MASON, Charles, VADM

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1943, Naval Air Units
Service Years
1912 - 1946
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

34 kb

Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1891
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember MASON, Charles (Navy Cross), VADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Harrisburg, PA
Last Address
Buried at St. John's Cemetery 5 North, Section 67. Naval Air Station, Pensacola.

Date of Passing
Aug 13, 1971
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

VICE ADMIRAL CHARLES PERRY MASON
AVIATOR No. 52, USN • NAVY CROSS

Navy Cross
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Charles Perry Mason, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of this profession as Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. HORNET (CV-8), during the engagement with enemy Japanese forces north of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942. Throughout the battle, while the HORNET was being subjected to violent attacks by overwhelming numbers of Japanese fighters, dive and torpedo bombers, Rear Admiral Mason directed the fighting of his ship with cool and aggressive determination. The air forces under his command succeeded in severely damaging and possibly sinking a large number of enemy warships, including an aircraft carrier, three heavy cruisers, and one light cruiser. In addition to this damage to enemy surface vessels, a total of 70 Japanese planes was destroyed, the guns of the HORNET accounting for 26 of them. Rear Admiral Mason's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 314 (May 1943)
Action Date: October 26, 1942
Service: Navy 

Rank: Rear Admiral
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Hornet (CV-8)

USS Hornet took part in Battle of Midway.  USS Hornet (Capt. C.P. Mason) was heavily damaged in the battle of Santa Cruz on 26 October 1942. The abandoned ship, ablaze from stem to stern, refused to accept her intended fate from friends. She still floated after receiving nine torpedoes and more than 400 rounds of 5-inch shellfire from destroyers USS Mustin (Lt.Cdr. W.F. Peterson) and USS Anderson (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Guthrie). Japanese destroyers hastened the inevitable by firing four 24-inch torpedoes at her blazing hull. At 0135, 27 October 1942 she finally went down. in position 08º38'S, 166º43'E.

Naval Aviation Chronology 1917-1919
JUNE 13, 1918
The first American-built aircraft to be assembled in France, an HS-1, made its first flight at Pauillac, piloted by Lieutenant C. P. Mason, USN, with Commander J. B. Patton, USN, and Lieutenant W. B. Jameson, USNRF, as passengers

Naval Aviation Chronology 1920-1929
DECEMBER 3, 1923
The establishment of a special service squadron, for the purpose of developing long-distance scouting planes, was approved by the Chief of Naval Operations. The squadron, designated VS Squadron 3, was initially based at NAS Anacostia and commanded by Lieutenant Commander C. P. Mason

Naval Chronology Of WWII, 1943  February 15, 1943
Joint air command designated Aircraft, Solomon Islands (Rear Adm. C. P. Mason) is established with headquarters at Guadalcanal.

While Mason was fighting the Pacific War, his only son was killed in an airplane crash in Nevada. Five years later, his son's young widow was killed in a car crash. The admiral and his wife were to raise their grandson C. P. Mason III. His son and grandson followed him by graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Thus, three generations of Charles Masons were academy graduates.

   
Other Comments:

Charles P. Mason, Vice Admiral, USN (1891-1971)
Naval aviator Mason led city as mayor through a major period of Pensacola’s growth

One of the earliest Naval aviators to earn his wings in Pensacola returned after his retirement to help lead the city during a major growth period.Vice Admiral Charles P. Mason began his second career when he became Pensacola’s mayor in 1947, a job he held for 10 years. At first he was a mayor selected from outside the council, but wanting to have a real say in government, Mason ran for the City Council and was elected. He resigned in 1957 because of his failing eyesight.  His sight repaired, he was again appointed mayor in 1963 and held the job for two more years.

Mason was born on January 12, 1891, in Harrisburg, PA, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912. He came to Pensacola and entered flight training in May 1916, graduating in 1917 as Naval aviator No. 52.

As was often the case when new Naval aviators graduated and left Pensacola, along with their new gold wings was a new wife. Young Mason had married Pensacolian Ralphine Fisher, the daughter of Will Fisher Jr. By this time, the United States was in World War I and Mason was ordered to Europe. When he returned to Pensacola it was to meet his new son, Charles Jr.

At the end of World War I, America placed an emphasis on the airplane, believing that future wars would be fought in the air. With Mason’s knowledge of aviation, he was given assignments to several stations, including Pensacola in 1920-21. On this tour of duty, he was superintendent of aviation training. At one time he was in charge of the first aircraft carrier, the old USS Langley. He conducted a number of experiments that led to changes in the design of carriers.

In 1940, Mason was ordered to Jacksonville, where he became the first commanding officer of the new Jacksonville Naval Air Station. He was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941. He then took over the helm of the USS Hornet, which was destroyed in the Battle of Santa Cruz. “For his heroic defense of the ship he was promoted to rear admiral,” according to one report. He received the Navy Cross for this event.

While Mason was fighting the Pacific War, his only son was killed in an airplane crash in Nevada. Five years later, his son’s young widow was killed in a car crash. The admiral and his wife were to raise their grandson C. P. Mason III. His son and grandson followed him by graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Thus, three generations of Charles Masons were academy graduates.

In April 1946, the Admiral requested retirement after 38 years of active duty. He settled first in Jacksonville and then returned to his wife’s hometown. He had always maintained his voting residence in Pensacola, so when the City Council failed to agree on a mayoral candidate, they asked Mason if he would fill the position.

It was under Mason that Oliver J. Semmes Jr., the city engineer, became city manager. Much growth took place with Mason and Semmes running the government. The gas company was bought from Gulf Power Co. and areas outside the city were annexed, including East Pensacola Heights. The city increased size from less than 10 square miles to more than 17 square miles. A new public library was built and the library moved from Old Christ Church. Plans for a municipal auditorium were completed and an old Frisco engine was given to the city and placed in the Garden Street plaza. Mason was an avid baseball fan and the baseball park, now Veterans Park, was named Admiral Mason Park.

In addition to the Navy Cross, Mason also received the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and honors from the governments of Mexico, Chile, Peru and Brazil. He was a Rotarian, a Mason and a member of the Boy Scouts of America. A number of admirals were honorary pallbearers for his Christ Episcopal Church funeral. Admiral Mason died August 13, 1971 and was buried at St. John’s Cemetery 5 North, Section 67.
   
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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Georgia Campaign (1943)
Start Year
1943
End Year
1943

Description
This operation was fought during the Pacific war on this group of islands situated in the central Solomons. US forces invaded them as part of an American offensive (CARTWHEEL) to isolate and neutralize Rabaul, the main Japanese base in their South-East Area.

On 20 June 1943 a Raider battalion (, 5(f)) landed at Segi Point on the main island, New Georgia, and during the next two weeks there were other landings by US Marines and 43rd US Division on Rendova and Vangunu islands, and on western New Georgia, to seize a Japanese airstrip at Munda point. Despite the US Navy's intervention, which resulted in the battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara, 4,000 reinforcements were successfully dispatched to the commander of the 10,500-strong Japanese garrison, Maj-General Sasaki Noboru. Most reinforced Munda, which became the focus of Japanese resistance, and their night infiltration tactics unnerved the inexperienced US troops. Non-battle casualties, caused by exhaustion and ‘war neuroses’, increased alarmingly, and when the commander of 14th Corps, Maj-General Oscar Griswold, arrived on 11 July he reported the division was ‘about to fold up’. The 37th US Division was brought in, Griswold replaced the worst affected units, and he then launched a corps attack on 25 July. Fierce fighting followed but by 1August the Japanese, outnumbered and outgunned, had withdrawn inland. This time US Navy destroyers prevented more reinforcements reaching them when, on the night of 6/7August, they sank three Japanese transports (battle of Vella Gulf).

Munda now became the base of Marine Corps squadrons which supported landings on Vella Lavella on 15 August. These bypassed and isolated Sasaki's garrison now gathering on Kolombangara after further US reinforcements, elements of 25th US Division, had failed to destroy them on New Georgia. On 15 September Sasaki was ordered to withdraw. In a brilliantly organized evacuation 9,400 men out of the 12,500 on Kolombangara were rescued by landing craft, and the following month those on Vella Lavella were also evacuated.

The campaign proved costly for the Americans who had 1,094 killed and 3,873 wounded with thousands more becoming non-battle casualties. Excluding the fighting on Vella Lavella, 2,483 Japanese bodies were counted. Planned as a one-division operation, the Japanese garrison's ‘skill, tenacity, and valor’—to quote the campaign's official US historian—eventually made it one where elements of four had to be used. ‘The obstinate General Sasaki,’ the same historian concludes, ‘deserved his country's gratitude for his gallant and able conduct.’
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1943
To Year
1943
 
Last Updated:
Nov 1, 2014
   
Personal Memories

Memories
Naval Chronology Of WWII, 1943 February 15, 1943
Joint air command designated Aircraft, Solomon Islands (Rear Adm. C. P. Mason) is established with headquarters at Guadalcanal.

   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  93 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Brosnan, Ryan
  • Gardner, George, PO1, (1940-1946)
  • Garrett, Earl, PO2, (1941-1953)
  • Ludemann, Herbert, PO2, (1942-1946)
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