Semmes, Raphael, IV, CAPT

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Last Rank
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

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
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
WWII Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, WWII 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.

Other Comments:
Not Specified
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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyNavy Enlisted Scientific Education Program (NESEP)USS South Dakota (BB-57)Naval Reserve Forces Command
Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)VP-21 BlackjacksVX-1 PioneersUSS Intrepid (CVA-11)
Surface Warfare Development Group (SWDG)Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)Commander Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic (COMFITAEWWINGLANT), COMNAVAIRLANTNAF El Centro
  1938-1939, USS Louisville (CA-28)
  1938-1939, USS Somers (DD-381)
  1940-1941, Naval Flight Training
  1941-1942, USS St Louis (CL-49)
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Alabama (BB-60)
  1943-1944, 131X, USS South Dakota (BB-57)
  1944-1945, 131X, USS Lunga Point (CVE-94)
  1945-1946, 131X, Commander Atlantic Reserve Fleet (COMLANTRESFLT)
  1948-1949, 131X, Commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, Commander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)
  1949-1951, 131X, VP-21 Blackjacks
  1951-1953, 131X, Bureau of Aeronautics
  1953-1955, 131X, VX-1 Pioneers
  1953-1957, 131X, USS Intrepid (CVA-11)
  1957-1958, 131X, Surface Warfare Development Group (SWDG)
  1958-1960, 131X, Commander Middle Eastern Force (COMMIDEASTFOR)
  1960-1962, 131X, Naval Administrative Unit Lake Mead Base, Las Vegas, NV
  1962-1964, 131X, Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)
  1964-1965, 131X, Commander Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic (COMFITAEWWINGLANT), COMNAVAIRLANT
  1965-1967, 131X, NAF El Centro
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Bombardment - Marshall and Gilbert Islands
  1942-1942 Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)/Japanese Occupation of Attu and Kiska
  1942-1942 Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)/Defense of Adak
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation/Battle of Tarawa
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Leyte Gulf
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
  1945-1945 US Occupation of Japan
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1934-1938, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jun 02, 1938, Commissioned as Ensign
  Feb 13, 1941, Designated Naval Aviator
  Jun 02, 1941, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Jun 15, 1942, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Mar 01, 1944, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Nov 15, 1945, Promoted to Commander
  Jul 01, 1957, Promoted to Captain
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