Joseph Gainard

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Joseph Aloysius Gainard (11 October 1889 - 23 December 1943) was a life-long seafarer who worked on board merchant vessels and also served as an officer in the United States Navy during World Wars I and II.

Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts to James Henry and Alice F. (Whalen) Gainard, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force on 23 November 1917. He received the Navy Cross for distinguished service while Master of the American merchant steamer SS City of Flint, seized by a German cruiser on the high seas on 9 October 1939 but returned to him in a Norwegian fjord on 3 November.

Recalled to active duty on 30 July 1941, he commanded the submarine decoy ship USS Big Horn (AO-45) in the Caribbean, then commanded the attack transport USS Bolivar (APA-34) in the Pacific. Illness took Captain Gainard from this duty and he died in the U.S. Naval Hospital at San Diego, California, on 23 December 1943.

Gainard was married to Ethel May Wass.


The destroyer USS Gainard (DD-706) was named in his honor.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • USS Gainard
  • Joseph A. Gainard, Yankee Skipper: The Life Story of Joseph A. Gainard, Captain of the City of Flint (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1940).