Who was Charlie Devens? – Update

He said he was an old man of 33 when he came aboard Intrepid in 1943 as the Flight Deck officer. He was awarded a Bronze Star. He had graduated Harvard, but he said “all he wanted to do was play baseball.” He passed away in 2003 at 93.”

Charles Devens (January 1, 1910 in Milton, Massachusetts – August 13, 2003 in Scarborough, Maine), was a Major League Baseball pitcher after pitching at Harvard (1932-1934). While pitching for Harvard he signed up in 1932 to the New York Yankees. At 92 years of age, Devens   was the oldest surviving member of the famed 1932 world champion Yankees, and he recalled with great detail the now famous Babe Ruth’s ‘Called Shot’.  After leaving the Yankees in 1934, Devens’ Major league career was cut  short by his future father-in-law who refused to have a ball player as a  son-in-law. After his departure from the big leagues Devens established his reputation as a standout businessman in Boston. Given his short 3-year career Charlie Devens was only able to amass 82 innings pitched with only one start in 1934. At the conclusion of his career, Charlie held a 5 and 3 record with 31 strikeouts and a 3.73 ERA.

Charles, whose great-uncle Charles Devens was a Civil War hero and the person for whom Ft. Devens in Ayer, MA, was named, served in the Navy during WWII. He was a flight deck officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, which was the target of an intense Japanese attack on November 25, 1944. According to his Bronze Star citation: “Endangered by fire, suffocation, and exploding ammunition, he let … and was to a large extent responsible for those fires being brought under control.”
Submitted by FCM/Past USS Intrepid Association president, Bob Dougherty
Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us
Update info provided by Mr. David Read, UDO Research Library Manager, Research/Alumni Affairs & Development,
 The Harvard Campaign and obtained
via Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Holdings, Saint Louis


Charles Devens dates of service … Feb 16, ’42 to Oct 15, ’53
Lieutenant Commander Assignments and Geographical Locations:
Feb 21, ’42 to Apr 20, ’42 – Quonset Point, RI Apr 20, ’42 to Jun 23, ’42 – Norfolk, VA Feb 25, ’43 to Jun 29, ’43 – New York, NY Jun 29, ’43 to Jun 29, ’45 – USS Intrepid (CV11) Jun 29, ’45 to Aug ’45
 Naval War College Decorations and Awards
Atlantic Theatre Campaign Medal, Pacific Theatre Campaign Medal w/6 service stars, Commendation Ribbon, Bronze Star
Place of Separation – Newport, RI Award United States Pacific Fleet Third Fleet – 126748
“The Commander, Third Fleet, United States Pacific Fleet, takes pleasure in commending Ensign Charles Deven, United States Naval Reserve for service as set forth in the following citation:
For outstanding service as Flight Deck Officer aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid on 29 Oct, ’44
While Lt. Devens was engaged in landing aircraft, his ship was attacked by a group of enemy aircraft and he rendered valuable assistance in combating a fire which resulted and in removing casualties. His conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
W.F. Halsey, Admiral, U.S. Navy, Commander Third Fleet Dated May 1, ’45
Commendation Ribbon authorized
Non-Classified Finished File PERS 328 March 12, 1947 Ref: 126748
“The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal
to Lieutenant Commander Charles Devens, United States Naval Reserve
for service as set forth in the following Citation:
“For heroic achievement as Flight and Hangar Deck Officer of the U.S.S. Intrepid,
in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area, November 25, 1944.
When two Japanese suicide planes with bombs struck the deck of his carrier and started intense fires, Lieutenant Commander (then Lieutenant) Devens directed fire fighting parties on the flight deck
and gallery decks amidst smoke and exploding ammunition.
His courage and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Commander Devens
and the United States Naval Service.
Lieutenant Commander Devens is authorized to wear the Combat “C”
For the President
Secretary of the Navy
copy to pers101 public relations navy dept
ref: com2ndcartaskforpac ser0903
Fitness Reports Finished Filed Pers-101
To facilitate Administrative Handling Classification changed to Unclassified – Pers 823, Officer Personnel Files “
Presidential Award
“In the name of the President of the United States,
the Commander, Second Carrier Task Force, United States Pacific Fleet,
presents the Bronze Star Medal to Lieutenant Charles Devens United States Naval Reserve
for service as set forth in the following Citation (126748)
“For distinguishing himself by heroic and meritorious achievement while serving as Flight and Hangar Deck Officer aboard an aircraft carrier during the action on 25 November 1944.
Lt. Devens with complete disregard for his own personal safety, endangered by fire, suffocation, and exploding ammunition,
lead and directed fire parties fighting fires on Flight and Gallery Decks
and was to a large extent responsible for these fires being brought under control and extinguished.
His heroism, devotion to duty, fearlessness, and maritorious achievement, were at all times
in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
J.S. McCain
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy Commander 2nd Car Task Force
Serial 0903, Jan 12, /45 Temporary Citation Fitness Report/Finished File Pers 823/328
UPDATE #2  – May 29, 2014
Below is a  proper citation for the Deven’s material from NARA.
Note that the citation will be changing in October of ’15.

 “Charles Devens was completely separated from the Navy (Naval Reserve status) on October 15, 1953.  His OMPF, therefore, will not transfer into the holdings of the National Archives until October 15, 2015, 62 years after separation from service.   In view of this, the last element in the citation shown below will be “National Personnel Records Center” until 10/15/2015, at which time the last part of the citation should be changed to read: National Archives at St. Louis.  We would be grateful if the folks at the Intrepid Museum follow through and make this change on 10/15/2015.  Doing so will avoid confusion in the future, should anyone want access to the file after that date.”

At the present time, here is the correct way to cite the material furnished, i.e, the copy of Bronze Star award citation that we sent:


 “Official Military Personnel File of Charles Devens; Official Military Personnel Files, Record Group 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel; National Archives and Records Administration–National Personnel Records Center”


 “Official Military Personnel File of Charles Devens; Official Military Personnel Files, Record Group 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel; National Archives and Records Administration–National Archives at St. Louis.”



70th Anniversary Reunion – TV Broadcast

FCMs…if you missed the recent viewing on the NY TV Station WPIX-TV, (PIX 11) of the Intrepid’s 70th Anniversary and Reunion Celebration, go to http://pix11.com/?s=uss+intrepid+#axzz2kmGxE8t8

Believe this editor…you don’t want to miss this!

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

In the Middle of the Country…

“In the middle of the country, in the middle of the century” – By Bob Greene

In the house where I grew up, there was a portrait hanging on the wall of the first floor, not far from the kitchen. It wasn’t a famous painting, not the work of a well-known artist. In fact, even though, in my mind’s eye, it is the most memorable portrait I have ever encountered, I still have no idea of precisely who held the brush and applied the oil to the canvas.

I do know that the portrait was done in Italy, during WWII, and that the artist was an Army buddy of my father’s. Apparently this man enjoyed painting portraits for his fellow soldiers in the 91st Infantry Division, and he did them during down moments in the long months the 91st spent in North Africa and Italy in 1944 and 1945. The artist’s subject – the man whose face looks off the canvas – was my dad.

He virtually never spoke about the painting; it was on the wall of our house all during my childhood, and later, when he and my mother moved to another house, they took it with them. Today the portrait hangs on a wall in the house where my mother lives by herself, now that he is dead.

The years of the war were – I now know – the most important and affecting of his life, the years of which he was the very proudest. If you were to have asked him – which I don’t think we ever did – what was the best accomplishment of his lifetime, I’m quite certain he would have said, without hesitation: serving in the United States Army in the greatest conflict in the history of man.

Not that he was a hero, or a renowned soldier; he was neither. He was there. That was enough – he, like all those American soldiers and sailors and airmen of the war years, was there. He knew he did not face the daily peril that the frontline guys, the dogfaces, did, and he never pretended that it was otherwise. But he was there – in Africa, in Italy, on the long march through the Apennine mountains and, when the victory in Europe was won, back through Bologna and Florence and Naples – and it was the period of his  manhood that mattered most. It was – un-sentimentally – the time of his life.

Perhaps, when he was alone with our mother, he spoke in detail of those days and nights, but to us children he talked of the war only in the most general of ways. It was almost as if he thought he would bore us if he told us war stories; it was almost as though he didn’t want us to think him tedious.

Just Another War

“Future generations may dismiss the Second World War as ‘just another war”. Those who experienced it know that it was a war justified in its aims and successful in accomplishing them. Despite all the killing and destruction that accompanied it, the Second War War was a good war.” – A.J.P. Taylor


Intrepid Remembered Website Update

FCMs, go to my ‘Intrepid Remembered’ Website at http://cv11texfcm.wix.com/intrepid-remembered and take note of the two new LINKS that I’ve provided for your interest (‘Old News Update’ and ‘In Search Of ‘) … or … just type ‘Intrepid Remembered’ in your search window and click on the first LINK presented… then … enjoy.

John Simonetti, Editor