaching Casablanca, Morocco, June 1, the destroyer patrolled off the North African port and then recrossed the Atlantic, arriving New York June 27. After another run to Northern Ireland, Greer returned to New York August 11.

After steaming to Norfolk, she sailed for the British West Indies August 26 to serve briefly as plane guard to Santee. She rendezvoused with a convoy in the Caribbean and headed for North Africa. Diverted to New York, she docked there September 14. Routine training exercises turned into tragedy October 15 as Greer collided with Moonstone off the mouth of Indian River, Delaware Capes (35 miles (56 km) south-east of Cape May, New Jersey). Moonstone sank in less than 4 minutes, but Greer rescued all the crew but one.

After repairs, the destroyer escorted the Free French Gloire from New York to Norfolk. Greer sailed December 26 with another Casablanca-bound convoy and after an uneventful crossing returned to Boston February 9, 1944. This was the final transatlantic crossing for the old four-stack destroyer, as she and her sister ships were replaced by newer and faster escorts.

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USS Greer (DD-145)
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