Milton L. Knudson

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Milton Lox Knudson
Born(1923-10-20)October 20, 1923
Geneva, Illinois
DiedNovember 13, 1942(1942-11-13) (aged 19)
Ironbottom Sound, off Guadalcanal
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1941–1942
RankSeaman First Class
UnitUSS Laffey (DD-459)
Battles/warsWorld War II
*Guadalcanal campaign
*Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
AwardsNavy and Marine Corps Medal

Milton L. Knudson (1923–1942) was a United States Navy sailor who received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal posthumously for his actions during World War II.

Naval career[edit]

Milton Lox Knudson was born in Geneva, Illinois, on 20 October 1923. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 1 July 1941.

While serving in the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-459) in the Southwest Pacific during World War II, he distinguished himself on 15 September 1942 during rescue operations for survivors of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7), which was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine south of Guadalcanal that day. With "courageous disregard"[1] for his personal safety, he dived over the side of Laffey and swam considerable distances with lines to rescue Wasp's exhausted sailors, thus saving the lives of many who otherwise might have perished.

During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942, Seaman First Class Knudson was killed in action when Laffey was sunk by Japanese torpedoes and gunfire in Ironbottom Sound north of Guadalcanal.


Seaman First Class Knudson was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal posthumously for his valor during the rescue operations for Wasp's survivors on 15 September 1942.


During World War II, the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Knudson (DE-591) was named for Seaman First Class Knudson. During construction, she was converted into a high-speed transport, and was in commission as such as USS Knudson (APD-101) from 1944 to 1946 and from 1953 to 1958.


  1. This quotation, from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (at, is unattributed.


  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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