Entry Date: '49

Exit Date: '51


Status: D: 01/01/1981

CDR. Raphael Semmes Jr. as C.O of VP-21, Pax River, 1950.

“Raphael Semmes Jr. was born in Montgomery, Alabama 18 January, 1916. He was graduated from high school in Huntsville, AL and attended the Marion Military Institute one year before entering the United States Naval Academy. While at the Academy, he was active in boxing and wrestling. He was graduated from the Academy 2 June, 1938.

His first duty was aboard the cruiser USS Louisville. This tour of duty was relatively short for in 1939 he was ordered aboard the destroyer USS Somers where he served as an Ensign until August 1940. Ensign Semmes then received orders to Pensacola, Florida for flight training.

Upon completion of flight school as a Naval Aviator, Ensign Semmes was ordered to report to the aviation unit of the USS St. Louis. Ensign Semmes remained attached to the St. Louis until December 1942, and was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.

He was then assigned to the CVE Lunga Point as commander of Composite Squadron 98, and led his command in successful attacks on Japanese installations on Okinawa and the China coast. During WWII, Mr. Semmes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and two Air Medals. He attained the O5 rank of Commander on 5 November 1945.

Commander Semmes was the eighth commanding officer of VP-21, from 21 October 1949 to May 1951. CDR. Semmes was deceased at Imperial, California, in January 1981.”