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|81k||Milton E. Ricketts was born in Baltimore, Md. on 5 August 1913 and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931. He graduated and was commissioned ensign 6 June 1935, and for the next 2 years, served in USS Ranger (CV 4). Ricketts next assisted in the fitting out of USS Yorktown (CV 5) and he thus became a plank owner of the carrier when she commissioned 30 September 1937. He served in her through the anxious prewar years, and when America entered the war, he took part in her raids in the Pacific in February and March 1942.
During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Yorktown came under severe Japanese bombing on 8 May 1942. Ricketts was directing the engineering repair party when a bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which he and his crew were working. All of the men were either killed, wounded, or stunned. Ricketts, mortally wounded, worked alone to open the valve to a nearby fire plug. He succeeded in leading out part of the hose and directing a stream of water into the fire before he fell dead beside it. His courageous action undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of the fire to serious proportions, and was recognized by the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor.
USS Ricketts (DE 254) (1943-1946) was the first ship named in his honor.
(U.S. Navy photo #NH 95297 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
|38k||undated wartime image||Jerry Church|
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