Name: LJG James Raymond Welsh
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 10/26/1966.
Age at death: 27.5
Date of Birth: 05/06/1939
Home City: Stroudsburg, PA
Service: reserve component of the U.S. Navy.
Unit: HC-1 DET 1
Prior Unit: USS ORISKANY
Service: U.S. Navy.
The Wall location: 11E-117
Short Summary: Died of injuries sustained during the tragic fire on the USS Oriskany.
Service number: 667196
Country: North Vietnam
MOS: 1315 = Unrestricted Line Officer (Pilot)
"Official" listing: sea casualty
Length of service: 04
Additional information about this casualty:
The fire started when a magnesium flare ignited in a ready ammo locker near frame 44 in the forward section of the ship. Shipboard fires are not uncommon, and ORISKANY's crew responded promptly and properly to this one. However, the primary firefighting tool available in the magazine area was an inexhaustable supply of salt water - but water alone cannot extinguish magnesium fires. The heat of the flare ignited other ordnance, including 5" ZUNI rocket warheads. Heavy, incapacitating smoke was rapidly drawn into the ship's ventilation system, while fireballs from exploding ordnance ignited secondary fires among fully fueled aircraft in Hangar Bay 1. The combination of toxic smoke and scattered secondary fires blocked passageways and caused numerous casualties. The Air Wing's officers were particularly vulnerable, since many of them occupied quarters in the immediate vicinity of the fires and were unable to escape to the hangar bays or flight deck. For some, the only escape route was downward into the lowest decks of the ship - but they found that the unending stream of salt water being sprayed above them drained downwards with them. In one instance, a ship's company officer who was a qualified diver donned scuba gear and swam down a vertical trunk to rescue a seaman trapped in a 7th-deck pump room. By the time the fires were controlled and extinguished, dozens of ORISKANY's Air Wing and crew were dead and hundreds more injured. Killed in HELICOPTER SUPPORT SQUADRON 1 (HC-1) were LT Josslyn F. Blakely, Jr.; LT Julian D. Hammond, Jr.; LTJG Gerald W. Siebe; LTJG James R. Welsh; and ENS Daniel O. Kern
Reason: drowned or suffocated
Casualty type: Non-hostile - died of other causes
married male U.S. citizen
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
Burial information: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, VA
This record was last updated on 08/14/2006
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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