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Adapted from "Commander Milton A. Zimmerman, U. S. Navy" [biography, dated 21 May 1951] in Biographies, 20th century collection, Navy Department Library.

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Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Milton Abraham Zimmerman

28 October 1914 - 19 July 2005

Milton Abraham Zimmerman was born in New York, NY, on 28 October 1914, son of Oscar Zimmerman and the late Henrietta (Drexler) Zimmerman, both natives of Budapest, who later became United States citizens. He received his early education in public schools of Brooklyn, and attended the College of the City of New York and Brooklyn College. He was graduated from the latter with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1939. He enlisted in the US Naval Reserve on 6 July 1940, and on 15 September, the same year, became a Midshipman. Commissioned Ensign on 12 December 1940, he transferred in that rank of Commander, to date from 1 January 1951.

From January 1941 until April 1943 he had sea duty in USS Smith operating in the Pacific Area before and after the United States entered World War II. “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving aboard the USS SMITH during an engagement with enemy Japanese forces in the battle to the northward of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942…” he was awarded the Silver Star Medal.

Brief duty under instruction at the Fire Control School Navy Yard, Washington, DC, preceded duty from June 1943 in connection with fitting out USS Owen (DD 536) at the Bethlehem Steel Company, Shipbuilding Division, San Francisco, California. He served aboard that destroyer from her commissioning in September 1943 until May 1944, and during that period Owen participated in the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, January and February 1944; the attack on Truk, 16-17 February 1944; the Truk, Satawan and Ponape raid, 29 April to 1 May 1944; and the Hollandia Operation, in April and May 1944.

After his return to the United States, he had temporary duty between May and October 1944 at various places in the Third Naval District and at the Naval Training Station, NOB, Norfolk, Virginia. He was then ordered to the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearney, New Jersey, to assist in fitting out USS Gainard (DD 704). He served as Gunnery Officer of that destroyer from her commissioning in November 1944 until June 1945, during which period she participated in the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto from 24 March to 30 June 1945.

The Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” was awarded him for “heroic achievement as Gunnery Officer of the USS GAINARD during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa, Nansei Shoto, from 20 April to 23 June 1945…” The citation continues in part: “Efficiently controlling his battery during the numerous occasions when his ship was under direct attack by enemy planes, (he) directed the guns of his ship to destroy five of the attacking planes and to drive off the remainder or destroy them in the darkness…(and) aided materially in preventing the infliction of damage by airborne planes on his ship and those in company…..”

Transferring to USS Heywood L. Edwards (DD 663) he was aboard that destroyer in September and October 1945 during occupation of Japanese home islands. Upon his return to the United States he was relieved of active duty, and while on terminal leave was recalled in December 1945, for service at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island. He next reported as Executive Officer of USS Whetstone (LSD 27). He later had temporary command of that vessel and from February to June 1948 again served as her Executive Officer.

He served as Inspector-Instructor of Naval Reserves at Ithica, Elmira, and Binghampton, New York August 1948 until June 1950, and during that tour of duty took two two-weeks cruises with the Naval Reserve Officers. He then reported as Officer in Charge of the Reserve Training Ship, USS Ludlow (DD 438), as her prospective Commanding Officer. Detached in January 1951, he had duty in the First Naval District, and on 1 June 1951, assumed command of USS Corry (DD 817).

In addition to the Silver Star Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Captain Zimmerman had the American Defense Service Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp.

Commander Zimmerman died on 19 July 2005.

Published: Mon Feb 11 11:25:57 EST 2019