Jesse Rutherford Jr.

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Jesse Rutherford Jr.
Born(1923-01-12)January 12, 1923
Salmon, Idaho
DiedMay 8, 1942(1942-05-08) (aged 19)
USS Lexington, Coral Sea
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1941–1942
UnitUSS Lexington (CV-2)
Battles/warsWorld War II
  • Pacific War
    • Pacific Ocean theatre
      • Battle of the Coral Sea  (DOW)
AwardsNavy Cross (posthumous)

Jesse Rutherford Jr. (January 12, 1923 – May 8, 1942), was an American Marine.

Marine Corps career[edit]

Rutherford, who was born in Salmon, Idaho, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps July 14, 1941. After undergoing basic training at San Diego, California, he reported to carrier Lexington November 8, 1941.

Private Rutherford was on board during the pivotal Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the Navy turned back the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby and Australia. In this first great carrier action, during which neither force sighted the other, American planes sank one Japanese carrier and damaged another; but, near the end of the battle, May 8, Lexington was hit by two bombs and two torpedoes.

Rutherford, "loading shells into fuse pots" in a gun mount, was seriously injured in the attack; but he remained at his post. In the language of his citation, "although mortally wounded by the fragments of a bursting bomb, he displayed outstanding courage and a loyal determination to keep his gun in action despite his injured condition, and valiantly remained at his station "loading shells into fuse pots" until he collapsed on the deck."

Awarded the Navy Cross[edit]

The stricken "Lady Lex" was finally sunk by friendly ships, and Private Rutherford was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism.


USS Jesse Rutherford (DE-347) was named in his honor. She was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas, November 22, 1943; launched January 29, 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Rutherford, mother of Private Rutherford; and commissioned May 31, 1944, Lt. Comdr. B. M. Henry in command.

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topics World War II AND Biography : Trose Emmett Donaldson, Remi A. Balduck, Albert Mampre, Oliver Mitchell, Willard Keith, Paul Rogers (soldier), Eugene Morland Key

Other articles of the topic World War II : Charles E. Grant, Lyman Knute Swenson, Rogers Blood, Jack E. Foley, Albert Mampre, Remi A. Balduck, Joseph Edward Connolly

Other articles of the topic Biography : Katey Cattlehand Pluck, Ben R. Marshall, Losliya Mariyanesan, Edward B. Kinzer, Dragan Sekaric Shex, Bert Hatten, Frederick Cushing Cross Jr.
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  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • Jesse Rutherford, Jr.

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