MacLELLAN, Harold E., LCDR

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1931-1933, USS Akron (ZRS-4)
Service Years
1917 - 1933
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

43 kb

Home State
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember MacLELLAN, Harold E., LCDR.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Westerly, Rhode Island
Last Address
DATE OF DEATH: 04/04/1933

Date of Passing
Apr 04, 1933
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
In the Line of Duty
  1933, In the Line of Duty [Verified]

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Harold E. MacLellan
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy

Lieutenant Commander H. E. MacLellan, First Akron Victim Picked Up

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey, April 4, 1933 -- The body of Lieutenant Commander H. E. MacLellan, navigator and gunnery officer of the Akron was picked up tonight by Coast Guard cutter 213 about thirty miles off Atlantic City, and taken to the Coast Guard Base at Cape May, New Jersey.  It was the first body recovered.

Commander MacLellan, who would have been 38 years old in July, lived in Westerly, Rhode Island, and was graduated from the Naval Academy in the Class of 1917.  He was unmarried.

Instructions that all bodies recovered be sent to the Atlantic City Hospital for identification and to await disposition were issued by Lieutenant Commander W. W. Davies, senior medical officer at Lakehurst, and in conformity with these instructions, Commander MacLellan body was sent to the hospital later in the night.

Members of the crew of the cutter said they found considerable wreckage from the airship floating at the spot where the body was discovered. 

Note, MacLellan is sometime misspelled and listed as McClellan.
Other Comments:

Only one of the officers of the Akron survived, Lt. Cdr. Herbert V. Wiley, Executive Officer.
Rear Admiral William A. Moffett was also on board and killed.

Cdr. Frank C. McCord, Commanding
Lt. Cdr. Herbert V. Wiley, Executive Officer
Lt. Cdr. Harold E. MacLellan
Lt. George Calnan
Lt. Herbert M. Wescoat
Lt. Richard F. Cross, Jr.
Lt. (jg) Hammond J. Dugan
Lt. (jg) Charles F. Miller
Lt. (jg) Morgan Redfield
Lt. (jg) Wilfred Bushnell
Lt. (jg) Cyrus Clendening
Chief Machinist George C. Walsh

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  USS Akron
Not Specified

Last Updated:
Sep 7, 2010

USS Akron, first of a class of two 6,500,000 cubic foot rigid airships, was built at Akron, Ohio. Commissioned in late October 1931, she spent virtually all of her short career on technical and operational development tasks, exploring the potential of the rigid airship as an Naval weapons system. During the remainder of 1931 and the early part of 1932, Akron made flights around the eastern United States and over the western Atlantic, including one trial of her capabilities as a scouting unit of the fleet. Damaged in a ground-handling accident at Lakehurst in late February 1932, she was again ready for flight two months later and began tests of her ability to operate an embarked unit of airplanes. These would greatly extend her reconnaissance reach and enhance her defenses against hostile air attack.

During May and June 1932, Akron was based on the West Coast, performing a successful search mission over the Pacific as part of a fleet exercise. However, a fatal accident early in this deployment, in which two Sailors lost their lives, provided further proof that handling large airships at their ground bases was an inherently risky proposition. Another accident, while leaving the hangar at Lakehurst in August, reinforced this conclusion.

Akron flew extensively during last half of 1932, further refining her airplane support and search capabilities. In January and March 1933 she twice went south, visiting Florida, Cuba and Panama to explore the base sites in the U.S. fleet's southern operating zone. While beginning a trip to the New England area, Akron encountered a violent storm over the New Jersey coast and, shortly after midnight on 4 April 1933, crashed tail-first into the sea. Only three of the seventy-six men on board survived this tragic accident. During the search for other possible survivors, the Navy non-rigid airship J-3 also crashed, killing two more men.

Soon after Akron's loss, Navy divers examined her wreckage, which was located about a hundred feet below the ocean surface east of Atlantic City, N.J. More recently, in June 2002, the research submarine NR-1 revisited the airship's crash site, where much of her collapsed framework remains visible on the Continental Shelf, nearly seventy years after the great dirigible went down.

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