Arthur Vincent was the son of Dr George William Ely and Florence Isabella Renz who married on 27 July 1903. Arthur's siblings were Louise A., Ruth A., and George Edmund Ely. Dr George Ely enlisted in the Regular Army in Pittsburgh, PA on 01 Mar 1900. He was the Acting Assistant Surgeon, US Army, during the Filipino-American War and was in-country Philippines for over a year. He was discharged in Pittsburgh, PA 17 July 1901.
Arthur Vincent Ely married Ann Elizabeth Galvin, the daughter of Dr. Augustus Hughes and Mary Ellen (Teevan) Galvin, 28 May 1938 in St Charles' Church, North Hollywood, CA. She was born in Salem, MA and graduated from the University of California. She began her career teaching physical education at Marymount College from 1933 until 1938 when she married Lt. Arthur V. Ely. After his death at the Battle of Midway in 1942, she returned to teaching and the rearing of her two small daughters Patricia Ann and Jeannette Louise. She taught grammar school until her retirement in 1972.
Arthur and Ann were the parents of two children - Patricia Ann, who was born in Pensacola, FL on 02 Mar 1939 and died in Portland, OR on 25 Jan 2007 and Jeanette Louise Ely born in North Hollywood, CA on 22 Nov 1940. Ann remained a widow for the rest of her life. She died in Clackamas County, OR on 18 April 1977 at the age of 66 yrs.
Arthur was born in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Peabody high school in May 1930. He attended Carnegie Tech for a year during which he took the Naval Academy entrance exam and passed. He received a US Naval Academy appointment from Pennsylvania. He entered the Naval Academy on 09 July 1931. His classmates called him "Brother Eli," "Doc," and "Art." Comments by some of his classmates written about "Doc" in the Lucky Bag year book of 1935: "Camera!" "Action!" "No, not stiff-- move!" Photography isn't all Doc does, but you would never guess from his clear snaps that his earlier days were spent in the Smoky City. Short, dark, smiling and tempered like a piece of good steel. Not a reputed snake, but certain women wilt beneath his slow but progressive action. Maybe that's from his gift of gab for he is certainly the proverbial breeze shooter. But not always, for he couldn't be and still contribute class support the way he has in cross country, gym and swimming.
There are a few major motives back of Doc's actions -- the Navy, the O.A.O., and his desire for success, all of which we hope may be his. Extracurricular activities: Gym Team 4, Class Gym team 3, 2, Cross Country, 2, Glee Club 2. Trident Society, 1.
Doc graduated from the Naval Academy on 06 Jun 1935 with a commission as an Ensign, USN. He also held a special qualification as a German language interpreter. For his required sea duty tour after graduation, Doc reported on board the heavy cruiser, USS Houston (CA-30) on 28 Jun 1935. Nearly three years later in May 1938 Ens. Ely detached from Houston and transferred to the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Pensacola, FL. Shortly after arriving in Pensacola, Ens. Ely was promoted to Lt (jg) on 06 Jun 1938. He began flight training under instruction on 27 Jun 1938. He received his designation as a naval aviator (heavier-than-air) about February 1939 (the 01 July 1939 Officers' Registry documents his status as a naval aviator.) however, he continued advanced training for those pilots with orders to squadrons assigned to aircraft carriers. Ltjg Ely was detached from NAS Pensacola and transferred to Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6) on 27 July 1939. Ltjg Ely was stationed in San Diego, CA at the time of the 1940 US Federal census. Ltjg Ely was promoted to Lieutenant on 01 Jan 1942. Later that year Lt Ely became executive officer of VT-6.
The Enterprise was commissioned on 12 May 1938. VT-6 was commissioned on 01 July 1938. During 1939, Enterprise and her embarked squadrons conducted shake down cruises and workup exercises at various times. While the ship was inport the squadrons were temporarily based ashore at their assigned airfields. In Sep 1939, Enterprise became part of the Hawaiian Detachment of the U.S. Fleet whose homeport was Pearl Harbor. In Jan 1940 Enterprise was engaged in exercises in Hawaiian waters. In early Feb, she steamed for Puget Sound Navy Shipyard for an overhaul after making a brief port call in San Diego. In late May, Enterprise, her overhaul completed, returned to San Diego for about a month. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 2 July 1940. Enterprise conducted exercises from August to early Nov in the Hawaiian area. Then on 09 Nov she steamed to San Diego until 2 Dec when she got underway for the Puget Sound Navy Shipyard in Bremerton, WA.
Enterprise returned to Pearl Harbor on 21 Jan 1941. During 1941 Enterprise made 13 round trips between Hawaii and San Diego from April - Nov conducting exercise cycles and squadron work-ups. During those months she also shuttled Army Air Force P-39s and P-40s, as well as, Navy aircraft from US West Coast ports to Pearl Harbor and beyond. On 28 Nov 1941, Enterprise, now operating in a war-time steaming condition, left San Diego with a cargo of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211) aircraft and pilots destined for Wake Island. The Marine pilots and their planes flew from Enterprise to Wake Island on 02 Dec 1941. Enterprise was scheduled to arrive back in Pearl Harbor on 06 Dec, but was delayed due to inclement weather. Fortunately, she wasn't inport on the morning of 07 Dec, but arrived later that evening.
In the first five months of 1942, Enterprise and her Air Group participated in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and Wake Island operations in Feb 1942. According to a Report After Battle narrative submitted by VT-6 on 2 Feb 1942, Lt Ely, flying aircraft 6-T-4, along with eight other torpedo bombers, each carrying 3-500 lb bombs, launched at 0510 on 01 Feb 1942 to attack combatant ships, and shore facilities on Kwajalein Island by horizontal bombing profiles.
After returning to Enterprise, the nine aircraft of VT-6 launched again about 0935 to attack the air field and surface ships at Wotje Island and Atoll. During both attacks VT-6 bombers were met with intense anti-aircraft fire from numerous locations.Lt Ely originally received a CINCPAC Letter of Commendation for his actions on 01 Feb 1942. However, in Dec 1946 SECNAV approved an upgrade of the LOC to the Navy Air Medal for meritorious achievement during these attacks. The LOC and ribbon were returned to the Navy.
In March Enterprise attacked Marcus Island and in April she supported the Doolittle raid. In early May, Enterprise and Hornet were directed to the South Pacific to assist aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) engaged in the battle of the Coral Sea. The battle was over before they could arrive on-scene.
On 4 March, Enterprise’s Air Group attacked enemy installations on the Marcus Islands; and on 18 April, she supported the Doolittle raid. In early May, Enterprise and the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) were dispatched to the South Pacific to assist the aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) who were engaged in the battle of the Coral Sea. However, before the ships arrived on-scene the battle of the Coral Sea was over. After participating in additional operations in the Central Pacific, Enterprise returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 May and began intensive preparations to meet an expected Japanese thrust at Midway Island. Enterprise got underway from Pearl Harbor on 28 May 1942, and with USS Hornet (CV-8), steamed toward a point Northeast of Midway called "Point Luck." USS Yorktown (CV-5) followed a short time later.
Early on the morning of 4 Jun 1942, pilot Lt Arthur Vincent Ely, Executive Officer of VT-6, and his radioman-gunner RM3 Arthur R. Lindgren launched their torpedo plane from Enterprise along with other aircraft of VT-6 and Air Wing Six to attack the Japanese Striking Force that was near Midway. Separated from their covering fighter protection, VT-6, comprised of 14 torpedo planes, pressed their attack even though overwhelmed by superior numbers of Japanese fighter aircraft. One by one the planes of VT-6 were shot down. Of the **14 planes only 4 returned to Enterprise. Lt Ely and Petty Officer Lindgren did not return.
According to the Enterprise after action report for the Battle of Midway dated 8 Jun 1942 Lt Arthur Vincent Ely, VT-6 Executive Officer, and RM3 Lindgren radioman/gunner were reported as personnel losses during battle. They were officially considered missing-in-action 04 Jun 1942 and presumed dead on 5 Jun 1943. Their remains were unrecoverable.
Lt Ely was awarded (posthumously) the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze star and the World War Two Victory Medal.
Of the **14 Torpedo Bombers from VT-6 that attacked the Japanese Striking Force on 4 Jan 1942 only four returned to Enterprise. Machinist Albert Walter Winchell (NAP), and his gunner, Aviation Radioman 3rd Class Douglas M. Cossitt, made a water landing before sighting Enterprise. They survived 17 days on the open seas in a rubber raft before being rescued by a Patrol Squadron 24 PBY on 21 Jun 1942, some 360 miles northward of Midway. In all, five VT-6 crews survived the morning attack.
Those pilots and crew of VT-6 that were killed in action on 04 June 1942 included:
1) Lcdr Eugene Elbert Lindsey (CO VT-6) and his gunner, ARMC Charles Tilden Grenat
2) Lt Arthur Vincent Ely (VT-6 XO) and his gunner, RM3 Arthur Richard Lindgren
3) Lt Paul James Riley and his gunner, ARM2 Edwin John Mushinski
4) Ltjg John Thomas Eversole and his gunner, RM2 John Udell Lane
5) Ltjg Randolph Mitchell Holder and his gunner, ARM3 Gregory Joseph Durawa
6) Ltjg Severin Louis Rombach and his gunner, ARM2 Wilburn Forrest Glenn
7) Ltjg Lloyd Thomas and his gunner, ARM2 Harold Francis Littlefield
8) Ensign John Wiley Brock and his gunner, ARM3 John Melville Blundell
9) Ensign Flourenoy Glenn Hodges and his gunner, RM2 John Hail Bates
Navy Cross Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Arthur Vincent Ely, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron SIX, attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Participating in a vigorous and intensive assault against the Japanese invasion fleet, Lieutenant Ely pressed home his attack with relentless determination in the face of a terrific barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The unprecedented conditions under which his squadron launched its offensive were so exceptional that it is highly improbably the occasion may ever recur where other pilots of the service will be called upon to demonstrate an equal degree of gallantry and fortitude. His extreme disregard of personal safety contributed materially to the success of our forces and his loyal conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)
USS Enterprise Presidential Unit Citation: It reads;
For consistently outstanding performance and distinguished achievement during repeated action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific war area, 7 December 1941, to 15 November 1942. Participating in nearly every major carrier engagement in the first year of the war, the Enterprise and her air group, exclusive of far-flung destruction of hostile shore installations throughout the battle area, did sink or damage on her own a total of 35 Japanese vessels and shot down a total of 185 Japanese aircraft. Her aggressive spirit and superb combat efficiency are fitting tribute to the officers and men who so gallantly established her as an ahead bulwark in the defense of the American nation.
Actions of the Enterprise mentioned in the citation include the Gilbert and Marshalls of 01 Feb 1942; Wake Island raid, 24 Feb 1942; Marcus Island raid, 04 Mar 1942; Battle of Midway, 4-6 Jun 1942; Occupation of Guadalcanal, 7-8 Aug 1942; Battle of Stewart Islands, 24 Aug 1942; Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, 26 Oct 1942; and Battle of Solomon Islands, 14-15 Nov 1942.
His family also received a commemoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: In grateful memory of Arthur Vincent Ely, who died in the service of his country, SEA, Pacific Area, ATTACHED U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, 5 JUNE 1943 (Presumed)*. He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.
(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt,
President of the United States of America
Task Force 16 Citation Recognizing its contribution to the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the unique and daring accomplishments achieved early in the war by Task Force 16. Sailing westward under sealed orders in April 1942, only four months after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, Task Force 16, carrying sixteen Army B-25 bombers, proceeded into history. Facing adverse weather and under constant threat of discovery before bombers could be launched to strike the Japanese homeland, the crews of the ships and LTC Doolittle's bombers persevered. On 18 April 1942 at 14:45, perseverance produced success as radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the success of the raids. These raids were an enormous boost to the morale of the American people in those early and dark days of the war and a harbinger of the future for the Japanese High Command that had so foolishly awakened "The Sleeping Giant." These exploits, which so inspired the service men and women and the nation live on today and are remembered when the necessity of success against all odds is required.
(Signed) John H.Dalton
Secretary of the Navy
15 May 1995
Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:
None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST 1650.1H of Aug 22, 2006, Chapter 2, Section 3, p2-34). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded to personnel for Aerial Combat, . . . “ The CR was established in 1969 and made retroactive to 07 Dec 1941.
USS Ely (DE-309) was named in his honor. Launched on 10 April 1944 at Mare Island, CA., but cancelled prior to completion. Sponsored by his widow, Mrs Ann G. Ely of North Hollywood, CA. Miss Louise W. Ely of Pittsburgh, PA, served as matron of honor at the launching.
The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania June 21, 1942· Page 5
Naval Aviator Lost in the Pacific
LIEUT. Arthur V Ely - War clipped his wings.
Another Pittsburgh Naval aviator was reported missing in the Pacific yesterday, possibly at the Battle of Midway although there was no confirmation. The flier, Lieutenant Arthur V. Ely, 30, had called his wife from Pearl Harbor on May 28 to say he was well. He may have been at Midway, his family believes since that is the only Pacific action announced since his call. Lieutenant Ely, the son of Dr. and Mrs. George W. Ely. 5245 Center Ave., was graduated from Annapolis in 1935, took up flying three years ago, and was at Pearl Harbor when the Japs struck.
Although his letters and messages since then have been vague, he apparently saw considerable action since then and probably bagged several Jap planes, his family here believes. His wife and two children live at Coronado, Cal. The lieutenant was closely associated with two other Pittsburgh Annapolis graduates reported killed and missing since the war.
His classmate, Lieutenant G. Paul Bright, of Forest Hills, was killed in action at Guam the first day of the war. A friend of theirs and Wilkinsburg high school classmate of Lieutenant Bright's was Lieutenant Richard S. Bull Jr. reported missing from the aircraft carrier Lexington. Lieutenant Bull was graduated from Annapolis in 1936, one year behind the other two. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Bull, 571 Coal St., Wilkinsburg, have been visiting Lexington survivors returning to their homes in the district but so far have found none who knew their son.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Wednesday, November 11, 1942. p. 12
Gets Navy Cross
Arthur G. Ely Missing since the Battle of Midway, when his torpedo plane squadron attacked the Japs under what the Navy described as "unprecedented conditions of gallantry and fortitude," Lieutenant Arthur V. Ely, former Pittsburgher, yesterday was awarded the Navy Cross.
Missing Navy Pilot Cited Pittsburgher Sent Medal to Family. Apparently lost in action with his torpedo squadron during the Battle of Midway, Lieutenant Arthur V. Ely, 30, son of Dr. G.W. Ely of 5245 Center avenue, was awarded the Navy Cross yesterday for "extraordinary heroism" in that battle. The award was sent to the Lieutenant's wife, who lives with their two daughters, Patricia Ann, 3, and Jeanette Louise, 2, in North Hollywood, Cal. Similar awards went to eight other member's of Ely's torpedo plane squadron, all of whom were listed as "missing." Young Ely also saw action at Pearl Harbor when the Japs attacked last December 7, and took part in the battle of the Coral Sea and in bombings of the Japs who took Wake Island, his family said last night. A native of Pittsburgh, he attended Holy Rosary school and was graduated from ? High School. He entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis after attending Carnegie Tech for a year, and graduated in 1935. He began flying in 1938, which was the date of his last visit home. Dr. Ely, the lieutenant's father, served with the army medical corps in the Philippines.
[bio compiled by G47]
Military Hall of Honor Honoree ID: 91663
Ann Elizabeth Galvin Ely
1911–1977 (m. 1938)