Laurice Aldridge Tatum

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Laurice Aldridge Tatum
Born (1894-12-07)December 7, 1894
Chambers County, Alabama
Died September 15, 1942(1942-09-15) (aged 47)
Buried at At sea
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Naval Reserve
Years of service 1917–1919, 1928–1942
Rank Lieutenant Commander
Unit USS Wasp (CV-7)
Awards Silver Star

Laurice Aldridge Tatum (7 December 1894 – 15 September 1942) was a dentist and officer of the United States Navy during World War II.


Tatum was born on 7 December 1894 in Chambers County, Alabama. He enlisted in the Navy at Atlanta, Georgia, on 29 June 1917 as a hospital apprentice. Following training at San Francisco, he served at the Naval Hospital in Fort Lyon, Colorado, and in the receiving ship at Norfolk, Virginia. On 15 October 1918, he was transferred to USS Alabama (Battleship No. 8), in which he served until 28 May 1919. Pharmacist's Mate 2d Class Tatum completed his enlistment at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia and was honorably discharged at Atlanta, Ga., on 18 August 1919.

During the ensuing nine years, he attended Atlanta Southern Dental College, Atlanta, Ga., and received his degree as a doctor of dental surgery. On 9 August 1928, Dr. Tatum was appointed an assistant dental surgeon in the United States Naval Reserve.

Late in August 1940, Lieutenant Commander Tatum reported to Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va., for active duty. He was serving in Wasp (CV-7) on 15 September 1942, as that aircraft carrier and Hornet (CV-8) were covering the movement of reinforcements from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal. When Wasp was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, Lt. Comdr. Tatum was among those trapped in the carrier's forecastle, cut off from the rest of the ship by raging flames. Rather than trying to save himself by jumping overboard, Tatum remained in the carrier to aid and comfort the wounded. He apparently went down with the ship when she sank.[1] For his "gallant and intrepid conduct," Lt. Comdr. Tatum was awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously.


In 1943, the destroyer escort USS Tatum (DE-789) was named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mr. Grog (2012-02-22). "Tranquillity, Solace & Mercy: U.S. Navy Ships Named after Navy Medical Personnel". Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.