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US Navy Zeppelin Officers buried at Arlington National Cemetery

by Cheryl Ganz


Many famous Americans including presidents, supreme court justices, explorers, and war veterans are buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Among those interred there are several U. S. Navy airship officers who were killed in the ZR1 Shenandoah, ZR2 R38, and ZRS4 Akron rigid airship disasters. Rear Admiral William A. Moffett and Commander Frank McCord, both victims of the April 4, 1933 Akron disaster, were laid to rest in Arlington just weeks before a special Memorial Day service was held there as commemorated by these postal envelopes:


May 30, 1933 - Washington Air Mail Society cachet on mourning envelope, 1 of 118

April 13, 1934 - Anniversary memorial of the interment at Arlington National Cemetery.


Commander Louis Henry Maxfield’s gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery states that he “died near Hull, England” although it does not mention that he was a victim of the ZR2 R38 disaster.

U.S. Navy Zeppelin Commanders, Years of Airship Command

ZR1 Shenandoah
Cdr. Frank R. McCrary, 1922-1924
Lcdr. Zachary Lansdowne*, 1924-1925

ZR2 R38
Cdr. Louis H. Maxfield*, died 1921 in R38 disaster

ZR3 Los Angeles
Capt. George Steele, 1924-1926
Cdr. Jacob H. Klein, (during Steele’s illness) 1925-1926
Lcdr. Charles E. Rosendahl, 1926-1929
Lcdr. Herbert V. Wiley, 1929
Lcdr. Vincent A. Clarke, Jr., 1929-1931
Cdr. Alger H. Dressel, 1931-1932
Fred T. Berry, 1932 (decommissioned in 1932)

ZRS4 Akron
Lcdr. Charles E. Rosendahl, 1931-1932
Cdr. Alger Dressel, 1932-1933
Cdr. Frank McCord*, 1933

ZRS5 Macon
Cdr. Alger Dressel, 1933-1934
Lcdr. Herbert V. Wiley, 1934-1935

Prominent LTA Men Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Maj. Thomas Scott Baldwin*, pioneer of Army and Navy airships.
Capt. Garland Fulton*, head of Bureau of Aeronautics LTA division.
Lcdr. Lewis Hancock*, died in Shenandoah disaster.
Lt. John B. Lawrence*, died in Shenandoah disaster.
Cdre. George H. Mills*, LTA advocate.
R.Adm. William A. Moffett*, Bureau of Aeronautics, died in Akron disaster.
R.Adm. Thomas G. W. “Tex” Settle*, balloonist and airship officer.


For further reading:

Arlington National Cemetery

William O. Boss and Cheryl Ganz, “ZRS4 Akron” The American Philatelist (April 1983) 309-20.

John F. Ullmann, Mellone’s Photo Encyclopedia of U.S.S. Akron & U.S.S. Macon Event Covers (FDC Publishing, 1996).

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