On this day, May 9th, in 1942 my Great Grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Maurice Jester, sunk the German U-boat U-352 and capture the surviving crew. He was the first Coast Guardsmen to received the Navy Cross in WWII. There were only five other Coast Guard recipients of the Navy Cross during WWII.
Lieutenant Commander Maurice Jester was the commanding officer of the cutter Icarus that attacked and sank the more heavily armed U-352 off the coast of North Carolina during the Second World War. The Navy awarded Jester the Navy Cross for his actions in sinking the Nazi submarine, the second U-boat sunk by U.S. forces during the war.
Misc: First German prisoners of war taken by the United States after the declaration of war with Germany; fourth U-boat sunk by U.S.
JESTER, MAURICE D.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Maurice D. Jester, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. ICARUS (WPC-110) during a successful action on 9 May 1942, with an enemy German submarine. The conduct of Lieutenant Commander Jester throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 304 (July 1942)
Here is a photo of the Coast Guard Cutter Icarus:
SALISBURY (MARYLAND) TIMES
FINAL RITES HELD FOR HERO OF WAR
CHINCOTEAGUE, Friday, September 6, 1947 – Military gravesite services were held yesterday at 10 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Myer, Virginia, for Coast Guard Commander Maurice David Jester, 68, who had been living in Chincoteague for the past 13 years.
Commander Jester was the first person to be awarded the Navy Cross for bravery in World War II. Near the beginning of the war, he was commanding a ship which sank a German submarine off Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and captured 35 of the German crew.
Born in Chincotheague, he was the son of the late Elijah A. and Ann Elizabeth Jester. In 1917 he enlisted in the Coast Guard and served in various states until his retirement in 1944, when he returned to Chincoteague.
Commander Jester was a member of Christ Methodist Church, Accomac Lodge 243 of the AF & AM, Royal Arts Chapter 73 of the Masonic Order, and American League Post 139 all of Chincoteague. His wife, Mrs. Nora Jester, survives him.
Other survivors include five children, M. Franklin Jester of Chincotheague, Floyd Jones Jester of Miami, Florida, C. Baynard Jester of San Francisco, California, Mrs. Anna Elizabeth Croati of Boston, Massachusetts, and Mrs. Marcia Ciaque of Staten Island, New York.
Others are four brothers, all of Chincotheague, Ralph, C. Ray, Elijah A. Jr., and Edwin Jester, and nine grandchildren.
Commander Jester died August 31 in the Public Health Hospital, Baltimore, after a long illness. He had been in the hospital for a week. A short funeral service was held Monday night in the Clark Funeral Home, Chincoteague.