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First Name: Frederick

Last Name: Weber

Birthplace: Des Moines, Polk, IA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Thomas

Date of Birth: 04 February 1916

Date of Death: 05 June 1943 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 04 June 1942

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant (junior grade)

Years Served: 1938-1943

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Frederick Thomas Weber

Lieutenant, Junior Grade, United States Naval Reserve

Navy Cross & Air Medal

This is the story of FREDERICK THOMAS WEBER, his life and military service presented as completely as possible from the sources available. He was among the many selfless heroes at Midway who gave "their last full measure of devotion."

FREDERICK THOMAS WEBER was born on 04 Feb 1916 in Des Moines, IA, the only child of Frederick William "Fred" Weber and Opal E. Moncrief who married in Boone county, IA on 03 April 1915. F. W. Weber died on 30 Nov 1917 as a result of a fractured skull from a fall on stairs at the Weber Bottling Works on Thursday 29 Nov 1917. Three plus years later, Opal married Matthew Richard Walsh, 15 years her senior, on 13 Jun 1921 in Des Moines, Polk county, IA. Fred Thomas Weber used the surname Walsh during his high school and college careers. When he enlisted in the US Navy he reverted back to his birth surname of Weber. According to the 1940 Federal Census for Pensacola, Florida, Frederick was an aviation cadet. He was also enumerated in the same census at Galesburg,Knox,IL

Frederick Thomas Weber (AKA Fred W. Walsh, Frederick Thomas Weber Walsh) attended Galesburg High School and graduated in June 1933. After graduation from high school, he entered Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois where he studied for a year. He took a year off from his studies, and then transferred to Drake University in Des Moines, IA in 1935. At Drake, he was a Liberal Arts major. He was active in the Political Science club; Phi Delta Gamma fraternity under the name Fred Walsh; Honor "D" Club, and Fred was the track team manager for all three years at Drake. He graduated in June 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

Several months later Fred enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve (V-5) flight training program on 30 August 1938 as a Seaman 2d Class (S2c) for a period of four years. On 15 Sept 1938, S2c Weber began Elimination flight training (e-base) at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base (NRAB), Kansas City, Kansas. On 17 Oct 1938, he successfully completed e-base, whereupon, he was released to inactive duty and sent home to await further orders. Approximately nine months later on 26 July 1939, he was transferred to the NRAB, Robertson, MO where he was discharged from enlisted status under honorable conditions. The following day, 27 July 1939, he took the oath of office and accept appointment as an aviation cadet, USNR.

On 31 July 1939, he reported for active duty undergoing training at the Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, FL, where he was assigned to Aviation Cadet Class 128-C. Weber and his class began a two week course of indoctrination that included lectures on seamanship, leadership, fundamentals of the naval service and naval command and procedure. During the first week class 128 was introduced to “Hell Week.” During that week the “newbies” were under near constant supervision by senior cadets. They marched everywhere including to class and to chow. The objectives of this time under pressure were for the "newbies" to learn how to march in formation, time management, wearing the uniform, handling stress and a myriad of other details. It was also designed to eliminate those cadets who weren’t pilot or naval officer material. It was like boot camp only rolled into 5 days instead of 9 weeks. On 14 Aug 1939, Class 128-C began taking instruction at the ground school and at Squadron 1. The Cadet Battalion was granted Christmas leave that began on 22 Dec and ended on 2 Jan 1940. After returning to Pensacola, Weber completed his primary flight training in mid-Feb when he passed final checks in Squadron 2 and was advanced to Squadron 3.

In early May, Weber temporarily detached from NAS Pensacola and transferred to NAS Miami, FL for about six weeks with the Advanced Training Specialized Carrier Group. Weber earned his gold naval aviator wings as naval aviator #6415 (heavier-than-air) on 10 May 1940. Upon completion of training, Weber was released from active duty undergoing training on 11 Jun 1940. The following day, 12 Jun 1940, he swore the oath of officer and accepted a commission as an Ensign, USNR, AV-(N) with a date of rank of 25 March 1940 (according to naval register of 1 Jan 1941). Later that day, Ens. Weber was placed in active duty status (other than training). He detached from NAS Miami on 12 Jun 1940 to proceed to San Diego and active duty involving flying with Bombing Squadron Six (VB-6), attached to the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CV-6). He was authorized a delay in reporting to count as leave. Ens. Weber reported to NAS, San Diego after his leave to await transportation on board the ex-battleship, USS Utah (AG-16); his ride to Pearl Harbor and VB-6. Utah arrived in Pearl Harbor on 01 Aug 1940 where Ensign Weber disembarked and reported for duty with VB-6.

During 1939, Enterprise and her embarked squadrons conducted training cruises and workup exercises at various times. While the ship was inport her squadrons were temporarily based ashore at their assigned airfields. In Sep 1939, Enterprise became part of the Hawaiian Detachment of the U.S. Fleet whose homeport was Pearl Harbor. In Jan 1940, Enterprise engaged in exercises in Hawaiian waters. In early Feb, she steamed for Puget Sound Navy Shipyard for an overhaul after making a brief port call in San Diego. In late May, Enterprise, her overhaul completed, returned to San Diego for about a month. She got underway from San Diego in late June and steamed to Pearl Harbor arriving on 2 July 1940. Ensign Frederick T Weber reported for duty to Bombing Squadron Six on 01 Aug 1940. Enterprise conducted training exercises for the ship and air group from August to early Nov in the Hawaiian area. On 09 Nov, the Big "E," as she was affectionately known by her crew, steamed to San Diego. On 2 Dec, she got underway and steamed to the Puget Sound Navy Shipyard in Bremerton, WA for a yard period. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 21 Jan 1941. On 11 Feb 1941, Fred Weber was participating in pilot training when while taking off from Enterprise in heavy weather his plane rolled over on its back and plunged straight into the water from an altitude of about 80 feet. The plane sank in about 30 seconds. Weber and his rear-seat gunner successfully exited the plane and were picked up by the plane guard (VB-6 Pilot Norman Vandivier letter home dated 12 Feb 1941 that describes the accident.). During 1941 Enterprise made 13 round trips between Hawaii and San Diego from April - Nov conducting exercise cycles and squadron work-ups. During those months, she also shuttled Army Air Force P-39s and P-40s, as well as, Navy aircraft from US West Coast ports to Pearl Harbor and beyond. On 28 Nov 1941, Enterprise, now operating in a war-time steaming condition, left San Diego with a cargo of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211) aircraft and pilots destined for Wake Island. The Marine pilots and their planes flew from Enterprise to Wake Island on 02 Dec 1941. Enterprise was scheduled to arrive back in Pearl Harbor on 06 Dec, but was delayed due to inclement weather.

In the early pre-dawn hours of 07 Dec 1941, Enterprise was 200 miles west of Oahu heading for a late afternoon docking at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Halsey planned to send a contingent of 18 SBD dive bombers to search 150 miles ahead of the task force as a normal precaution. Instead of returning to Enterprise, the search flight was to continue directly to Pearl Harbor upon completion of their mission. The rest of the air group would follow that afternoon before Enterprise entered port. Leading the mission was Lcdr Howard L. Young, Commander Enterprise Air Group (CEAG) in his own SBD, Fourteen dive bombers from Lcdr Halstead L. "Hal" Hopping’s Scouting Six and three from Lcdr William R. Hollingsworth’s Bombing Six.

The three bombing six crews were Ens. Frederick Thomas Weber and rear-seat gunner/radioman, S1c Lee Edward John Keaney flying in SBD 6-B-12, Ens. Wilbur Edison Roberts and is rear-seat gunner Aviation Machinist Mate First Class (AMM1) Donald H. Jones in S-B-9, and Ens. Manuel Gonzales and rear-seat gunner Radioman Third Class (RM3) Leonard Joseph Kozelek in 6-B-3. Search group launching began at 0618. Operating under strict radio silence, Halsey had not alerted Pearl Harbor that his dive bombers were coming. He assumed his aircraft would not have any trouble identifying themselves, and ordinarily they wouldn’t. However, at 0755, 183 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes swarmed over the unsuspecting US Pacific Fleet. When the Enterprise SBDs arrived over Pearl Harbor they were attacked by Japanese aircraft and shot at by friendly AA fire.

At 0810, Ensigns Manuel Gonzales and his wing-man Fred Weber were about 25 miles from Oahu when Weber sighted a group of planes circling ahead. Gonzales mistakenly thought the planes were Army planes until he suddenly came under attack. He was shot down by six Japanese Val dive-bombers. Weber thought he saw his section leader’s plane and began to close on it. Suddenly, the plane flipped around and made a run at him. He saw the large red circle on the other plane’s wing and realized it was a Japanese aircraft. Weber dove for the water and applied throttle. The Zero made no attempt to follow. Ens. Roberts was also a victim of multiple bullet hits from friendly fire as he tried to land at Hickham Field. Bullets had pieced his port side wing tank, and he was streaming fuel, but was able to land safely with his shaken but intact gunner.

Weber set course for Barbers Point. Weber jointed with other Enterprise SBDs and landed about 1000 at Ewa field where they refueled. Weber, along with eight other Enterprise SBDs, were sent out to the North to search for the Japanese. For three hours the nine planes combed the Pacific up to 175 miles without success. They returned to Ford Island about 1530. They immediately received orders to return to Enterprise. For Weber it was his fourth flight of the day. No sooner had the group landed on Enterprise where they ordered back to Ford Island. Weber and Keaney’s fifth flight of the day.

Among the Enterprise's search group of eighteen SBDs, seven SBDs were shot down, either from enemy action or friendly fire, eight airmen were killed and two wounded. After the debacle at Pearl Harbor, Enterprise was sent on a belated attempt to relieve Wake Island. Wake Island was overrun and surrendered on 23 Dec 1941 before Enterprise could come within range.

On 09 January 1942, Admiral Nimitz directed Admiral Halsey to raid the southern Marshall and northern Gilbert area employing air attack and ship bombardment. On 17 Jan 1942, while Enterprise was enroute to attack the Marshall Islands, Ensign Weber with his rear-seat gunner/radioman RM3 Joe J. Ivantic were on a routine surveillance mission. On the return leg, he ran out of fuel and had to make a emergency water landing. The landing turned out to be a hard one because Weber broke his jaw and received facial lacerations upon impact. He was able to exit the plane before it sank. Unfortunately, RM3 Ivantic went down with the plane. Weber was picked up by a rescue destroyer. Later that afternoon a memorial service was held for Petty Officer Ivantic on board Enterprise. Weber was medically grounded for a period while his injuries healed.

On 01 Feb 1942, Enterprise with TF 8 were to attack Kwajalein, Wotje, and Maloelap in the Marshall Islands marking the first offensive action by US forces in the Pacific. Flight quarters sounded at 0345 and not long after 0400 the word, “Pilots, man your planes!” was passed. Launching began at 0445 with the fighters for the combat air patrol (CAP) launching first. They were followed by thirty-seven dive-bombers; eighteen each from Bombing Six and Scouting Six, plus Lcdr Brigham Young in the CEAG plane. The last to launch were the nine bomb-armed Devastators of Torpedo Six.

After the attacks, The "Big E" steamed to Pearl Harbor and arrived on 5 Feb 1942 where she was refueled, replenished, and rearmed. She also experienced normal upkeep. The squadrons returned to their shore air stations around Oahu. The "Big E" steamed from Pearl Harbor on Valentines Day 1942. Halsey’s carrier force was redesignated Task Force 16. She originally planned to rendezvous with USS Yorktown’s force to conduct raids on Wake Island and Eniwetok, but Yorktown was ordered to join USS Lexington to conduct raids on coastal enemy positions in New Guinea. Enterprise received orders to proceed independently for strikes against Wake Island that occurred on 24 Feb 1942.

On 4 March, Enterprise attacked Marcus Island. After the attacks, Enterprise steamed home to Pearl Harbor arriving 10 March 1942, with her air group landing on Oahu ahead of her. On 01 Apr, Enterprise set sail for several days of carrier qualifications for the new pilots. She returned on 3 April to Pearl Harbor. Five days later, she steamed out of Pearl once again. This time it was to support the Doolittle raid. After the Doolittle raid on 18 April, Enterprise and Hornet set speedy sail for home. On 25 April 1942, Enterprise and Hornet entered Pearl Harbor.

There are no known records to indicate that Ensign Weber participated in combat flights in the Marshall Island Raid, Wake Island Raid or the Marcus Island Raid.

On 29 April 1942, Enterprise got underway to conduct training exercises northwest of Oahu. After several days of aviator carrier qualifications, Enterprise and Hornet were directed to the South Pacific to assist aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) engaged in the battle of the Coral Sea. The battle was over before they could arrive on-scene. She was then directed to perform a feint towards Nauru and Banaba (Ocean) islands which caused the Japanese to delay Operation RY to seize the two islands. Enterprise returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 May and began intensive preparations to meet an expected Japanese thrust at Midway Island. Enterprise got underway from Pearl Harbor on 28 May 1942, and with USS Hornet (CV-8), steamed toward a point Northeast of Midway called "Point Luck." USS Yorktown (CV-5) followed a short time later.

Early on the morning of 4 Jun 1942, the Enterprises' air group (launched 0700) along with those from the USS Hornet (CV-8) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) launched their strike packages to intercept and attack the Japanese carrier fleet approaching the Midway Atoll. Bombing Squadron Six (VB-6) with only 15 SBDs including Ens Weber in the First Division flying 6-B-3 with his rear-seat gunner Aviation Ordananceman Second Class (AOM2) Ernest Lenard Hilbert, 18 SBDs from Scouting Six (VS-6) and the CEAG section of three launched, formed up, then circled the task force waiting for Fighting Six and Torpedo Six to launch. Twenty minutes passed with little visible activity for a VT-6 and VF-6 launching. Meanwhile the SBDs were using up valuable fuel unnecessarily. Finally, at 0745 Lcdr McClusky, CEAG, was instructed to "proceed on mission assigned." The unnecessary expenditure of fuel by all the Enterprise Air Group was to have serious consequences after the enemy was finally attacked at 10:25.

After nearly 3 1/2 hours in the air, the CEAG finally spotted the Japanese carrier fleet with the unintended assistance of Japanese destroyer Arashi. The SBDs of VB-6 and VS-6 were near fuel exhaustion. Lcdr McClusky (CEAG) issued vague orders to Best and Gallaher on which carriers to attack. Apparently, Lt Best didn't receive the orders and Lt Gallaher misinterpreted the CEAG's orders. As the attack on Kaga began at 1020 near disastrous confusion resulted between Lt Best leading VB-6 and Lt Gallaher leading VS-6 on which target, Kaga or Akagi, each squadron was to attack. Consequently, 27 of the 30 SBDs from both squadrons attacked Kaga. Only VB-6 Squadron CO Dick Best (S-B-1) and his two wingmen, Ltjg Edwin Kroeger (S-B-2) and Ens. Frederick T Weber (S-B-3) attacked Akagi beginning about 1025.

Lt Best scored a direct hit on Akagi setting off tremendous explosions and starting numerous raging fires. Lt Kroeger's bomb was a near miss. It appears that Ens. Weber's 1,000 pound bomb almost grazed the edge of Akagi's flight deck before it exploded in the water next to the carrier. The concussion of that explosion damaged the rudder such that the carrier was forced into a locked thirty degree circle. Unable to regain control of the rudders, Akagi's crew had to stop her engines.

Pulling out of his dive after the attack, Weber formed on his leader, Lt Dick Best, and the squadron headed home to refuel and rearm During the return flight Weber was attacked by a Nakajima E8N2 Type 95 float-plane from one of the IJN warships. It made two firing passes at Weber's plane, but he was able to escape. As they cleared the area, Ens. Kroeger in 6-B-2 joined them. Lt Best and his two cohorts arrived in the Enterprise's landing pattern around 1145. He was followed on board by Kroeger and Weber.

Of the fifteen dive bombers from VB-6 that took off from the Enterprise that morning only five survived the attack although six pilots and five gunners from the ditched aircraft where rescued later. Enemy anti-aircraft fire and fuel exhaustion took the biggest toll on this squadron after the initial attacks.

At 1545 that afternoon, Weber took off again with Hilbert in 6-B-3 from Enterprise in a strike force composed of 24 SBD aircraft from three squadrons; Scouting Six (VS-6) had only seven planes, Bombing Six (VB-6), led by Lt Best, had four operational aircraft with one flying from Yorktown and Yorktown's Bombing Three (VB-3) had fourteen. About an hour later at 1700, the remaining undamaged Japanese carrier, Hiryu, was sighted. Attacking without friendly fighter cover, the vulnerable American dive bombers were intercepted by Japanese fighters and Ensign Weber along with his gunner, AOM3 Ernest Leonard Hilbert, were shot down. Hiryu was hit multiple times and left in flames. Lt Best in Enterprises' 6-B-1 made his second direct hit on a Japanese carrier that day. The first and only hit on Akagi was also delivered by Lt Best. Hiryu was scuttled the following day.

Ens.Weber and Petty Officer Hilbert were listed as missing in action on 4 Jun 1942. Their remains were unrecoverable. On 5 Jun 1943, they were "presumed" dead. Ensign Weber was awarded (posthumously) the Navy Cross, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation w/ribbon, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze battle stars and the World War II Victory Medal.


The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Frederick Thomas Weber, Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber of Bombing Squadron SIX, embarked from the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Defying extreme danger from concentrated anti- aircraft barrage and powerful fighter opposition, Ensign Weber, with bold determination and courageous zeal, participated in dive-bombing assaults against Japanese naval units. Flying at a distance from his own forces which rendered return unlikely because of probable fuel exhaustion, he pressed home his attacks with extreme disregard for his own personal safety, scoring a direct hit on an enemy aircraft carrier. Later, while pressing home a desperate and vigorous counterattack against enemy Japanese fighter planes, he was shot down. His gallant intrepidity and loyal devotion to duty contributed greatly to the success of our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)


Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the aircrews of Carrier Air Group Six and crew members of the USS Enterprise (CV-6).

The citation reads:

For consistently outstanding performance and distinguished achievement during repeated action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific war area, 7 December 1941, to 15 November 1942. Participating in nearly every major carrier engagement in the first year of the war, the Enterprise and her air group, exclusive of far-flung destruction of hostile shore installations throughout the battle area, did sink or damage on her own a total of 35 Japanese vessels and shot down a total of 185 Japanese aircraft. Her aggressive spirit and superb combat efficiency are fitting tribute to the officers and men who so gallantly established her as an ahead bulwark in the defense of the American nation.

Actions of the Enterprise mentioned in the citation include the Gilbert and Marshalls Islands raid of 01 Feb 1942; Wake Island raid, 24 Feb 1942; Marcus Island raid, 04 Mar 1942; Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942; Battle of Midway, 4-6 Jun 1942; Occupation of Guadalcanal, 7-8 Aug 1942; Battle of Stewart Islands, 24 Aug 1942; Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, 26 Oct 1942; and Battle of Solomon Islands, 14-15 Nov 1942.


His family also received a commemoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: In grateful memory of Frederick Thomas Weber, who died in the service of his country, SEA, Pacific Area, ATTACHED U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, 5 JUNE 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt,

President of the United States


Task Force 16 Citation Recognizing its contribution to the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the unique and daring accomplishments achieved early in the war by Task Force 16. Sailing westward under sealed orders in April 1942, only four months after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, Task Force 16, carrying sixteen Army B-25 bombers, proceeded into history. Facing adverse weather and under constant threat of discovery before bombers could be launched to strike the Japanese homeland, the crews of the ships and LTC Doolittle's bombers persevered. On 18 April 1942 at 14:45, perseverance produced success as radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the success of the raids. These raids were an enormous boost to the morale of the American people in those early and dark days of the war and a harbinger of the future for the Japanese High Command that had so foolishly awakened "The Sleeping Giant." These exploits, which so inspired the service men and women and the nation live on today and are remembered when the necessity of success against all odds is required.

(Signed) John H.Dalton

Secretary of the Navy

15 May 1995


The Des Moines Morning Register, Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, March 25, 1943

A destroyer escort vessel to be launched May 1, at Quincy, Mass., will be named the Weber in honor of a former Des Moines boy and Drake university graduate, university officials announced Wednesday. The ship will be named for Ensign Thomas Weber, who was reported killed in the battle of Midway last June, after scoring a direct hit on a Japanese aircraft carrier. Last December he was awarded the navy cross posthumously. His mother, Mrs. M. R. Walsh of Galesburg, Ill., has accepted an invitation to act as sponsor of the vessel. Weber, also know in Des Moines as Fred Walsh, was graduated from Drake in 1938. He was manager of the track team and was active for several years in preparations for the Drake Relays.

Two of his aunts live here: Mrs. E. F. Weber, of 2119 S. E. Sixth ave., and Mrs. Ray Maxwell, 1721 E. Thirty-third st.


USS Weber (DE-675) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort named in honor of Ensign Frederick T. Weber. Weber's keel was laid on 22 Feb 1943 at Quincy, Mass, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company's Fore River Shipyard. She was launched on 01 May 1943 and sponsored by Mrs Matt A. Walsh. Commissioned on 30 Jun 1943. Following post shakedown operations Weber began transatlantic convoy escort duties until Dec 1944 when she was redesigned a high-speed transport with a new hull number, APD-75. Upon completion of the conversion, Weber departed Norfolk, VA for the Pacific. Weber provided escort services and antisubmarine duty. After war's end, Weber returned to San Diego in Dec 1945. She was then ordered to proceed to the New York Naval Shipyard to begin the inactivation process. On 23 Feb 1946, Weber entered Green Cove Springs, FL where she reported to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for lay up. She was struck from the Navy List on 01 Jun 1960. On 15 July 1962, Weber was sunk as a target by AGM-12 Bullpup air to surface missiles. Weber earned Asiatic-Pacific medal with one battle star during WWII.


Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:

None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST M-1650.1 of 16 Aug 2019, Appendix 2C.1.c (3) Amplifying Guidance). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded in connection with aerial flight, . . . “ The CR was established in 1969 and made retroactive to 07 Dec 1941. According to the Awards Manual, when deemed appropriate, the award for aerial combat was/is the Air Medal.


Bio#250 composed on 07 Jun 2016 by Gerry Lawton (GML470)

Military Hall of Honor ID: #104143

Find A Grave Memorial Page#247010562

Additional information on Weber at http://www.thezephyr.com/webermidway.htm

Honoree ID: 104143   Created by: MHOH




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