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Stump, Felix Budwell (1894-1972)


Photograph of Felix B. Stump

Naval Historical Center #NH 69403. Cropped by author.

Felix Stump served on convoy escort duty in the Atlantic during the First World, qualified as a naval aviator in 1920, and then earned an M.S. degree from MIT in aeronautical engineering. He was serving as captain of Langley at Manila when war broke out and he was ordered to escape to Australia. He held shore assignments with the short-lived ABDA command and on the U.S. West Coast before taking command of the second Lexington.

Stump was solicitous of his airmen, once signaling a submarine that had rescued six of his fliers that "Anything on Lexington is yours for the asking. If it is too big to carry away, we will cut it up in small parts." He had a reputation for being slow to anger, but took an admiral to task in the 1930s for a perceived insult to his air group.

Stump was promoted to rear admiral in May 1944 and commanded Task Unit 77.4.2 at Leyte Gulf. His unit was far enough south to avoid damage when Kurita broke through San Bernardino Strait and fell upon Clifton Sprague's unit further to the north. Stump had no use for false bravado; once his aircraft were all launched, he commented that (Cutler 1994):

When I was at the Academy as a midshipman, we used to talk about the deathless statements of our old naval heroes, and I've often wondered just what sort of deathless statement I would make at the appropriate time. The one that sticks in my mind is that of John Paul Jones, who said, "No naval commander makes a tactical error in laying his ship alongside that of the enemy." John Paul Jones to the contrary, notwithstanding, the time has come to get the hell out of here.

Service record

1894-12-15     

Born at Perkersburg, West Virginia
1917-5
Ensign     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 59th in a class of 182.
1920

Flight school
1937
Commander Maintenance Division, Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department
1940
     
Executive officer, CV Enterprise
1941-9
Captain
Commander, AV Langley
1942-1

Commander, ABDACOM Combined Operations Center
1942-6

Air officer, Western Sea Frontier
1942-12

Commander, CV Lexington
1944-5
Rear admiral     
Commander, Carrier Division 24
1945-6

Chief, Naval Air Technical Training
1948-12
Vice admiral
Commander, Naval Air, Atlantic Fleet
1951

Commander, 2 Fleet
1953-7-10
Admiral
Commander, Pacific Fleet
1955-3

Military advisor, SEATO
1958-2

Commander, Pacific Fleet
1958-8-1

Retires
1972-6-13

Dies at McLean, Virginia


References

Boatner (1996)

Cutler (1994)
Pettibone (2006)

Tillman (2012)
Tuohy (2007)


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