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eMedals-United States. A Silver Star Group to Commander Walling, USN, KIA Aboard the Submarine USS Snook

Item: M0014-27

United States. A Silver Star Group to Commander Walling, USN, KIA Aboard the Submarine USS Snook

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United States. A Silver Star Group to Commander Walling, USN, KIA Aboard the Submarine USS Snook

Silver Star (two-piece construction, silver star placed upon a silver gilt star-shaped base, measuring 35.5 mm (w) x 34 mm (h), original ribbon with brooch pinback); Purple Heart (two-piece construction, in bronze gilt with purple, red, white and green enamels, measuring 34.8 mm (w) x 43 mm (h), original ribbon with brooch pinback); China Service Medal (in bronze, measuring 33.2 mm in diameter, original ribbon with brooch pinback); American Defense Service Medal, 1 Clasp - FLEET (in bronze, measuring 32 mm in diameter, original ribbon with brooch pinback); American Campaign Medal (in bronze, measuring 31.7 mm in diameter, original ribbon with brooch pinback); Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (in bronze, measuring 32.3 mm in diameter, two bronze stars on its original ribbon with brooch pinback); World War II Victory Medal (in bronze, measuring 36.2 mm in diameter, original ribbon with brooch pinback); and Navy Expert Rifleman Medal (in bronze, measuring 33 mm (w) x 40.5 mm (h), original ribbon with brooch pinback). Light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia with three stars (in sterling silver, maker marked with the Hilborn & Hamburg insignia on the reverse, measuring 57.5 mm (w) x 20 mm (h), horizontal pinback, the badge worn by Navy personnel who had completed war patrols during the Second World War); his Commendation Letter for the Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia (text is typewritten, signed in blue ink by C.A. Lockwood, Jr., Vice Admiral, United States Navy, on a off-white paper stock, measuring 203 mm (w) x 267 mm (h)); three Embroidered Commemorative Patches ("Fish" in red, white and black embroidery, measuring 150 mm (w) x 104 mm (h); "U.S.S. Flying Fish" in red, white, yellow, blue and black embroidery, measuring 150 mm (w) x 140 mm (h); "U.S.S. Snook" in red, white, yellow, blue, brown and black embroidery, measuring 152 mm (w) x 102 mm (h)); a Book Entitled "Final Dive - The Gallant and Tragic Career of the WWII Submarine, USS Snook" by Rick Cline (published by R.A. Cline Publishing of Riverside, California in May 2001, 240 pages printed in black ink, plus cover, measuring 136 mm (w) x 212 mm (l) x 15 mm (h)); along with assorted research papers.
 
Footnote: John Franklin Walling was born on February 2, 1912 in Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, his hometown listed as Nantucket, Massachusetts. He was appointed a Midshipman from the 16th Massachusetts District and reported to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland on June 15, 1931, at the age of 19. John Walling graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1935 on June 6, 1935 and was commissioned as an Ensign, accepting the appointment and executed the oath of office. He reported to the New Orleans-class cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) for duty on June 28, 1935 and detached on June 1, 1937, after almost two years' service. He was ordered to the Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut for duty under instruction on April 10, 1937, reporting on June 30th and detached on December 3, 1937. Walling was ordered to Submarine Squadron Five for assignment to duty in submarines and assigned to USS S-37 on November 12, 1937, reporting on February 1, 1938. After thirty-one months service, he was detached on August 30, 1941. While with Submarine Squadron Five, on August 29, 1938, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Junior Grade), ad interim, from June 6, 1938, accepting the appointment and executed the oath of office on October 10th. On February 1, 1939, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Junior Grade), regular, from June 6, 1938 and qualified in submarines on November 20th. The following year, Walling qualified for command of submarines on August 21, 1940. He was ordered to the Receiving Ship at San Francisco, California for duty on August 28, 1941, reporting on September 2nd and after one months' service, he was detached on October 2nd. He was then ordered to the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire for duty in connection with the fitting out of USS Flying Fish (SS-229) and duty on board when commissioned on September 22, 1941, reporting on October 20th and was in commission on December 10th. The USS Flying Fish is credited with sinking fifteen vessels and 58,306 tons during the war. Walling received a Commendation on October 19, 1942, for his efforts while Engineering Officer of the USS Flying Fish: "The U.S.S. Flying Fish sank a 450 ton patrol vessel and seriously damaged a 29,300 ton enemy battleship, during the second patrol conducted by that submarine in enemy waters.
 
This thirty-four day war patrol was made in an area adjacent to a strongly fortified, major enemy island base in the Pacific area, where antisubmarine measures were persistent and effective. After each submarine attack, aggressively, courageously and effectively consummated by the commanding officer, enemy depth charge and bombing attacks were made on the submarine. Although the Flying Fish was damaged by these attacks, the commanding officer dauntlessly patrolled his station until forced to effect jury repairs and return to a friendly base. As the Engineering Officer of the U.S.S. Flying Fish, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the success of this mission. The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, is pleased to commend you on your splendid performance of duty." On December 24, 1941, he was appointed as a Lieutenant for temporary service, to rank from October 22nd, accepting the appointment and executed the oath of office on December 31st. On March 6, 1942, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Regular) from October 1, 1941 and on September 18, 1942, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Regular) from September 14, 1941 (change in the date of rank). Walling would earn a Silver Star for the first attack on a Japanese Kongo class battleship on August 28, 1942, his Commendation dated January 12, 1943 and stating: "On the third war patrol conducted by the U.S.S. Flying Fish, she attacked and sank two Japanese destroyers of 1368 tons each, both of these attacks being aggressively, courageously, and effectively conducted. As Executive Officer of the U.S.S. Flying Fish, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the success of this mission. The Commander Task Force Forty-two is pleased to commend you on you splendid performance of duty." His Silver Star was awarded on January 30, 1943, his citation stating: "The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant John Franklin Walling (NSN: 0-75090), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in the line of his profession as Diving Officer of the U.S.S. Flying Fish (SS-229), during successful attacks against one enemy Kongo Class battleship and one enemy patrol vessel. One attack against a patrol vessel was followed by a severe enemy counter-attack during which the Flying Fish was severely damaged. With a badly leaking after trim tank, with an up angle of eighteen degrees and with depth charges exploding very close aboard, it was only by his skill and calm courage that proper depth was maintained and the boat was capable of returning to port. His courage and skill were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." He was ordered to Submarine Squadron Eight for duty in connection with relief crews and on board a submarine of that squadron, on December 30, 1942, posted to command school boats. A month later, he was ordered to the Twelfth Naval District for temporary duty on January 27, 1943 and was detached on March 6, 1943. Walling was ordered to duty in command of USS S-48 on March 4, 1943, reporting on April 5th and was detached on May 2, 1944. He was appointed Lieutenant Commander, for temporary service, effective May 1, 1943 and ordered to duty in command of USS Marlin (SST-2) on April 28, 1944. Ten months later, he was appointed Commander for temporary service, effective March 1, 1944. This was followed seven months later by his ordering to Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet for duty on submarines, on October 11, 1944. Walling was ordered to USS Snook (SS-279) for duty in command on December 1, 1944. The USS Snook was built at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and was commissioned on October 24, 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Triebel, United States Navy. On completion of shakedown training off the New England coast, she left New London, Connecticut on March 3, 1943 enroute to the Pacific, arriving in Pearl Harbor on March 30, 1943. She left Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol on April 11, 1943, the first of five patrols conducted under the command of Commander Triebel, which earned her five battle stars.
 
On March 7, 1944, after the fifth patrol, Commander Triebel was relieved by Lieutenant Commander G.H. Browne, United States Navy, who commanded USS Snook during her sixth and seventh war patrols, adding two more battle stars to her credit for a total of seven. On December 5, 1944, Commander John F. Walling, United States Navy, assumed command and USS Snook and sailed on Christmas Day 1944 for her eighth war patrol, stopping off at Midway for last minute alterations in preparation for cold weather operations off the Kuril Islands. After being underway from Midway on December 30th, she encountered heavy gales, low visibility, extreme cold, and drifting ice. Her only sightings were two Russian vessels except for momentary contact with a small patrol vessel which was promptly lost. She returned to Midway on February 17, 1945. USS Snook was lost while conducting her ninth war patrol. She formed a "Wolf Pack" with USS Burfish (SS-312) and USS Bang (SS-385), under the tactical command of Commander Walling, Commanding Officer of USS Snook. Known as "Walling's Whalers," the Wolf Pack left Guam on March 25, 1945 with orders to patrol Luzon Strait, the South China Coast and waters along the east coast of Hainan. The submarines were also to perform lifeguard duties for Philippine based planes, as directed by radio dispatch. USS Snook returned to Guam for emergency repairs on March 27-28, 1945, then rejoined her group. She sent daily weather reports as she headed westward until April 1st, when she was directed to discontinue the practice. On that day, she was ordered to join a wolf pack known as "Hiram's Hecklers" under Commander Hiram Cassedy with USS Tigrone (SS-419). "Walling's Whalers" had been disbanded when USS Bang and USS Burrfish were assigned lifeguard missions. On April 8, 1945, USS Snook reported her position to USS Tigrone as 180° 40' N, 111° 39' E. She did not acknowledge messages sent from USS Tigrone the next day and it was assumed that USS Snook had moved eastward toward Luzon Strait. On April 12th, USS Snook was ordered to take lifeguard station in the vicinity of Sakeshima Gunto, in support of a British Carrier air strike. Eight days later, on April 20th, the British carrier task force commander reported one of his carrier planes downed in the station assigned to USS Snook and stated he was unable to contact her by radio. USS Bang was dispatched to the area, where she rescued three British aviators but saw no sign of USS Snook and the submarine was never heard from again, the circumstances of her loss never determined. Japanese records of anti-submarine attacks do not account for her sinking and she had been fully informed of the location of minefields in the Sakeshima Gunto area. It is possible that she was the victim of a Japanese submarine. Five Japanese submarines were lost in waters of the Nansei Shoto during April and May of 1945, therefore, one of these may have sunk USS Snook before its own sinking by United States warships. The official statement from the United States Navy states: "Presumptive 6 May 1946 - Officially determined to Missing in Action as of 5 May 1945, having served aboard the USS Snook when that submarine failed to return from a war patrol in the South China Sea. In compliance with Section 5 of Public Law 430, as amended, death is presumed to have occurred on the 6th day of May 1946." In all, eighty-four men perished near the island of Formosa, including Commander John Franklin Walling, United States Navy, his death recorded as April 9, 1945, at the age of 33 and was officially declared Killed in Action on May 6, 1946.
 
He is remembered with honor on the Walls of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Taguig City, Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, as his final resting place is unknown. In addition, a cenotaph was erected in his honor in Prospect Hill Cemetery in his town of residence, Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts. USS Snook is credited with having sunk seventeen vessels and 75,473 tons during her two and one-half years' of active service, earning her seven battle stars for her Second World War service. Commander Walling was posthumously awarded the Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia, his Commendation for the award stating: "The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, as the honor to award the Submarine Combat Insignia and to commend in absentia Commander John Franklin Walling, U.S. Navy, for services as set forth in the following citation: The U.S.S. Snook, on an offensive war patrol in confined and heavily patrolled enemy waters, failed to return as scheduled. Although there is no information as to the number of successful attacks delivered against the enemy during during this patrol, this vessel has continuously distinguished herself since her first appearance in enemy waters by her successful and relentless attacks against the enemy and it is believed the Snook undoubtedly was pursuing just such bold and aggressive tactics up until the time she was declared missing. As Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Snook, Commander John Franklin Walling's skill, daring, courageous leadership and unfailing devotion to duty contributed directly to his ship's many successful attacks against the enemy.
 
The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, forwards this commendation in recognition of the splendid performance of duty, which was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.", signed by C.A. Lockwood, Jr., Vice Admiral, United States Navy. In addition to the aforementioned Silver Star and the Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia, he was awarded the China Service Medal, in recognition of his service on board USS S-37 for the period October 13, 1938 to September 7, 1939 and was also a recipient of the Navy Expert Rifleman Medal. Commander Walling was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, along with the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal, with the medals being issued to his wife, Doris Annabella Walling of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
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