Orluff Oram

Orluff Oram

World War II · US Navy

Orluff Oram

    Orluff Oram was born on June 4th, 1920 in Honeyville, Box Elder, Utah to Alma Merrill Oram and Blanche Eliza Hunsaker. "Orluff was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

    "Orluff attended district school at Honeyville and Pegram, Idaho; and Box Elder high school." Orluff was only 16 when tragedy struck in 1936. Orluff's brother Alma Vernon Oram died in October, and then Orluff's mother, Blanche passed away In December.

    For a brief time, Orluff worked at the Blackington Canning Company.

    Orluff enlisted in the US Navy on November 12, 1940 and progressed through the ranks from Apprentice Seaman (January 1941) through Seaman Second Class (March 1941), Fireman Third Class (September 1941), Fireman Second Class (March 1942), and finally Fireman First Class (August 1942).

    Orluff served aboard the USS Monssen (DD-436) which had the distinction of serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The USS Monssen participated in several key World War II Pacific battles and missions including the Doolittle Raid, the battle of the Coral Sea, the battle of Midway, and the battle of Guadalcanal.

    At 0150 hours during the dark and early morning of November 13, 1942 , the USS Monssen along with several other U.S. Naval Ships engaged the Imperial Japanese Navy near the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal. During the early morning battle, Japanese warships spotlighted, targeted and fired on the Monssen. The attack disabled the Monssen and engulfed her in flames. Approximately twenty minutes after the attack, the Monssen was ordered abandoned. After the battle, nearby US ships rescued the survivors as the Monssen burned into the morning. "By early afternoon the Monssen sank in the waters of Iron Bottom Sound." The encounter would be one of several encounters in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

    Unfortunately, Orluff was listed among the missing and would later be declared dead by the US Navy.

    On 19 January 1943, The Standard Examiner in Ogden, Utah reported that Orluff was reported as missing in action.

    Almost a year later, on 17 December 1943, Orluff's obituary appeared in The Standard Examiner.

    This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.

    Enlistment

    The following Military Records specifies Orluff's enlistment in the US Navy on 12 November 1940.

    Orluff at Naval Receiving Station, PSNY, Bremerton, WA - Navy Muster Rolls 31 JAN 1941
    Orluff's Military Service from Enlistment to KIA, Utah State Archives

    Assignment to the USS Monssen

    • Puget Sound Naval Yard (PSNY), Bremerton, Washington and missions in the Atlantic Fleet

    On 31 January 1941 the US Navy assigns Orluff to the Puget Sound Naval Yard (PSNY), Bremerton, Washington.

    Orluff at Naval Receiving Station, PSNY, Bremerton, WA - Navy Muster Rolls 31 JAN 1941

    On 12 March 1941 the US Navy assigns Orluff to the destroyer USS Monssen and promotes Orluff from Apprentice Seaman to Seaman Second Class. Two days later on 14 March 1941 Orluff commences service aboard the Monssen.

    Orluff promoted from Apprentice Seaman to Seaman Second Class. Muster Rolls 12 MAR 1941: Orluff at Naval Receiving to USS Monssen
    Off the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, 7 May 1941. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

    The USS Monssen reports to the Atlantic Fleet 27 June 1941 and operates "for the next 5 months in the Northwestern Atlantic".

    Three days later, Orluff appears in the USS Monssen’s quarterly muster documents dated 30 June 1941.

    Orluff serving aboard the USS Monssen, 30 JUN 1941 - Navy Muster Rolls.

    On 30 September 1941, the quarterly muster document records Orluff's promotion from Seaman Second Class to Fireman Third Class. During this time the Monssen was three months into its escort and patrol duties of the northwest Atlantic.

    Orluff's promotion from Seaman Second Class to Fireman Third Class on 01 SEP 1941 - Muster Rolls 30 SEP 1941

    Pacific Fleet Assignment

    • Atlantic Fleet and Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, USA

    As the news of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor reached across the world, the Monssen's "escort and patrol duties changed from neutral to belligerent 7 December 1941." Muster rolls dated 31 December 1941 show Orluff serving aboard the USS Monssen at the time.

    Orluff serving the aboard USS Monssen, Navy Muster Rolls 31 DEC 1941

    The Monssen enters the Boston Navy Yard on 09 February 1942 "for overhaul in preparation for her transfer to the Pacific Fleet."

    Doolittle's Raid

    • Pacific Theater

    On 01 March 1942, the US Navy promotes Orluff from Fireman Third Class, to Fireman Second Class. Shortly after, on 31 March 1942, the Monssen arrives in San Francisco and joins Task Force 16 (TF 16).

    Orluff's Promotion from F3c to F2c on 01 MAR 1942, Navy Muster Rolls Dated 04 MAR 1942

    The Monssen departed San Francisco on 2 April 1942 serving "in the anti-submarine screen for the USS Hornet (CV-8) as the carrier headed for [Japan] with Lt. Col. J. H. Doolittle's B-25's on her flight deck"

    "On 18 April 1942 the carrier force was spotted by the enemy prompting an early pre-dawn launch in bad weather with an additional 168 miles to the planned 500 miles to their targets, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe."

    Following the launch, the force returned to Pearl Harbor.

    Battles of Coral Sea and Midway

    • Pacific Theater (Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, and Midway)

    While serving aboard the Monssen, Orluff and the crews of Task Force 16 participated in two notable engagements of World War II in the Pacific; The Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway.

    Battle of the Coral Sea (04 MAY 1942 - 08 MAY 1942)

    On 30 April 1942 the Monssen "aided the Yorktown (CV-5) and Lexington (CV-2) in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Reaching the scene when the Battle was over, the force returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 May 1942. On 28 May 1942 the Monssen departs Pearl Harbor to repulse an expected assault at Midway."

    USS Monssen (DD-436) passing guard mail to USS Enterprise (CV-6), during operations in the south Pacific, 19 May 1942. Official U.S.Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

    Battle of Midway (04 JUNE 1942 - 07 JUNE 1942)

    "By 02 June 1942 the Monssen as part of Task Force 16 rendezvoused with TF 17 in a position 350 miles northeast of Midway. On 04 June 1942 the Battle of Midway commenced as Japanese carrier planes flew against installations on the island. By the 7th, the American forces had won one of the decisive battles of history, sinking four carriers and one cruiser at the cost of destroyer Hammann (DD‑412) and carrier Yorktown, and profoundly changing the course of the war."

    A 30 June 1942 Muster Roll shows Orluff and fellow crew members serving aboard the Monssen.

    "After Midway the force remained at Pearl Harbor for a month before departing again for combat."

    Solomon Islands

    • Solomon Islands, South West Pacific Theater

    After a month at Pearl Harbor the Task Force "headed for the Japanese‑held Solomons."

    On 01 August 1942, the US Navy promotes Orluff from Fireman Second Class to Fireman First Class. Days later, on the 7th and 8th of August 1942 the Monssen provided fire support to the 2nd Marine Regiment's amphibious assault on Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

    Orluff's Promotion from F2c to F1c on 01 AUG 1942. Navy Muster Rolls dated 10 AUG 1942

    "The Monssen remained in the immediate area through the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, which prevented Japanese reinforcements from reaching Guadalcanal, and then took up duties patrolling the sea routes to Guadalcanal. At the end of the month Saratoga (CV‑3) was damaged and Monssen was one of the ships designated to escort her to the Tonga Islands."

    Guadalcanal Patrol - Task Group 67.4

    • Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, South West Pacific Theater

    The Monssen returned to Guadalcanal on 18 September 1942 along with two cruisers and two other destroyers as part of Task Group 67.4 under Rear Admiral Callaghan. TG 67.4 provided escort duty supporting the Marines on Guadalcanal.

    On 30 September 1942 Orluff appears on the muster rolls.

    Orluff serving aboard the USS Monssen, Navy Muster Rolls, 30 SEP 1942

    On 12 November 1942, the TG 67.4 combined with other US Navy ships to protect the US Marine and supply transports. "One of several frequent Japanese torpedo-plane attacks damaged the Monssen's fire control radar." rendering the radar inoperable.

    Despite being outnumbered, TG 67.4 "steamed back to engage the enemy in the initial action that would later be called the Naval Battle for Guadalcanal."

    Battle of Guadalcanal

    • Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Philippines, South West Pacific Theater

    On 13 November 1942, U.S. forces sighted the enemy fleet destined for Henderson Field.

    At 0150 hours during the dark and early morning of November 13, 1942 , the USS Monssen along with several other U.S. Naval Ships engaged the Imperial Japanese Navy near the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal. During the early morning battle (at approximately 0220 hours), Japanese warships spotlighted, targeted and fired hitting the Monssen "with 39 shells, three of battleship caliber". The attack disabled the Monssen and engulfed her in flames. Approximately twenty minutes after the attack, the Monssen was ordered abandoned. After the battle at approximately 0800 hours, nearby US ships rescued the survivors as the Monssen burned into the morning. "By early afternoon the Monssen sank in the waters of Iron Bottom Sound."

    Missing in Action

    • Ogden, Utah, USA
    Orluff reported Missing In Action, The Ogden Standard Examiner, 19 JAN 1943, Page 03

    The Ogden Standard Examiner ran the following story for several service members on casualty lists, including Orlum:

    Two Missing After Battles Orluff Oram and Roy O. Woody of Ogden on Casualty Lists

    Orluff Oram, 22, fireman, first class, whose name was released today as missing in action after a sea battle off Guadalcanal the last of November is the son of Alma Merrill Oram and Blanche Eliza Hunsaker of Harrisville.

    The sailor was born on June 4, 1920, in Honeyville. He attended Box Elder high school.

    Having enlisted on November 20, 1940, Fireman Oram had served in both the Atlantic and the Pacific fleets. He was on convoy duty for six months before the United States entered the war. He received his preliminary training in San Diego, Calif.

    Prior to his enlistment, he was employed by the Blackington Canning Co.

    Obituary

    • Ogden, Utah, USA
    Obituary text in The Ogden Standard-Examiner; 17 DEC 1943; Page 13

    Orluff's obituary on Page 13 of the December 17, 1943 issue of The Ogden Standard-Examiner states:

    Orluff Oram Dead, Navy Declares

    Alma Oram, of Harrisville, had been notified today by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, that his son, Orluff Oram, fireman first class, serving aboard the U.S.S. Monssen, sunk in the third battle of Savo island Nov. 13, 1942, has been officially declared dead. He was reported missing in action Dec. 18, 1942.

    Fireman Oram was born June 4, 1920, in Honeyville, the son of Alma and Blanuche Hunsaker Oram. He attended district school at Honeyville and Pegram, Idaho; also Box Elder high school. He was a member of the L.D.S. church, where he held office of priest.

    He enlisted Nov. 12, 1940.

    Survivors include his father and two sisters, Mrs. Maxine Moorhead of Harrisville and Voilet Oram of Ogden; also grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Hunsaker of Honeyville.

    Memorial services will be conducted Jan. 2 in the Harrisville ward chapel by Bishop Alphonzo Tanner.

    Sources

      Sources: Orluff Oram

      1. Birth information, religious affiliation, photo, and obituary text
        1. The Ogden Standard Examiner, 19 JAN 1943, Page 03, newspapers.com
      2. Death of brother on 13 October 1936 - Alma Vernon Oram
        1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36200346/alma-vernon-oram
      3. Death of mother on 15 December 1936 - Blanche Hunsaker Oram
        1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36200071/blanche-oram

      Sources: Enlistment

      1. 31 JAN 1941 Orluff assigned to the Puget Sound Naval Yard (PSNY), Bremerton, Washington.
        1. References to US Navy Muster Rolls: For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
      2. Military service record from the State of Utah Archives and Records
        1. Source Citation: Utah State Archives and Records Service; Salt Lake City, Utah; Military Service Cards, ca. 1898-1975; Creating Agency: Department of Administrative Services, Division of Archives and Records Service; Series: 85268; Reel: 93
        2. Source Information: Ancestry.com. Utah, Military Records, 1861-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

      Sources: Orluff's assignment to the USS Monssen

      1. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 31 JAN 1941 Orluff assigned to the Puget Sound Naval Yard (PSNY), Bremerton, Washington.
        2. On 12 MAR 1941 Orluff is promoted from Able Seaman to Seaman Second Class and assigned to the destroyer USS Monssen, at the Naval Receiving Station, Bremerton, WA, USA. Two days later (14 MAR 1941) Orluff commences service aboard the USS Monssen. Document dated 20 MAR 1941.
        3. 30 JUN 1941 Orluff, Seaman Second Class, still serving aboard the USS Monssen.
        4. 30 SEP 1941 Orluff promoted from Seaman Second Class to Fireman Third Class while aboard the USS Monssen.
      2. Text references about the USS Monssen
        1. 27 JUN 1941 The USS Monssen reports to the Atlantic Fleet and operates "for the next 5 months in the Northwestern Atlantic"
          1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
          2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
          3. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html
      3. Photo of the starboard side of the USS Monssen (DD-436)
        1. Title: USS Monssen (DD-436)
        2. Description: Off the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, 7 May 1941. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
        3. Catalog #: NH 97812
        4. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-97000/NH-97812.html

      Unused References

      1. 31 MAR 1941 A Muster Roll for the USS Monssen showing Orluff's assignment to the USS Monssen - (No Screen shot taken; reason: standard muster roll)
      2. Two other Muster Rolls for 30 SEP 1941 - (No Screen shot taken; reason: standard muster roll)

      Sources: Pacific Fleet Assignment

      1. Text reference: the Monssen's "escort and patrol duties changed from neutral to belligerent 7 December 1941."
      2. Text reference: The Monssen enters the Boston Navy Yard on 09 February 1942 "for overhaul in preparation for her transfer to the Pacific Fleet."
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html
      3. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 31 DEC 1941 Orluff, Fireman Third Class, still serving aboard the USS Monssen

      Sources: Doolittle's Raid US Navy Muster Rolls

      1. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 01 MAR 1942 Orluff promoted from Fireman Third Class to Fireman Second Class while serving aboard the USS Monssen. The muster document states the events occurred between Brooklyn, New York and Sea
      2. Quoted text references not specific to the US Navy Muster Rolls in this story pane.
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html

      Unused References

      1. 31 MAR 1942: Two Muster Roll for the same day - (No Screen shot taken; reason: standard muster rolls)

      Sources: Battles of Coral Sea and Midway

      1. All of the quoted text in this section except for the photograph, the caption and the US Navy Muster Rolls.
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html
      2. Photo of the USS Monssen taken from the USS Enterprise (CV-6) while passing guard mail.
        1. Title: USS Monssen (DD-436)
        2. Description: Passing guard mail to USS Enterprise (CV-6), during operations in the south Pacific, 19 May 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
        3. Catalog #: NH 97817
        4. URL: https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-97000/NH-97817.html
      3. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 30 JUN 1942 Orluff appears in the muster rolls serving aboard the USS Monssen

      Sources: Solomon Islands US Navy Muster Rolls

      1. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 10 AUG 1942 Orluff promoted from Fireman Second Class to Fireman First Class
      2. All of the quoted text in this section except for the US Navy Muster Rolls
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: ++https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html++

      Sources: Guadalcanal Patrol - Task Group 67.4

      1. References to US Navy Muster Rolls. For clarity, the source information for the collection of US Navy Muster rolls cited in this memorial appears near the end of this section.
        1. 30 Sep 1942 Orluff, Fireman First Class, still serving aboard the USS Monssen
      2. All of the paraphrased and quoted text in this section except for the US Navy Muster Rolls
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: ++https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html++

      Sources: Battle of Guadalcanal

      1. All of the paraphrased and quoted text in this section except for the US Navy Muster Rolls
        1. Title: Monssen I (DD-436)
        2. Site: Naval History and Heritage Command
        3. URL: ++https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monssen-i.html++

      Source Citation - US Navy Muster Rolls

      National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, United States; Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939 - 01/01/1949; Record Group: 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798 - 2007; Series ARC ID: 594996; Series MLR Number: A1 135

      Source Information

      Ancestry.com. U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.

      Original data: Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939-01/01/1949; A-1 Entry 135, 10230 rolls, ARC ID: ++594996++. Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group Number 24. National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

      Sources: Report of Missing In Action and Obituary

      1. The Ogden Standard Examiner; 17 DEC 1943; Page 13, newspapers.com
      2. The Ogden Standard Examiner, 19 JAN 1943, Page 03, newspapers.com