Monday, April 30, 2018

WW2 USNA Fallen - Silver Star submariner hero Donald Scheu, USS Scorpion

Lt. Donald Scheu served on the USS Lexington and the USS Scorpion.
Donald Stone Scheu never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 30, 1918 in New York. His father Edward was most likely from Canada. I don't know where his mother Margarette was born. His father worked as an executive for the Union Explosives Company. Donald had one older brother, two younger brothers, and one younger sister. Donald was accepted to the US Naval Academy where he was the sailing team captain and graduated with the Class of 1940.

He served on the carrier USS Lexington during the Battle of Coral Sea and was part of the valiant but unsuccessful efforts to stop the internal fires that would result in the loss of Lexington on May 8, 1942. He transferred to the submarine arm of the Navy and became a lieutenant and the acting executive officer on the USS Scorpion in the Pacific Theater. Scorpion was launched in July 1942. During Scorpion's first three missions it sunk and damaged numerous enemy ships (24,000 tons sunk, 16,000 tons damaged).

Scorpion left Pearl Harbor on its final mission on December 29, 1943. Its assigned patrol area was  the East China and Yellow Seas. It was last seen on January 5, 1944 about 500 miles west of Midway Island. Scorpion has never been found and no Japanese records suggest it was sunk by Japanese actions. It is most likely that it was sunk by a mine.

Scheu was posthumously advanced in rank to lieutenant commander and was awarded the Silver Star with the following citation: 

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Donald S. Scheu (NSN: 0-85047), United States Navy, for gallantry in action while serving as Gunnery Officer aboard a United States Submarine during war patrols in enemy-controlled waters during World War II. Lieutenant Scheu performed his duties courageously and with expert skill, thereby contributing to the sinking or damaging of many thousands of tons of enemy shipping.

Other sources indicate that he also was awarded the Navy Cross and Bronze Star, but I could find no details.

His cenotaph grave is at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York.

Thank you Donald for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Donald.

Last year on this date I profiled Norman LaPointe, 84th Infantry Division, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. You can read about Norman here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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