Roscoe Leland Fortner was born in Galveston, Texas to Glenn Silvester Fortner and Lou Verna Idol. His father served also in the U.S. Navy.

KIA 8 May 1942 Battle of Coral Sea
Shipped aboard the USS Lexington CV-2. The Lexington battle group intercepted a Japanese invasion force in the Coral Sea. Lexington was sunk by torpedo following the battle due to inability to save the ship following aerial attacks.

He is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery, the Philippines

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, June 13, 1942
A Knoxville young man was one of the very few of the Lexington’s crew who lost their lives when the carrier went down in the Coral Sea battle. According to word reaching here today. He was Seaman Roscoe L. (Tick) Fortner, 24, son of Mrs. Verna I. Fortner, of 105 Sheridan Street and of G.S. Fortner, of Cumberland Gap. The father today telephoned the family here that he had received an official message saying that Seman Fortner was killed in action and that it would be impossible to return the body to the United States. The Navy had reported that 92 per cent of the almost 2000 on the Lexington had been remove safely.
Besides the parents, young Fortner leaves a sister, Mrs. John M. Whitten, also of 105 Sheridan Street. His girl friend, Miss Margaret Compton, lives at Middlesboro, family members said. The young man spent his childhood at Cumberland Gap and later lived here, attending Rule Junior High and Knoxville High Schools. He was employed at a cement plant here before volunteering about two years ago. “Tick – that’s what everybody called him – saw his family the last time when he was home on leave from training station more than a year ago,” Mrs. Whitten, the sister, said today. “Our last letter from him (postmarked May 2, just before the battle) said that he hoped to be coming home soon.” Seaman Fortner was a storekeeper, 3rd class and might have been down inside the huge old carrier when she blew up.

  • Rank: Storekeeper Third Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 30 January 1918
  • Date of death: 8 May 1942
  • County: Claiborne
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS Lexington (CV-2)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Battle of Coral Sea
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VIII, Top Panel
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