Ensign Stephen W. Groves USN

Stephen W. Groves, a 25 year-old Navy ensign from East Millinocket, Maine, was one of the American flyers who did not return after the day-long Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942.  Ensign Stephen W. Groves took off nine times from his carrier on that fateful day and that his was one of six American planes that fought off a vastly superior Japanese force that was trying to finish off the damaged carrier Yorktown. The small group was credited with shooting down 14 enemy planes and causing six others to retreat. 

"He fearlessly plunged into aerial combat against large formations of enemy aircraft threatening the American carriers in the Battle of Midway.   Contributing decisively to the disruption of the enemy, he continued determined counterattacks against desperate odds until, finally overcome by sheer aerial superiority, he was shot down from the skies.  He gallantly gave his life to the fulfillment of a mission important to the great victory at Midway." - Ensign Stephen W. Groves posthumously awarded Navy Cross citation.

Ensign Groves was a 1934 graduate of Schenck High School in East Millinocket and received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Maine in 1939.  He joined the Navy in December of 1940 and was commissioned in August of 1941.  He boarded the carrier USS Hornet in December of that year. The Hornet began to transport Doolittle's Bombers to Japanese waters in April 1942, setting the stage for the Battle of Midway, considered one of the most crucial allied victories of the war.

Ensign Groves was the first East Millinocket serviceman to be killed in World War II.  Today the American Legion Post in that town is named the Feeney-Groves Post, partially in his memory.  The Navy didn't forget, either, and the good people of East Millinocket kept the memory alive during the long interim.

(Courtesy of the USS Stephen W. Groves website)


Page revised Apr. 17, 2007