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First Name: Aloysius

Last Name: Schmitt

Birthplace: Saint Lucas, IA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: H.

Date of Birth: 04 December 1909

Date of Death: 07 December 1941

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant (junior grade)

Years Served:
Aloysius H. Schmitt

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Aloysius H. Schmitt
Lieutenant (J.G.), U.S. Navy

Aloysius H. Schmitt was born on 4 December 1909 in Saint Lucas, IA. Schmitt studied at Loras College in Dubuque, IA. He then studied in Rome for the priesthood. He was ordained on 8 December 1935. Schmitt was assigned to parishes in Dubuque and one in Cheyenne, WY. After four years, he received permission to become a chaplain and joined the U.S. Navy. He was appointed Acting Chaplain with rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG) on 28 June 1939.

On 7 December 1941, Schmitt was serving on board the battleship, USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A Japanese hit caused the ship to capsize. A number of sailors, including Schmitt, were trapped in a compartment with only a small porthole as the means of escape. Schmitt helped a number of men through this porthole. When it came his time to leave, he declined and helped more men to escape. In total, he helped 12 men to escape.

Schmitt died on board the Oklahoma. He was the first chaplain of any faith to have died in World War II.

Medals and Awards (Posthumous)

Navy and Marine Corps Medal


• A destroyer escort named USS Schmitt was commissioned in 1943 by the Navy in his honor and served the U.S. Navy until 1967 when it was transferred to Taiwan.

• The Christ the King Chapel at Loras College was dedicated in his memory, and contains some of Schmitt's property that was donated to the school.

• An island in the Mississippi River near Dubuque, IA, is also named in his honor. The island, called Chaplain Schmitt Island, is the location of Dubuque Greyhound Park and Casino.


Lieutenant (J.G.) Chaplain Aloysius H. Schmitt died on 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor, HI. His remains were unidentified and are interred at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI.

Honoree ID: 3046   Created by: MHOH




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