Dewitt M. Patterson
Ensign

USN
USS West Virginia
1939-1941

Dewitt Mcd. Patterson, began duty in USS West Virginia in 1939 in communications (Ship and Flag) including Fleet Problem 20, then 5 inch AA gunfire control. In 1941, ENS J. Burke and Patterson went to the USS North Carolina building in Brooklyn. She supported landings at Tulagi and Guadalcanal and shot down a half dozen aircraft in the battle of Eastern Solomons before being torpedoed.
Off Samar, in R. W Suesens (DE-342), they were chased by Japanese cruisers; 11 shipmates were wounded by pieces of a Hamp aircraft at Lingayen Gulf. At Okinawa, first command, USS Stafford evaded an aerial torpedo, air raids, artillery fire and five typhoons. Successively commanded Escort Div. 69, E.B. Hall, Gunnels, Hopping and Laning.

He trained reservists in Fresno, transported passengers, pets and patients to and from the Orient for MSTS before re-commissioning Melvin (DD-680). He served in JCS and OPNAV. In a civilian ship design team worked on USS Nimitz, modernization of carriers, Wasp and Saratoga, and Virginia class cruisers before joining USCG HQ Naval Engineering Staff.

He has three daughters and a son (nuclear engineer, commissioning crew of USS Texas CGN-39). After the death of wife Nancy (Schetky) he married West Virginia messmate, Gene Lamiman's, widow, Charlotte.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing


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