I created this profile of Admiral Sample as part of my research of the Battle Off Samar. Sample was the Commander of Carrier Division 27 assigned to Task Unit 77.4.2 (Taffy II). The little escort carriers (CVEs) he commanded were an intergal part of winning the war in the Pacific.
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William Dodge Sample was born in Buffalo, New York, on 9 March 1898.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1918.
During World War 1 he served aboard duty in USS HENDERSON (AP-1). For meritorious service during a fire on board that ship he received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy. Detached in August 1918,he served on several destroyers based at Queenstown, Ireland.
He remained in the European Waters Detachment after the end of World War 1.
In December 1921 he was transferred to the gunboat PAMPANGA (PG-39), on the Asiatic Station.
Attended flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator on 23 June 1923.
Saw duty in several observation squadrons in the mid to late 1920s.
Served on board the carriers SARATOGA (CV-3) and LEXINGTON (CV-2), commanding VF-5 on the latter.
During 1938 and 1939, he served in RANGER (CV-4).
After the outbreak of World War II, he assisted in the conversion of SANTEE (CVE-29). Assuming command of that escort carrier on its commissioning, he was awarded a letter of commendation for service during Operation Torch; the invasion of North Africa.
On 19 April 1944, he assumed command of INTREPID (CV-11).
In May 1944 he was transferred to the command of HORNET (CV-12) and in the ensuing months participated in operations in the Marianas and in strikes against the Volcano Islands.
Promoted to Rear Admiral and successively commanded Carrier Divisions 22 and 27.
Listed as missing on 2 October 1945 after his plane failed to return from a familiarization flight near Wakayama, Japan. Rear Admiral Sample was officially declared dead on 3 October 1946.
William Dodge Sample was the youngest rear admiral in the Pacific theater.
USS SAMPLE (FF-1048) was commissioned on March 23, 1968.
Chain of Command During World War 1 he served aboard duty in USS HENDERSON (AP-1). For meritorious service during a fire on board that ship he received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
Other Memories Named for Marine General Archibald Henderson, she was launched by Philadelphia Navy Yard 17 June 1916; sponsored by Miss Genevieve W. Taylor, great-granddaughter of General Henderson; and commissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 24 May 1917, Lt. C. W. Steel in command.
Henderson arrived New York 12 June 1917 and sailed 2 days later with Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves' cruiser and transport force, which carried units of the Allied Expeditionary Force to France. In her holds she had space for 1,500 men and 24 mules. Reaching St. Nazaire 27 June she disembarked troops and returned to Philadelphia 17 July 1917. Subsequently, Henderson made eight more voyages to France with troops and supplies for the allies in the bitter European fighting. She established two large base hospitals in France during 1917. In constant danger from submarines, the transport was steaming near Army transport Antilles 17 October 1917 when the latter was torpedoed and sunk. Henderson escaped attack by wrapping herself in an envelope of smoke. But torpedoes were not her only danger; and on her seventh voyage to France a serious fire broke out in a cargo hold. Destroyers Mayrant and Paul Jones transferred her troop passengers to nearby transports without loss of life, and determined firefighting crews soon brought the flames under control.
Following the armistice, Henderson made eight more transatlantic voyages bringing home members of the A.E.F. She carried more than 10,000 veterans before returning to Philadelphia 27 December 1919. She then took up duty as troop rotation ship for Marine units in the Caribbean, carrying Marines, their dependents, and supplies to bases in Cuba, Haiti, and other islands. She also participated in Marine training maneuvers in Florida before returning to Philadelphia 6 July 1920. After an extended period of repairs, the transport resumed her duties in the Caribbean. This was interrupted 21 June to 21 July as Henderson carried military and civilian leaders to observe the historic bombing tests off the Virginia Capes.
During the next few years, she also performed ceremonial duties, embarking a congressional party to observe fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean in the Spring of 1923, and carrying President Warren G. Harding on an inspection tour of Alaska. The President called at Wrangell, Juneau, and Sitka, reviewed the fleet off Seattle from the deck of Henderson, and departed 27 July 1923, only five days before his death.
During Fleet Problem #3 in early 1924, Henderson participated in a mock amphibious invasion of the Panama Canal Zone. This major training operation by the fleet helped practice assault techniques and led to improved landing craft as well. The ship also aided in the protection of American interests in the volatile Caribbean states and in the Far East.
Henderson arrived Shanghai 2 May 1927 with Marines for the garrison there, and remained in China for six months protecting American nationals in the war torn country. Here members of her crew became the originators of the "Golden Dragons." Membership in this deep sea organization is dependent upon cruising back and forth across the international date line. The troop transport was engaged in carrying replacements for the fleet and the Marines in China for the next fourteen years.
Henderson had left Pearl Harbor to transport troops to California not long before the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. On hearing of the attack, the captain feared that the Japanese flotilla would continue on to California, having eliminated any opposition from Hawaii. Henderson would be a slow, conspicuous, and solitary target in their path. He set course for Alaska to avoid being overcome, maintaining strict radio silence even in the face of repeated attempts by the Navy to contact the ship and verify its survival. Henderson then hugged the Pacific Northwest coast down to San Francisco Bay, arriving several days after it had been presumed missing in action. During the Pacific War, Henderson continued its service as a transport between California and Hawaii, making over 20 such voyages with fighting men, civilian passengers, and cargo. On her last voyage she departed Port Hueneme 18 July 1943 and arrived Noumea with 71 much-needed nurses. The transport then sailed to the Solomon Islands with SeaBees before returning to San Francisco 24 September 1943.