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First Name: James

Last Name: Alexander

Birthplace: Pearl Harbor, HI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Thomas

Date of Birth: 1920

Date of Death: 18 May 2011

Rank or Rate: Captain

Years Served:
James Thomas Alexander, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


James Thomas Alexander, Jr.
Captain, U.S. Navy
U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1942

James Thomas Alexander, Jr. was born in 1920 at Pearl Harbor, HI, at the U.S. Naval Station where his father had been assigned during World War I. He graduated from Kent School and the U.S. Naval Academy where he played lacrosse and rowed crew.

As a member of the Class of 1942, he graduated in December 1941 and reported for duty at Pearl Harbor on the USS Raleigh. In 1944 he became Gunnery Officer on the destroyer USS Pringle. The Pringle saw action in the Philippines and at Iwo Jima before being sunk in April 1945 by a Japanese kamikaze near Okinawa.

He served on the destroyer escort USS Greenwood, which was his first command at the age of 25. Upon receiving a post graduate degree in Engineering he served as Engineer Officer on the USS Huntington. During the Korean War he was Gunnery Officer in Amphibious Group Three. Later sea assignments included command of the Norfolk-based Amphibious Squadron Two, which involved two Mediterranean tours with an embarked Marine Corp battalion landing team.

His final assignment was at the Pentagon as Planning Director during the initial drawdown of active forces from Vietnam. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and two Navy Commendation Medals.

After retirement from the Navy in 1970, he became an Environmental Engineer with the State of Virginia and the City of Alexandria, where he helped develop a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy facility in 1980.

Alexander was an avid student of American and British naval history and enjoyed visiting libraries and art galleries with his wife Emily. He built several museum-quality ship models. He took enormous pride in teaching each of his children to sail during summers spent at Nags Head. Later he spent weekends sailing with them on the Chesapeake Bay around Annapolis. He learned to fly fish at the age of 70 and loved casting to rising cutthroat trout on the Snake River in Wyoming and the South Fork in Idaho.

Death and Burial

Captain James Thomas Alexander, Jr. died peacefully surrounded by his family on 18 May 2011 in Alexandria, VA. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Emily Snyder Alexander, in 2009. They are inurned at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

He is survived by his children Emily Kane Alexander Robinson, and her husband John, of Seattle, WA; James T. Alexander III, and his wife Marti, of Richmond, VA; and Patricia Alexander Kellam, and her husband Luke, of Franktown; seven grandchildren: Thomas Robinson, Alex Robinson, Jamie Alexander, Marshall Alexander, Christopher Alexander, and Emily Kellam and Jay Kellam.

Honoree ID: 3340   Created by: MHOH




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