Zechella, Alexander, LCDR

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
11 kb
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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
Decommissioning
Order of the Golden Dragon
Iwo Jima
Panama Canal
Civil Engineer
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

26 kb

Home State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Year of Birth
1920
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Zechella, Alexander (Zeke), LCDR.

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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

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Sea Bees Badge Order of the Shellback US Navy Honorable Discharge 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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  1944-1945, USS Ringgold (DD-500)

Lieutenant Junior Grade

From Month/Year
- / 1944

To Month/Year
- / 1945

Unit
USS Ringgold (DD-500) Unit Page

Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade

NEC
Not Specified

Location
Not Specified

Country/State
Not Specified
 
 
 Patch
 USS Ringgold (DD-500) Details

USS Ringgold (DD-500)
Hull number DD-500

Type
Surface Vessels

Existing/Disbanded
Decommissioned

Parent Unit
Surface Vessels

Strength
Destroyer

Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: May 24, 2012
   
Memories For This Unit

Other Memories
USS Ringgold (DD-500)

1944
After completing repairs in December, Ringgold took part in the assault and capture of Kwajalein and of Eniwetok Atolls during January and February 1944, where she furnished close-in fire support for the landing forces. On 20 March she bombarded the shore installations at Kavieng, New Ireland, as a diversionary action for landings in the Northern Bismarck Archipelago. From 24 April until 1 May 1944, she took part in the assault and capture of Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea.

In June Ringgold took part in the Marianas operations. During the invasion of Guam she served as Landing Craft Control Vessel and provided gunfire support. During the initial landing, she dispatched 23 waves of landing craft to the beach. Next came the invasion of Morotai Island, in the Northern Moluccas, where Ringgold again provided gunfire support.

On 20 October 1944, American forces returned to the Philippines, and Ringgold again furnished fire support, this time for the landings on Panaon Island off southern Leyte. Two days later, she was ordered to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, for overhaul.

1945
Early in February 1945, Ringgold joined Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher's famed Fast Carrier Task Force (then 5th Fleet's TF 58, later 3rd Fleet's TF 38) for the first carrier strikes against the Japanese mainland and Okinawa in support of the Iwo Jima operation. Under cover of a weather front, the force launched its air groups at dawn, 16 February, 120 miles (220 km) from target. Attacks against enemy air power were pressed into the heart of the Japanese homeland far into the next day. In the course of this 2-day attack, the Japanese lost 416 planes in the air, 354 more on the ground and one escort carrier.

After repairs at Ulithi and Pearl Harbor, Ringgold rejoined TF 58 in support of the Okinawa operation, joining up 4 June 1945. Upon completion of this task, the force retired to San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, the Philippines, arriving 13 June.

On 1 July the ship again put to sea, this time with Admiral William Halsey's 3d Fleet Fast Carrier Task Force for strikes against the Japanese homeland. On the night of 15-16 July, with Destroyer Squadron 25 (DesRon 25) and Cruiser Division 17 (CruDiv 17), Ringgold participated in an antishipping sweep 6 miles (10 km) off the northern coast of Honshū, Japan. Again, on the night of 30 July, she participated in an antishipping sweep in Suruga Wan and bombarded the town of Shimizu, Honshū, Japan.

Rejoining TF 38 on 31 July, Ringgold continued coastal operations with that force until the cease fire. Ordered to escort USS Antietam (CV-36) to Apra Harbor, Guam, 22 August, she arrived there 4 days later and underwent repairs. Steaming to Okinawa 16 September, Ringgold took on 83 passengers for Pearl Harbor, and then proceeded to the east coast of the United States. Decommissioning 23 March 1946, she was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Charleston, South Carolina, where she remained into 1959. Designated for transfer to the Federal Republic of Germany under the military assistance program, she underwent modernization and outfitting at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.

Ringgold received 10 battle stars for World War II service.

   
My Photos For This Unit
USS Ringgold (DD-500)
4 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Ringgold (DD-500)

ENSEY, Lyttleton, CAPT, (1936-1961) Lieutenant
Soucy, Ronald, PO2, (1942-1945) Petty Officer Second Class
Hackman, Earl Drissel, LT, (1939-1945) OFF Lieutenant Junior Grade
Poremba, Matthew, S2c, (1943-1945) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class

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