Alfred Vernon Jannotta
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
JANNOTTA, 77, WAR HERO, IS DEAD
Won Navy Cross for Action Aboard Flaming Ship
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, June 2, 1972 – Rear Admiral Alfred Vernon Jannotta, Naval Reserve, retired, a veteran of both World Wars and winner of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for gallantry, died here Wednesday. He was 77 years old and lived in Lantana.
Admiral Jannotta, a retired corporate executive, who had been active in the management of the Jewel Tea Company, was born in Chicago on December 13, 1894, and graduated from Cornell in 1917.
His senior class at Cornell enlisted as a whole in the Navy. In World War I he came up through the ranks to Lieutenant Junior Grade. When the cruiser San Diego was torpedoed on Atlantic patrol duty, he survived eight hours in the waters before being picked up.
He began World War II as a Lieutenant Commander. On December 30, 1944, he was commanding Landing Craft Infantry Flotilla 23 in Kangarin Bay, Mindoro, in the Philippines when a kamikaze plane hit the Navy tanker Orestes ahead of him.
In the Orestes’s tanks were 50,000 gallons of high octane gas and in her holds and on her decks were 160 torpedoes.
Commander Jannotta picked up the Orestes survivors and then went alongside the burning tanker and led the first group of his men aboard the flaming ship. Eventually he put out the fire and saved the fuel and munitions. The action won him the Navy Cross.
After the Orestes incident, Commander Jannotta and his 45 small craft made feints at beaches 40 miles south of Manila to divert the enemy forces. For two nights they made passes at the beach, pinning down two Japanese divisions.
He was promoted to Rear Admiral in the reserves in 1954.
Surviving are his widow, the former Mary Broderick Lamm; two daughters, Mrs. Henry C. Nickel and Mrs. Wallace B. Mallu, and a brother, Joseph.
A gravesite service will be held Monday at
8:45 A.M. in Arlington National Cemetery.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Alfred V. Jannotta, Commander, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, LCI Flotilla TWENTY-FOUR, in action on 30 December 1944, at Mindoro, in the Philippine Islands.
The conduct of Commander Jannotta throughout
this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with
the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Posted: 23 January 2008 Updated: 26 October 2009