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John Reeves Pierce

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John Reeves Pierce
Born(1906-11-03)November 3, 1906
Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone
DiedJanuary 10, 1943(1943-01-10) (aged 36)
at sea
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1928-1943
RankLieutenant Commander
Commands heldUSS Argonaut (SM-1)
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsNavy Cross

John Reeves Pierce (3 November 1906 – 10 January 1943) was an officer in the United States Navy.


Born in Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone, Pierce graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1928. Following flight training and submarine instruction, he served in submarine USS S-29 and studied marine engineering at the University of California. After serving in USS Nautilus (SS-168) and USS Narwhal (SS-167), he assumed command of USS S-23 (SS-128) 15 February 1941. Appointed Lieutenant Commander 2 January 1942, Pierce on 22 June took command of USS Argonaut (SM-1), a transport submarine, which participated with Nautilus in carrying out the famed, diversionary Makin Raid from 17 to 19 August.

On her third war patrol in the Southwest Pacific, Argonaut sighted an enemy convoy protected by planes and destroyers. Built as our first large minelaying submarine, she lacked proper submerged maneuverability during combat operations. When detected, she came under a vicious enemy attack. The gallant Argonaut surfaced and pressed home an aggressive counterattack, severely damaging a Japanese destroyer before succumbing to heavy enemy fire 10 January 1943. For his demonstration of courageous leadership and unyielding devotion to duty Lt. Comdr. Pierce was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.


USS John R. Pierce was named for him.


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

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