Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Eldon

Last Name: Noelting

Birthplace: Dumont, Butler, IA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Seaman 1st Class

Home of Record: IA
Middle Name: Ray

Date of Birth: 27 February 1920

Date of Death: 10 August 1945 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 06 July 1943

Rank or Rate: Seaman

Years Served: 1941-1945

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Eldon was the son of Leslie John Noelting and Esther Lucille McKinney who married on 19 July 1919 in Aredale, IA. Eldon's sibling was Darwin George Noelting. Eldon and Darwin attended Dumont High School.

Eldon enlisted in the US Naval Reserve (V-6) (NSN: 620-06-75) on 30 Sept 1941 in Des Moines, IA. He completed his recruit training at the Great Lakes, IL Naval Training Station (NTS) in mid-Nov 1941. From there he went home for a period of "boot leave" arriving on 15 Nov 1941. Apprentice Seaman (A.S.) Noelting had orders to report to the light cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) stationed in Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, Noelting was still at home on leave when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 07 Dec 1941. During the attack, Helena was struck by an aerial torpedo. There were casualties on board the ship. Only quick and gallant efforts by damage control parties prevented the ship from sinking. Back-up generators were started and power to anti-aircraft batteries was restored. Helena fought back. Helena attempted to get underway after the attack, but she would not have been able to maintain any appreciable speed. It was later found that she had numerous stress fractures to her hull that would require her to return to California and the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. After preliminary repairs were completed at Pearl Harbor, Helena steamed to Mare Island for more permanent repairs in late Dec 1941.

After his leave was over, Noelting traveled to San Francisco and reported on board the USS Alderbaran (AF-10) on 10 Dec 1941 as a passenger bound for Pearl Harbor and the USS Helena (CL-50). He arrived on 31 Dec 1941 in Pearl Harbor and reported to the Helena's receiving unit on New Year's Day, 1942.

He was advanced in rate to Seaman 2/c (S2/c) about Feb 1942. While the Helena underwent repairs in CA Noelting made a trip home to visit with family in mid-March. It was during those repairs that Helena had an advanced radar system installed that significantly increased the proficiency of her gun crews.

Repairs complete in late June 1942, Helena returned to the southwest Pacific area where she participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign. S2c Noelting was advanced in rate to Seaman First Class (S1/c) on 01 Aug 1942. In Oct 1942, Helena was engaged in a night action known as the Battle of Cape Esperance during which she was credited with helping to sink the Japanese heavy cruiser Furutaka and destroyer Fubuki. The following month she participated in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov 1942 where she was only one of two US warships to come away from the fight unscathed. In early 1943, she conducted gunfire support missions against Lunga, Koli, and Kokumbona Points on Guadalcanal Island. After an overhaul in Sydney, Australia in March 1943, she returned to Espiritu Santo. According to a local Iowa newspaper dated 11 May 1943, Eldon sent his mother and grandmother, Mrs. Henry Noelting, each a floral bouquet for Mother's Day.

Noelting was listed on the 30 Jun 1943 Helena muster report. It was to be his last. On the night of 5 July 1943, Helena moved into the Kula Gulf. The Battle of Kula Gulf began and ended quickly for Helena. The Helena sank after being struck by three surface fired torpedoes, but not before she either sank or assisted in sinking four Japanese warships during the same battle. Almost 750 crewmen were saved. Unfortunately, S1/c Noelting was one of the 168 who perished when the ship sank in 22 minutes. He was reported missing in action on 6 July 1943. He was presumed dead on 10 Aug 1945. After Noelting's death, his parents donated the $300.00 that he had sent home to the purchase of government war bonds.

S1c Noelting had served in six major battles in the Pacific while aboard Helena. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) ribbon, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with 7 Battle Stars, and World War II Victory Medal. He was also eligible for the Navy Combat Action Ribbon.

The Helena was the first US Navy ship to receive the Navy Unit Commendation award.


USS Helena (CL-50) Navy Unit Commendation citation reads:

"For outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces afloat in the Solomon Islands - New Georgia Areas. Gallantly carrying the fight to the enemy, the USS HELENA opened the night Battle of Cape Esperance on 11-12 October 1942 boldly sending her fire into the force of enemy warships, sinking a hostile destroyer and holding to a minimum the damage to our destroyers in the rear of the Task Force. She engaged at close quarters a superior force of hostile combatant ships in the Battle of Guadalcanal on the night of 12-13 November 1942, rallying our own forces after the Flag Ship had been disabled and contributing to the enemy's defeat. In her final engagement in the pre-dawn battle of 5-6 July 1943, the HELENA valiantly sailed down the restricted and submarine-infested waters of Kula Gulf under the terrific torpedo and gun fire of the enemy to bombard Kolombangara and New Georgia while covering the landing of our troops at Rice Anchorage, and twenty-four hours later, her blazing guns aided in the destruction of a vastly superior enemy naval force before she was fatally struck by Japanese torpedoes. Her brave record of combat achievement is evidence of the HELENA'S intrepidity and the heroic fighting spirit of her officers and men."


Seaman First Class Noelting's family received a commemoration from President Truman. It reads:

In grateful memory of Eldon Ray Noelting, United States Naval Reserve, who died in the service of his country, SEA, Pacific Area, ATTACHED U.S.S. HELENA, 10 August 1945 (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, Harry S. Truman

President of the United States

[Bio#109 composed by Gerry Lawton (GML470)]

Honoree ID: 154280   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image