||Electrician's Mate, First Class
||223 59 97
||August 15, 1918
||Auburn, New York
||USS Pompano (SS-181)
||September 17, 1943
||Off the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan
||Lost at sea, cause unknown
|| Fred Joseph Kirschbaum was born in Schenectady, New
York, and grew up in Yonkers, before taking a job after high
school as an electrician's apprentice in Auburn in upstate
New York. Fred became active in Salvation Army youth
programs and even joined the brass band.
In the fall of 1939 Fred joined the Navy, continuing his occupation as an electrician, and by the summer of 1940 he was stationed as an electrician's mate on the submarine USS Pompano. Fred was onboard the Pompano when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he served on all seven of the vessel's war patrols.
When the Pompano returned to Mare Island for a complete overhaul in December 1942, Fred and Elizabeth Zeigler, his sweetheart from Elmira, New York, were married in Reno on December 9th by Salvation Army Captain Victor Newbould.
They spent the next two weeks honeymooning in San Francisco. Despite historical reports that Pompano set sail for Hawaii on December 18th or 19th, Pompano's Commanding Officer, CDR W. M. Thomas, was determined that his men would spend Christmas with friends and family.
He even personally delivered a turkey to Fred and on
Christmas Eve Fred brought the turkey home to his apartment
in San Francisco for Elizabeth to prepare for Christmas
Fred and Elizabeth said their good-byes on December 27th and wrote letters to each other for eight months as married sweethearts. They never saw each other again.
Photo, information, and remarks courtesy of Randy Kinnamon (son
of Fred Kirschbaum's widow).
Pre-WWII Post-WWII Sources
Kirschbaum, Fred Joseph