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Adapted from "Captain Lodwick H. Alford, United States Navy" [biography, dated 25 March 1964] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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Lodwick Houston Alford

27 April 1914 - 19 December 2007

Lodwick Houston Alford was born in Sylvester, Georgia, on 27 April 1914, son of William L. H. Alford and Lucy Mell (Overby) Alford. He attended Sylvester High School, and in August 1932 enlisted in the US Navy as an Apprentice Seaman. After recruit training at the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Virginia, he reported in January 1933 for duty on board USS Mississippi. From December of that year until June 1934 he attended the Naval Academy Preparatory Class at the Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia, then served briefly in USS Idaho. He passed the required examinations to enter the Naval Academy and in September 1934 was appointed Midshipman. Graduated and commissioned Ensign in the US Navy on 2 June 1938, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain, to date from 1 July 1957.

Following graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1938, he joined USS Honolulu, and in September of that year reported to the newly-commissioned cruiser Phoenix, participating in her shakedown cruise to the east coast of South America. Detached from the Phoenix in August 1940, he had brief training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and in December, that year was assigned duty as Gunnery Officer of USS Stewart. He was serving in that capacity at the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, and later participated in the defense of the Philippines and the Battle of Badoeng Strait. During the latter action, Stewart was damaged, and while being repaired, capsized in drydock at Surabaja. (Stewart was later raised and put into service by the Japanese, subsequently surrendered and was recommissioned by the US Navy to return home under her own power.)

Escaping from Surabaja, Dutch East Indies, early in 1942, he served as Gunnery Officer of USS Isabel (PY) from March until July, and in August joined Patrol Wing TEN, to serve in the Personnel and Communication Section. From February 1943 until March 1944 he served as Assistant Gunnery Officer of USS Mobile which, during that time, participated in raids on Marcus, Tarawa and Wake Islands; action off Empress Augusta Bay; Gilbert Island operation; and the attack on Truk in February 1944. He was awarded a Letter of Commendation with Ribbon and Combat "V" by the Commander South Pacific Force, as follows:

"For meritorious service while on board a cruiser during Japanese air attacks off Bougainville, British Solomon Islands, on November 8-9, 1943, Lieutenant Alford superbly controlled the antiaircraft battery during the two night attacks. He was called upon to take under fire many planes under the most difficult conditions; fire was opened in the shortest possible time and often against low flying planes. Despite the constant changing of course of his ship, he directed fire with safety to others in the formation. Fire discipline of automatic weapons was outstanding..."

As Gunnery Officer of USS Bennington during the period April 1944 until June 1945, he took part in the assault and occupation of Iwo Jima, FIFTH Fleet raids on Honshu and Nansei Shoto, and THIRD and FIFTH Fleet raids in support of the Okinawa Gunto operation. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V," and citation "For meritorious achievement as Gunnery Officer of the USS BENNINGTON during operations against enemy Japanese forces in Western Pacific Waters from February 10 to May 28, 1945..." The citation continues:

With his ship launching strikes on Tokyo, Kyushu, Nansei Shoto and units of the Japanese Fleet in addition to supporting landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Lieutenant Commander Alford skillfully performed his assigned duties and, when attacked by enemy craft on six different occasions, directed the destruction of one craft and aided in the destruction of eight others. By his skill and devotion to duty, he contributed to the success of his ship's operations and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Upon his return to the United States, he was ordered to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, where he was a student (Command Course) from July through November 1945. In December he reported to the Staff of Commander Destroyer Force, Atlantic, and served as Personnel Officer on that Staff until June 1947. During the next two years he was Damage Control Officer for the Fleet Training Group, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in August 1949 he reported to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, for a tour of duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Destroyer Officer Detail).

Detached in May 1952, he assumed command the next month of USS Renshaw (DDE-499). Under his command, that destroyer escort vessel took part in the Korean conflict and the Formosa Patrol, and he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Korea from 20 November 1952 until 16 May 1953. He was also awarded a Letter of Commendation, with the Army Commendation Ribbon, by the War Department, as follows: "While serving as Commanding Officer, USS RENSHAW (DDE-499), assigned to Task Group 7.3, Joint Task Force 7, Eniwetok and Bikini Atolls, Marshall Islands, from November 1, 1953, to May 15, 1954."

When detached from command of the Renshaw in September 1954, he was ordered to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, and there served in the Joint and Allied Tactics and Doctrine Section (Op-342J) from October 1954 until July 1956. The next year he was a student at the National War College, and in July 1957 reported to the Staff of Commander Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, to serve for a year as Readiness and Training Officer, and for eight months as Assistant Chief of Staff. In July 1959 he was designated Commander Destroyer Division 202, and the next July assumed command of USS Yosemite (AD-19).

From August 1961 to January 1963 he headed the Reserve Fleet Branch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. He next had command of Destroyer Squadron 22, and in March 1964 was ordered detached for duty in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC.

In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Gold Star and Combat "V," the Commendation Ribbon with Combat "V," the Army Commendation Ribbon and Army Distinguished Unit Emblem, Captain Alford had the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver and four bronze stars (9 engagements); American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal (extended); National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with two engagement stars; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon. He also had the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge, and the Expert Rifleman Medal.

END 

Published: Wed Apr 05 11:44:47 EDT 2017