Task Unit 77.4.2 (Taffy II)
Commander Carrier Division 27

U.S. Navy photograph

Rear Admiral William D. Sample, U.S. Navy



LOM.jpg Legion of Merit (4)
CAR.jpg Combat Action Ribbon
PUC.jpg Presidential Unit Citation
ADM.jpg American Defense Service Medal
ACM.jpg American Campaign Medal
APCM.jpg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
WW2VM.jpg World War II Victory Medal
national_defense_SM.jpg National Defense Service Medal
PPUC.jpg Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
PLM.jpg Philippine Liberation Medal
Award Criteria


- 1898 Born in Buffalo, New York
MIDN 1915-1918 Student at U.S. Naval Academy Annapolis
ENS 1918 USS Henderson (AP-1)
ENS 1921-1922 USS Pampanga (PG-39)
ENS 1922 Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, NAS Pensacola, Florida
LTJG 1922-1923 Naval Flight Training, NAS Pensacola, Florida
LT 1923 Instructor at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida
LT 1923 Scouting Squadron VS-1
LT 1924 USS Raleigh (CL-7)
LT 1925-1926 USS Richmond (CL-9)
LT 1926-1927 USS Arizona (BB-39)
LT 1928-1929 USS New York (BB-34)
LT 1930-1931 USS Saratoga (CV-3)
LT 1932-1934 Fighter Squadron VF-5 embarked in USS Lexington (CV-2)
LCDR 1935-1937 Bureau of Aeronautics
LCDR 1938 Navigator in USS Ranger (CV-4)
CDR 1939 Air Operations Officer in USS Yorktown (CV-5)
CDR 1940 Supervisor of Aviation Training at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida
CDR 1941-1942 USS Santee (CVE-29) at Operation Torch
CAPT 1944 USS Intrepid (CV-11)
CAPT 1944 USS Hornet (CV-12) at Marianas
RADM 1944 COMCARDIV 27 with flag in USS Marcus Island (CVE-77) at Palau
RADM 1944 COMCARDIV 27 with flag in USS Marcus Island (CVE-77) at Samar
RADM 1945 COMCARDIV 27 with flag in USS Marcus Island (CVE-77) at Lingayen
RADM 1945 COMCARDIV 22 with flag in USS Suwanee (CVE-27) at Okinawa
RADM 1945 Died in plane crash near Wakayama, Japan


Short biography of
Rear Admiral William Dodge Sample, U.S. Navy

William Dodge Sample was born in Buffalo, New York, on March 9, 1898.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in June 1918.

During World War 1 he served aboard USS HENDERSON (AP-1).  For meritorious service during a fire on board that ship he received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.  Detached in August 1918, he served on several destroyers based at Queenstown, Ireland.  He remained in the European Waters Detachment after the end of World War 1.

In December 1921 Sample was transferred to the gunboat PAMPANGA (PG-39), on the Asiatic Station.

He attended flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola and was designated a Naval Aviator on June 23, 1923.  Shortly thereafter he served as Commanding Officer of Scouting Squadron VS-1.

In the 1920s he successively served in the Aviation Departments of USS RALEIGH (CL-7), USS RICHMOND (CL-9), USS ARIZONA (BB-39), and USS NEW YORK (BB-34).

Sample served on board the carriers SARATOGA (CV-3) and LEXINGTON (CV-2), commanding Fighter Squadron VF-5 on the latter from 1932 to 1934.

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Sample saw duty at the Bureau of Aeronautics from 1935 to 1937 followed by duty as Navigator in the aircraft carrier RANGER (CV-4) in 1938.

In 1939 Sample was assigned as Air Operations Officer in USS YORKTOWN (CV-5).  His last duty before World War 2 was as Supervisor of Aviation Training at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.

After the outbreak of World War 2, he assisted in the conversion of SANTEE (CVE-29) and was promoted to Commander.  Assuming command of that escort carrier on its commissioning, he was awarded a letter of commendation for service during Operation Torch; the invasion of North Africa.

Captain Sample assumed command of INTREPID (CV-11) on April 19, 1944.  In May 1944 he was transferred to the command of HORNET (CV-12) and in the ensuing months participated in operations in the Marianas and in strikes against the Volcano Islands.

In late summer 1944 he was promoted to Rear Admiral.  Sample's flag was in USS Marcus Island (CVE-77) as Commander Carrier Division 27 for the invasion of Palau.  In October 1944 at Leyte Gulf his command was part of Task Unit 77.4.2 (Taffy II) at the Battle off Samar under Rear Admiral Felix B. Stump. 

In early 1945 Commander Carrier Division 27 and Marcus Island (CVE-77) supported the invasion of Lingayen, Philippines.   For the Okinawa invasion Sample moved his flag to Carrier Division 22 and USS Suwanee (CVE-27).

Shortly after the war ended Sample was tragically listed as missing on October 2, 1945 after his plane failed to return from a familiarization flight near Wakayama, Japan.  Rear Admiral Sample was officially declared dead on October 3, 1946.

William Dodge Sample was the youngest rear admiral in the Pacific theater.

USS SAMPLE (FF-1048) was commissioned on March 23, 1968.

Source:  Robert Jon Cox independent research

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