Records (1925-1968) of U. S. Naval Academy Class of 1909 and 1910, including correspondence, class bulletins, class directories, day book, programs, reports, and clippings.
The United States Naval Academy Class of 1909 matriculated into military service just as the United States was entering the global consciousness as a world power. Early experiments with submarine and aircraft development unfortunately led to the deaths of several members of the cohort, but shaped the world in which their brethren would become commanders. The Class of 1909 had veterans of military campaigns in China, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua as well as the First World War, Second World War, and Korean War, and numerous members of the class were honored for their service both in peacetime and conflict. Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, then an ensign, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his "eminent and conspicuous" conduct in leading an amphibious assault of Veracruz, Mexico in 1914, while Admiral Jesse Oldendorf received the Navy Cross for his defeat of the Japanese Southern Fleet in the Second World War Battle of Surigao Strait. The most notable and poignant honor to fall on the Class of 1909 was the posthumous awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh "for devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and the complete disregard of his own life" while serving on board the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Captain Van Valkenburgh refused to retire to a safer area during the attack, exposing himself to enemy fire and going down with the ship when it was capsized by a massive explosion. After their retirements from active duty, the members of the Class of 1909 remained in frequent contact with each other through their class secretary, Rear Admiral Harold C. Train. Rear Admiral Train organized monthly class luncheons at the Naval Academy and oversaw the planning of class reunions in Annapolis and San Diego every fifth year from 1920 until his death in 1968. Rear Admiral Frank Alfred Braisted, the Class president, took over Rear Admiral Train's duties and maintained contact with the last surviving members of the Class of 1909 until his passing in 1981.
This collection contains correspondence between the members of the Class of 1909 and class officers Rear Admiral Harold Train and Rear Admiral Frank Braisted. The correspondence consists of letters regarding fundraising for memorials to class members, updates on job titles and residences, and biographical data for the annual class bulletins. This information is followed by financial accounts, ledgers, and miscellaneous documents, newspaper clippings, and photos related to the Class of 1909 as well as three class bulletins for the Class of 1910.
Gift of Dr. William R. Braisted
Processed by F. Bunting; A. Merriman, October 1999; further processing done by Joel Cook, March 2020.
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.