Lieutenant (junior grade) Robert Paul Francis Enright, USNR,
was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1916.
In 1938 he graduated from St. Joseph's College in
Philadelphia receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then spent a year
at the University of Pennsylvania Law School before enlisting in the US
Naval Reserve V-7 Officer program on July 20, 1940.
He was sent to the US Naval Reserve Midshipman's School at
Northwestern University, receiving a commission as an Ensign on March 14,
Lt. Enright reported to Mare Island, San Francisco, California and
from there saw extensive duty in the South Pacific.
On May 4, 1942
Battle of the Coral Sea, Lt. Enright served as officer-in-charge of a boat sent to rescue two
downed aviators on the Japanese-occupied island of
While screening the carriers during the air raids of 4 May, USS Hammann was
directed to rescue two fighter pilots downed on Guadalcanal, some 40 miles
(65 km) to the north. Steaming at full speed, the destroyer arrived at
dusk and sighted a marker on the beach, which proved to be a parachute.
The motor whaleboat was put over the side, but dangerous surf prevented it
from landing. Consequently, the pilots were recovered with the use of
lines from the boat. This accomplished, an attempt was made to destroy the
wreckage of the aircraft, but the rough water made this impossible, and USS
Hammann returned to aircraft carrier USS Lexington's screen from this
successful operation that night. From his actions, Lt. Enright was
recognized for his extremely heroic and courageous conduct.
On June 6, 1942, in the South Pacific during the Battle of
Midway Lt. Enright's destroyer, the
assisting the bomb-damaged aircraft carrier
USS Yorktown (CV-5).
During this operation Lt. Enright was killed-in-action when the USS Hammann
was torpedoed and sunk by
For Lt. Enright's heroic duty at Guadalcanal, he
was posthumously awarded the
and Marine Corps Medal.
As a result of being killed-in-action
during the sinking of the USS Hammann, Lt. Enright was posthumously awarded the
His mother, Katherine Enright Christened the USS Enright, named in honor of her
son, on May 29, 1943, in their home state of Pennsylvania at the
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
attended the Commissioning ceremony on September 21, 1943, also at the
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
June 3, 1943
USS Hammann (DD-412) sinking after being torpedoed by
I-168 during the Battle of
Midway on June 6, 1942. Photo taken from the aircraft carrier
USS Yorktown (CV-5).
Information courtesy of "Dictionary of American Naval
Fighting Ships" (1969). USS Hammann action during the Battle of the
Coral Sea and USS Hammann photo courtesy of
and the US National Archives.
Robert Enright photo courtesy of Joel Frampton Gilfert at
JFG Victory Verlag & Militaria Archive
Comments from a USS Hammann shipmate
I knew Robert Enright when he was a Lieutenant and Deck
Officer on the USS Hammann. I did not have much contact with him,
as I was in fire room.
About the same time as his pick up of the two American
pilots on enemy beach at Guadalcanal, we sank a small Japanese
ship between Guadalcanal and
Tulagi. He put out in our
whaleboat to pick up
one or two Japs for information. When one of our men, BM Jassen put his
hand down to pull him [Japanese soldier from sunken troop ship] aboard, the
guy slashed his arm real bad. Jassen drew his 45-caliber revolver and
put one in his head.
Yes, Robert Enright was well liked and had all our respect
as a man among men. I was very proud to hear they named a ship after him.
Proud to have served with him.
--- USS Hammann shipmate/survivor Jay Plaisted of Portland
Oregon; as told to Lt. Robert Enright's cousin Jim Enright.
Robert Enright was born in Bradford,
Pennsylvania on September 28, 1916. Bradford is located in northern
Pennsylvania, very close to the New York state border. Bradford is the
home of the famous
Bob was one of five children of Mark V. and Katherine
Chase Enright. Bob had two sisters Mary and Angela, as well as two
brothers, Vincent and John (who passed away at age 16). The Enright family home (which still
stands today) was at 9 Elm Street in Bradford.
Bradford, Pennsylvania is in the heart of the oil region of the state.
The Enrights (Bob's father Mark Enright and Mark's two siblings) were oil
producers, with oil leases on several properties in the mountains
surrounding the town. The oil production provided modest incomes
for all three families.
Bob Enright was an avid Boy Scout and
His father Mark passed away in 1930, when Bob was 14
Bob had lots of liveliness, personality, and energy. Bob's older
brother Vincent (more commonly known by his middle name Les) became a priest in the Roman
Catholic church. Fr. Les told the story that when he was studying for
the priesthood and would be visiting home, Bob would dress up in his
brother's priest vestments and swish around to the family's mixed horror and
amusement. On one occasion Bob answered the door in the vestments and
horrified a neighbor lady.
Bob graduated from St. Bernard high school in Bradford.
He was the Class President and played right guard on the football team.
Bob's yearbook photo from his senior year, 1934
As was common during the 1930's, Bob's high school yearbook contains many
humorous items and sayings. Listed below are several items which
relate to Bob, taken from his senior year yearbook, "The Gist."
"What's Left of Us"
Robert Enright leaves his mechanicalĖtinkering talent to John
Hannon and Robert Flaherty.
"Seniors' and Teachers' Favorite Expressions"
Bob Enrightó"Oh, yeah"
"Our Pick for the Seniors"
Our law breakeróBob Enright
"Why Teachers get Gray"
Is it because of Bob Enright's dropping his ring in
"Do you remember"
When William Doughery and Bob Enright weren't
When Bob Enright didn't have toys in school?
"Seniors and Books"
Robert Enright, William Engel, Leonard McCarthy,
William HoganóThe Four Horsemen
"Can you imagine"
Robert Enright agreeing with Sister Joseph Mary?
"Radio and Screen Resemblances"
Robert EnrightóJimmy Cagney
"Believe it or not"
Father Ward: "Tell me about The Flood and the landing
of the Ark on Mount Ararat." Robert Enright: "Father, I haven't seen
the paper for two days."
Family stories always had it that Bob's social life cut a wide swath
through his college years.
When WWII came around, Bob had grown up and didn't hesitate to answer the
call. His energy and leadership qualities served him and his country
-- Youth and family stories courtesy of Kathie Enright
Boucher and Mardi Karr.
-- High school information, yearbook photo, and yearbook
anecdotes courtesy of: Bradford Landmark Society
and Bradford Public Library