Born: November 24, 1916
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Class: 1940 – USMMCC Cadet Officer
1939 – California Maritime Academy
Service: U.S. Naval Reserve
Position / Rank: Ensign
Date / Place of death: June 21, 1941 / San Diego, CA
Date / Place of burial: June 26, 1941 / Fort Rosecrans
National Cemetery, San Diego,
CA Officer Section A, Site 214
Ensign Richard B. Wilkie was appointed a Merchant Marine Cadet, USNR, on April 23, 1940 after his graduation from California Maritime Academy in 1939. On May 21, 1940 he signed on aboard the SS President Pierce as Cadet Officer for voyage to the Far East, including Yokohama, Japan. Upon the ship’s return to California Richard Wilkie applied to be commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After a second trip to the Far East Richard B. Wilkie accepted his appointment as Ensign, USNR on September 3, 1940. Ensign Wilkie was immediately assigned to the Repair Ship USS Medusa (AR 1),
which was located at Pearl Harbor, for duty. He was transported to Hawaii aboard the USS Tippecanoe (AO 21), and reported aboard the USS Medusa on October 4, 1940. On October 23, less than three weeks after reporting aboard the Medusa, Ensign Wilkie was
transferred to Pearl Harbor’s Naval Hospital, suffering from what would later be determined to be tuberculosis of the spine.
After initial treatment, Ensign Wilkie was transferred to the West Coast for further
treatment. He was transported aboard the USS Neches (AO 5) and reported to the
U.S. Naval Hospital, Balboa, CA on December 11, 1940. However, the treatments
available in San Diego did not cure Wilkie’s condition. As result, in June 1941 he
requested medical retirement from the U.S. Navy. However, he died at the U.S. Naval
Hospital on June 21, 1941 before this request could be processed. The cause of death
listed as tuberculosis of the spine.
Although he did not receive any U.S. Navy awards during his brief service, he earned
the Merchant Marine Defense Bar for his merchant marine service.
Richard B. Wilkie was the son of William S. Wilkie and Rose Talange Wilkie. According
to the 1920 U.S. Census he had a sister,