Callesen, Floyd Kenneth

Floyd Kenneth Callesen
Born: July 28, 1920
Hometown: Elma, WA
Class: 1942
Service: USNR
Position / Rank: Lieutenant (j.g.)
Date / Place of death: June 12, 1944 / Pacific,

Mios Woendi Lagoon
Date / Place of burial: Memorial Tablets at

Manila National Cemetery
Age: 23

 

Ensign Floyd K. Callesen, USNR reported aboard the USS Kalk (DD 611), a USS
Benson (DD 421) Class Destroyer, upon its commissioning on October 17, 1942. Over the next two years Floyd Callesen and the Kalk served in Alaskan and North Atlantic waters escorting convoys. In early 1944 the Kalk was transferred to the Pacific fleet. By June 1944, Floyd Callesen had been promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.) and assigned to duty as the Kalk’s Engineering Officer.
On June 12, 1944 the Kalk was patrolling the Mios Woendi lagoon, providing support
for several beached LST’s. At 1032, Japanese aircraft were reported in the area, and
at 1036 an enemy plane was sighted diving into the ship from the starboard quarter.
The Kalk began firing on the plane, but a bomb hit on the Kalk’s starboard side between the stacks before the Kalk’s gunners could shoot it down. The Midships Repair Party, headed by Lieutenant Callesen, was stationed exactly where the bomb hit. Almost every member of the Midships Repair Party, including Lieutenant (j.g.) Callesen, was declared “Missing in Action”.

Photo USS Kalk (DD 611)

The Kalk was able to proceed on its port engine to Hollandia, New Guinea for
emergency repairs. The ship returned to San Francisco where it was repaired and
returned to action by the end of November. A memorial plaque to the ship’s dead and
missing was placed on the Kalk during its repairs by Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, San
Francisco, the shipyard that built the ship. The USS Kalk was decommissioned after
World War II and never served again. The former USS Kalk was sunk as a target in
1969.

Photo of Memorial Aboard USS Kalk to those Killed or Missing in Action June 12, 1944

Floyd K. Callesen was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. His name is inscribed
on the Tablet of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines.

U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine Cadet Corps records indicate that Floyd K. Callesen began his “Sea Year” on May 1, 1941 serving as Engine Cadet aboard the USAT St. Mihiel and SS President Coolidge. He was appointed a Midshipman, USNR on June 13, 1941. On November 3, 1941 he was placed on Active Duty in the U.S. Navy and assigned to the Transport USS Henderson (AP 1). U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps records show that Cadet- Midshipman Calleson was considered to be eligible to sit for his Third Assistant Engineers License on or before November 30, 1942, after accumulating 505 days of sea time. However, since he reported aboard the USS Kalk as an Ensign, USNR six weeks earlier, one must conclude that he never took his Third Assistant Engineer’s License. The actual date of his graduation from Kings Point cannot be determined.

Lieutenant (junior grade) Floyd K. Callesen, USNR was posthumously awarded the
Purple Heart and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. Based on his merchant marine
service he also earned the Merchant Marine Defense Bar.
Floyd K. Callesen belongs to a very small group of about fifty Kings Point Cadet-Midshipmen that served on Active Duty in the Navy as Midshipmen during World War II. It is believed that these men were the only U.S. Navy Midshipmen to serve aboard combatant ships in combat since the days of fighting sail.

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