Gust J. Swenning
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|Gust J. Swenning|
August 2, 1917|
|Died||December 1, 1942
near Solomon Islands
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1938–1942|
|Unit||New Orleans (CA-32)|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Tassafaronga|
|Awards||Navy Cross (posthumous)|
After participation in the defense of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, and operations off Guadalcanal and in the Solomon Islands, Swenning was still serving in New Orleans on 30 November 1942. That night, Japanese naval forces began the Battle of Tassafaronga, Solomon Islands.
Swenning was a member of the Forward Repair Party when New Orleans was struck by a torpedo which detonated the forward magazines. He unhesitatingly dived through the oil and water in a flooded compartment to close a watertight door. In further efforts to assist in bringing the damaged ship to port, he labored tirelessly and continuously for twelve hours after the cessation of the action. His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Swenning died on 1 December 1942 and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
USS Swenning (DE-394) was named in his honor. The ship was laid down on 17 July 1943 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas; launched on 13 September 1943; sponsored by Miss Hertha Rhode; and commissioned on 1 December 1943, LT Richard E. Peek, Jr., USNR, in command.
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