William H. Phillipson, Jr.
Officer

USN
USS West Virginia
1939-1941

W. H. Phillipson is included in the picture of the Junior Officer's mess in May 1940.  See the picture here.

September 29, 2001

Hello Curator USS West Virginia,
Be advised that my father, William H. Phillipson, Jr. served aboard
the USS West Virginia from September 1939 to March 1941, at which time he went to submarine school at New London. He went on to serve aboard the USS Narwhal from September, 1941 to May 1943 (he was at Pearl Harbor on the 7th) after which he held a number of submarine-related staff positions in WestPac, and later in Washington DC. He served in the Naval Reserve until 1968, retiring with the rank of Captain. A resident of Air Force Village West, he died in February, 2001 in Riverside, CA. Shortly before he died, my son, an NROTC midshipman at Renssalear Polytechnic Institute, interviewed him for an oral history of his military service.

Fred White, whose after-action report is featured on your page, was
Dad's room-mate and my sister Judy's godfather. I last saw him in
1962 or 3, when he was Captain of a destroyer tender based at Newport, RI.

My father passed along some stories of his service aboard the West (By
God!) Virginia. The one coming most readily to mind was that of a
universally loathed (even by the Captain) Executive Officer, one Boyd
Rufus Alexander, who, upon transfer (to Iceland) ordered the
construction of several sea chests for his personal use. The ship's
Chief Warrant Carpenter obliged, making up some beautifully varnished
pieces with all-brass fasteners and hardware. The only "adjustment"
made to the design was that the chests were made with short screws,
thus guaranteeing their falling apart while in transit from Pearl to
Keflavik.

Interestingly, we live in Waco, Texas, home town of Doris Miller, who
also served aboard the West Virginia, and is mentioned in Fred White's
report. Miller was portrayed in the recent film 'Pearl Harbor'. A
local theater and recreation center is named in his honor.

Best regards,

Bill Phillipson


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