One day last week I was looking through President Lovett’s personal papers and I was caught off guard by this newspaper article about the launching of a ship named after a Rice graduate who had been killed in combat and awarded the Navy Cross. I’d never heard of nor seen any mention of this anywhere:
You can see that the upper left corner of the paper is folded over. When I carefully turned it back I found that it was dated December 25, 1943.
I can’t think what to say.
Here is Lieutenant La Prade’s Navy Cross citation:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Robert M. LaPrade (0-9775), Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service while serving with the SECOND Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 20 January 1943. Operating behind the enemy lines, Lieutenant LaPrade, in command of a combat patrol which wiped out one enemy machine gun position, was critically wounded twice and his second in command incapacitated by enemy machine-gun fire. Despite his insistence that they leave him behind, First Lieutenant LaPrade was carried back to our lines where, with unfaltering disregard for his own ebbing strength, he continued to give orders concerning directions and formations until he lost consciousness. His indomitable fighting spirit and inspiring devotion to the accomplishment of an important mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.
Here’s the ship that was named for him:
And here he is himself as a member of the Rice Institute Hall Committee in 1942, less than a year before his death in the Pacific Theatre:
I’m taking a couple of days off to celebrate Christmas with my family. I’ll be back probably on Thursday and in the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Thanks very much to all of you for taking the time to read and comment here.