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Gust J. Swenning

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Gust J. Swenning
Born(1917-08-02)August 2, 1917
Manor, Texas
DiedDecember 1, 1942(1942-12-01) (aged 25)
near Solomon Islands
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1938–1942
Unit New Orleans (CA-32)
Battles/warsBattle of Tassafaronga
AwardsNavy Cross (posthumous)

Gust J. Swenning (2 August 1917 – 1 December 1942) was an American sailor who served in the United States Navy and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Navy career[edit]

Swenning was born at Manor, Texas and enlisted in the Navy on 9 September 1938. Upon completion of basic training at San Diego, California, he was transferred to USS New Orleans (CA-32) for duty.

After participation in the defense of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, and operations off Guadalcanal and in the Solomon Islands, Swenning was still serving in New Orleans on 30 November 1942. That night, Japanese naval forces began the Battle of Tassafaronga, Solomon Islands.

Awarded the Navy Cross[edit]

Swenning was a member of the Forward Repair Party when New Orleans was struck by a torpedo which detonated the forward magazines. He unhesitatingly dived through the oil and water in a flooded compartment to close a watertight door. In further efforts to assist in bringing the damaged ship to port, he labored tirelessly and continuously for twelve hours after the cessation of the action. His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Swenning died on 1 December 1942 and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.


USS Swenning (DE-394) was named in his honor. The ship was laid down on 17 July 1943 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas; launched on 13 September 1943; sponsored by Miss Hertha Rhode; and commissioned on 1 December 1943, LT Richard E. Peek, Jr., USNR, in command.

See also[edit]

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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