Semmes, Raphael, IV, CAPT

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1965-1967, 131X, NAF El Centro
Service Years
1938 - 1967
Captain
Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Alabama
Alabama
Year of Birth
1916
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Semmes, Raphael, IV, CAPT USN(Ret).
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Montgomery, AL
Last Address
El Centro, CA

Date of Passing
Jan 29, 1981
 
Location of Interment
Evergreen Cemetery - El Centro, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
B 5 64

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 20


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
WW II Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Raphael Semmes, IV, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on 18 January 1916, son of Raphael and Louise (Thornton) Semmes. He attended Huntsville (Alabama) High School and the Marion (Alabama) Institute, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1934. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 2 June 1938, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain, to date from 1 July 1957.

On board USS St Louis, he was present during the Japanese Attack on the Naval Base, at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941 and subsequently participated in the raids on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in February 1942 and in the cruiser bombardment of the Aleutian Islands in August of that year.

As pilot of a Fighter Plane in Composite Squadron NINETY-EIGHT...and as Flight Leader of the strike groups from three carriers during attacks on enemy installations and shipping in the Chosen Archipelago, China, on 28 July and 6 August 1945...' He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation further states in part: 'Skillfully avoiding attacks on friendly Chinese shipping, (he) directed strikes on Ting Hai Airfield and Harbor Shipping in the Chosen Area, despite adverse weather conditions and intense antiaircraft fire. By his leadership and courage, he contributed materially to the success of both missions...'

He was also awarded the Air Medal and a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal for completing ten missions from 7 January to 7 August 1945 and is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the USS Lunga Point.

In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Gold Star and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Captain Semmes has the American Defense Service Medal with star; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War Two Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; and National Defense Service Medal.

Captain Semmes retired from the US Navy in July 1967. He passed away in El Centro, California 29 January 1981.

   
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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
Start Year
1945
End Year
1945

Description
The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire. The American invasion had the goal of capturing the entire island, including its three airfields (including South Field and Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.

After the heavy losses incurred in the battle, the strategic value of the island became controversial. It was useless to the U.S. Army as a staging base and useless to the U.S. Navy as a fleet base. However, Navy SEABEES rebuilt the landing strips, which were used as emergency landing strips for USAAF B-29s. 

The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with a dense network of bunkers, hidden artillery positions, and 18 km (11 mi) of underground tunnels. The Americans on the ground were supported by extensive naval artillery and complete air supremacy over Iwo Jima from the beginning of the battle by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators.

Iwo Jima was the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the Japanese combat deaths were thrice those of the Americans throughout the battle. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. The majority of the remainder were killed in action, although it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards, eventually succumbing to their injuries or surrendering weeks later.

Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the Japanese defeat was assured from the start. Overwhelming American superiority in arms and numbers as well as complete control of air power — coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement — permitted no plausible circumstance in which the Americans could have lost the battle.

The battle was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag on top of the 166 m (545 ft) Mount Suribachi by five U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy battlefield Hospital Corpsman. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, both of which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. Rosenthal's photograph promptly became an indelible icon — of that battle, of that war in the Pacific, and of the Marine Corps itself — and has been widely reproduced.
 
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1945
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
Mar 29, 2019
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

VF-46 Men-O-War

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95)

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  337 Also There at This Battle:
  • Alseike, Leslie, PO3, (1944-1946)
  • Arenberg, Julius (Ted), LTJG, (1943-1946)
  • Bagby, Henry Lawton, CAPT, (1941-1970)
  • Baker, Cecil, Cox, (1941-1946)
  • Barr, John Andrew, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Baylor, Warner, LCDR, (1942-1963)
  • Bergin, Patrick
  • Block, Charles John, CPO, (1938-1945)
  • Brewster, Donald, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945)
  • Crookshank, Irvin, PO2, (1942-1946)
  • Crowell, Marshall Medford, F1c, (1943-1945)
  • Daiute, Carroll Paul, PO1, (1942-1945)
  • Dawson, William L., PO2, (1942-1945)
  • DeGeus, Robert, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Deschenes, Roland Clarence, S1c, (1944-1946)
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