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NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy
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Born in Boston, Massachusetts 01 October 1882, Allen Melancthon Sumner, Jr., initially went to Harvard before securing a place in the Naval Academy. On 17 March 1907, Sumner was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Until 1909 he was stationed in turn at the Marine Barracks of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and Norfolk Navy Yard. He was then ordered to Cuba with the 1st Provisional Regiment of Marines in the Army of Cuban Pacification. In December 1909, he served on temporary duty on USS Prairie. He retired on January 1, 1914, after seven years service.
Sumner was recalled as soon as war was declared in April 1917, and began serving on active duty at Marine Barracks, Quantico, on 05 July 1917. When the 1st Machine Gun Battalion (MGB) was formed in August, Sumner was assigned to 81st Company. Sumner's war record is as follows: Sailed from New York on 14 December 1917, on USS DeKalb, arriving in St Nazaire on 31 December. Sumner trained in the Vosges and was in the front lines in March at Mont-sur-la-Cote on the Verdun Front. On 29 April, relieved Major Waller in Command of 81st Company when Major Waller was transferred to the 3rd Division to command the 8th MGB. Participated in the action at Belleau Wood and when Major Cole was wounded on 10 June, and Captain Major became battalion commander in his stead (himself to fall five days later), Sumner took his place in command of the right front.
Captain Sumner's death occurred a month later on 19 July, at Vierzy, near Soissons, where the 6th MGB was to take part in the attack on Tigny. He was hit by a fragment of a High Explosive shell and killed instantly. Later it was debated whether he had instead fallen during an air raid. Captain Sumner received the Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star as well as 3 Silver Star Citations. He is buried in Plot A, Row 13, Grave 25 in the American Cemetery at Belleau.
|USS Sumner (DD-333)
|190k||Undated, location unknown. Photo from the collection of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.||Darryl Baker|
|97k||Undated, in Hawaiian waters.||Tommy Trampp|
Sumner (DD-333) Thansgiving Menu, 24 November 1921. Rueben C. Thomas, Fireman 2nd Class, listed in the crew on the menu's last page, was the contributor's grandfather.
|138k||Destroyer Division 36 in San Francisco, circa 1922.||Terry D. Tull|
|175k||Mare Island Navy Yard, California. Six destroyers docked at one time in the Yard's concrete Dry Dock # 2, during the period June 15 to July 14 1922. These ships are all members of Destroyer Division 36. The three in front are (from left to right): USS Farenholt (DD-332), USS Sumner (DD-333) and USS Hull (DD-330), in the back row are USS MacDonough (DD-331), USS Corry (DD-334) and USS Melvin (DD-335). The drydock's dimensions, as given on the photograph, are 740 feet in length and 120 feet in width, with 30 feet of water over the sill. Courtesy of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1970. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.||Fred Weiss|
|93k||October 14, 1922 in San Francisco.||Terry D. Tull|
|289k||The ship's crew October 14, 1922 in San Francisco.||Terry D. Tull|
|168k||"Dress Ship" decoration for Washington's Birthday 22 February 1924 in Target Bay, Culebra, West Indies. (L-R) Identifiable ships are from left to right: (far left) USS La Vallette (DD-315), USS Hull (DD-330), USS Sumner (DD-333), (between Hull & Noa in the background) USS Mervine (DD-322), (behind Hull) USS Mullany (DD-325), (center) S-20 (SS-125) directly behind the submarine is the flagship USS Procyon (AG-11).||Robert M. Cieri|
|194k||USS Cuyama (AO-3) fueling the destroyer USS Sumner (DD-333) while under way circa 1925. The fueling gear appears to have been jury-rigged by securing the hose to the oiling boom. Note how close the ships are to one another as they steam side by side separated by only 20 feet or so. This type of operation could only be conducted in smooth seas as indicated from the photograph. Naval Historical Center. Image from Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy 1912-1992 by Thomas Wildenburg.||Robert Hurst|
|53k||Circa the middle or later 1920s, location unknown.||Fred Willshaw, USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) Reunion Association/Robert Hurst|
|40k||USS Sumner (DD-333) and USS Corry (DD-334) in the Panama Canal circa 1929.||Shapley R. Hunter IV|
LCDR Donald Bradford Beary May 27 1921 - Sep 11 1923 (Later VADM) LCDR Richard Walter Wuest Sep 11 1923 - Aug 8 1926 LCDR Cleveland McCauley Aug 8 1926 - Jun 1 1927 LCDR William Joseph Butler Jun 1 1927 - May 5 1930
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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright|