Summary

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy; Navy Cross Recipient

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Rear Admiral (Upper Half) 1
Birth:
15 May 1908 2
Des Arc, Arkansas 3
Death:
25 Dec 1995 3
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Frederick Julian Becton 1
Also known as:
F. Julian Becton 1
Birth:
15 May 1908 2
Des Arc, Arkansas 2
Male 1
Death:
25 Dec 1995 2
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Marriage:
Elizabeth Reuss 1
1949 1
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World War II 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Rear Admiral (Upper Half) 1
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Occupation:
Naval Officer 1
Race or Ethnicity:
Caucasian 1
Education:
Institution: U.S. Naval Academy 1
Place: Annapolis, Maryland 1
From: 1927 1
To: 1931 1
Battle Honors (WWII):
Capture & Defense of Guadalcanal: 10 August 1942 - 8 February 1943 1
Consolidation of the Solomon Islands: 8 February 1943 - 15 March 1945 3
Invasion of Normandy: 6-25 June 1944 3
Iwo Jima Operation: 15 February - 16 March 1945 3
Leyte Operation: 10 October - 29 November 1944 3
Luzon Operation: 12 December 1944 - 1 April 1945 3
New Georgia Group Operation: 20 June - 16 October 1943 3
Okinawa Gunto Operation: 17 March - 30 June 1945 3
Books:
"The Ship That Would Not Die": 1980 1
Military Awards:
American Campaign Service Medal: 1942 1
American Defense Service Medal: Atlantic "A" device 1
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Service Medal: 7 Battle Stars 1
China Service Medal: China 1
Croix de Guerre, 1939-45 (France): Gold Star device 1
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal: 1 Battle Star 1
National Defense Service Medal: 1 January 1961 - 14 August 1974 1
National Defense Service Medal: 27 June 1950 - 27 July 1954 1
Navy Commendation Medal: Combat "V" & 1 Gold Star 1
Navy Cross: 16 Apr 1945 2
Philippine Liberation Medal: 2 Battle Stars 1
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation: 17 October 1944 - 4 July 1945 1
Presidential Unit Citation (USS Laffey): 16 Apr 1945 1
Presidential Unit Citation (USS Nicholas): 06 Jul 1943 1
Silver Star: 06 Jun 1944 2
Silver Star: 07 Dec 1944 2
Silver Star: January 1945 2
Silver Star: 5-13 July & 17-18 August 1943 2
WWII Victory Medal: 7 December 1941 - 31 December 1946 1
Naval Service:
Commissioned: 1931 1
Grade: O8 1
Rank at Retirement: Rear Admiral 1
Retired: 1966 1
Serial Number: 70065 2

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Stories

Navy Cross Citation

Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of this profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-724), in action against enemy Japanese forces off Okinawa, on 16 April 1945. With his ship under savage attack by thirty hostile planes, Commander Becton skillfully countered the fanatical enemy tactics, employing every conceivable maneuver and directing all his guns in an intense and unrelenting barrage of fire to protect his ship against the terrific onslaught. Crashed by six of the overwhelming aerial force which penetrated the deadly anti-aircraft defense, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, under his valiant command fought fiercely for over two hours against the attackers, blasting eight of the enemy out of the sky. Although the explosions of the suicide planes and two additional bombs caused severe structural damage, loss of armament and heavy personnel casualties, Commander Becton retained complete control of his ship, coolly directing emergency repairs in the midst of furious combat, and emerged at the close of the action with his gallant warship afloat and still an effective fighting unit. His unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire were inspiring to those who served with him and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Silver Star Citation

Solomon Islands

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron TWENTY-ONE (DesRon 21), on the Flagship U.S.S. NICHOLAS (DD-449), in night engagements with enemy surface forces in the Solomon Islands Area, from 5 to 13 July and on 17 - 18 August 1943. With complete understanding of objectives and tactics, Commander Becton expertly assisted and advised his Squadron Commander in controlling and coordinating the attacks of the vanguard destroyers of a cruiser-destroyer force in which several enemy ships were sunk and many damaged. In a subsequent skillfully planned assault, his Flagship led a destroyer division against an attacking force and by combined gun and torpedo fire, caused the destruction of two destroyers, severe damage to a third and the annihilation of a number of landing barges. Commander Becton's outstanding skill and courageous devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Commander, Southern Pacific, Serial 002122 (October 12, 1943)

Silver Star (1st Gold Star) Citation

Normandy, France

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Commander Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-724), attached to Destroyer Squadron SIXTY (DesRon 60), in action against enemy forces during the amphibious assault on Normandy France, 6 June 1944, and during the bombardment of enemy defenses at Cherbourg, France, on 25 June 1944. Maneuvering his ship through heavily mined waters and under heavy and accurate gunfire from enemy shore batteries, Commander Becton protected vessels in the Western Task Force Area from enemy surface forces and submarines and, although the LAFFEY suffered light damage from enemy gunfire, interposed himself between shore batteries and other units of one bombardment group to divert the fire and, maintaining continuous fire on the enemy batteries, covered the retirement of the minesweepers and battleships. Subjected to heavy enemy fire in later actions, he skillfully maneuvered his ship to make possible the retirement of battleships out of range of the enemy batteries. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Commander, 12th Fleet, Serial 10564 (October 30, 1944)

Silver Star (2nd Gold Star) Citation

Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Commander Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-724), during action against enemy Japanese forces at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 7 December 1944. Fighting hostile shore batteries and constant attack by enemy aircraft, Commander Becton boldly directed the LAFFEY's accurate, determined gunfire against the heavily fortified hostile shores to neutralize Japanese defenses and pave the way for our assaulting troops. With a strong force of enemy aircraft attempting to bomb and crash our ships during retirement, he brought his powerful anti-aircraft guns to bear with deadly accuracy, thereby providing an effective screen for the convoy and insuring a safe withdrawal. By his superb ship-handling, inspiring leadership and cool courage maintained in the face of tremendous odds, Commander Becton contributed materially to the infliction of extensive and costly damage on the enemy and to the success of our forces in recapturing this vital hostile stronghold. His zealous devotion to the completion of a decisive engagement reflects the highest credit upon himself, his intrepid command and the United States Naval Service.

Commander, 7th Fleet, Serial 03024 (May 24, 1945)

Silver Star (3rd Gold Star) Citation

Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Third Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star to Commander Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-724), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands Area in January 1945. Boldly penetrating dangerous restricted waters of Lingayen Gulf during the initial bombardment and assault at Luzon, Commander Becton fought his ship gallantly despite persistent attacks by hostile aircraft and devastating fire directed from Japanese shore batteries, successfully carrying out extensive anti-aircraft screening missions, and bombardment of heavily fortified positions on the beach and providing effective fire support for underwater demolition units. By his expert ship-handling, brilliant leadership and zealous devotion to duty in the face of grave peril, Commander Becton contributed materially to the success of our forces in recapturing the Philippines and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Presidential Unit Citation, USS Laffey (DD-724)

Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

Navy Presidential Unit Citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the UNITED STATES SHIP LAFFEY for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

“For extraordinary heroism in action as a Picket Ship on Radar Picket Station Number One during an attack by approximately thirty enemy Japanese planes, thirty miles northwest of the northern tip of Okinawa, April 16, 1945. Fighting her guns valiantly against waves of hostile suicide planes plunging toward her from all directions, the U.S.S. LAFFEY set up relentless barrages of antiaircraft fire during an extremely heavy and concentrated air attack. Repeatedly finding her targets, she shot down eight enemy planes clear of the ship and damaged six more before they crashed on board. Struck by two bombs, crash-dived by suicide planes and frequently strafed, she withstood the devastating blows unflinchingly and, despite severe damage and heavy casualties, continued to fight effectively until the last plane had been driven off. The courage, superb seamanship and indomitable determination of her officers and men enabled the LAFFEY to defeat the enemy against almost insurmountable odds, and her brilliant performance in this action, reflects the highest credit upon herself and the United States Naval Service.”


For the President,

/s/ James Forrestal
Secretary of the Navy

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