James Trumel Shepherd was born in Kentucky, the son of Robert Lewis Shepherd  and Omie Cassidy. He was one of four brothers in the armed forces. His father was a veteran of the Spanish-American war.

James Shepherd served on the U.S.S. Flusser (DD368) and the U.S.S. Smith (DD378).

Operating with the carriers U.S.S. Enterprise, U.S.S. Hornet, and the battleship U.S.S. South Dakota, on October 26, 1942, the Smith was attacked by an enemy torpedo plane soon after the Hornet and U.S.S. Porter had been hit. The plane crashed and exploded on the Smith’s forecastle, but despite the fact that her forward topside was aflame and had to be abandoned, the ship held to her screening position and fought off additional attacking planes. Twenty-nine officers and men were killed and twenty-eight missing in the attack. The Smith received the Presidential Unit Citation for the participation in this action in the Battle of Santa Cruz.

James Shepherd was seriously wounded on 26 October 1942 and died of his injuries received in action with enemy forces. He was buried at sea. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.

  • Rank: Apprentice Seaman
  • Date of birth:
  • 7 July 1925
  • Date of death: 26 October 1942
  • County: Campbell
  • Hometown: Jellico
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS Smith (DD-378)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Santa Cruz
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VII, Middle Panel
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