Otis Lee Dennis, USS Enterprise



RM3c Otis Dennis was killed in action February 1, 1942 when, SBD Dauntless dive bomber 6-S-11,  piloted by LT(jg) Carleton "Misty" Fogg was shot down during the Scouting Six strike from the USS Enterprise on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands .


From the 1941 USS Enterprise schedules for training and operations, it appears that Otis Dennis made his first flight in a SBD Dauntless dive bomber with LT(jg) Vose on 17 April 1941 to "see if he could withstand the rigors of dive bomber operations".   He apparently could because on that same date he started training in aerial gunnery and as radioman. On 21 April 1941 he made his first flight with ENS Carleton Fogg. He was rotated with several pilots after that and ended up eventually as full time gunner for ENS Fogg. They died together on 1 February 1942 in the first retaliation raids after Pearl Harbor, against Japanese fortifications in the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll.                                                                                                       jvh

(click here: 1 Feb 1942, last battle for Otis Dennis and Carleton Fogg and the search for the plane). 


















Radiomen from VS-6
Otis Dennis, middle row, second from right.










Above postings are from Dennis Archives
and some improved scans courtesy of  K Stauffer


LORAINE (Mrs. C. J. Andrews),
ELIZABETH (Mrs. Elmer Hancock).


Christening the ship is Mattie Dennis.  The two ladies with
her are her daughters, Loraine and Elizabeth (white hat), Otis
Dennis' sisters..
December 1943


Pictures from Dennis Archives

Pictures USS Dennis DE 405

Jeff Von Holten,  jeffvh@aol.com
Columbus, Ohio
kindly offered the following documents in the next rows from his archives.  His father served on the USS Dennis. See his letter at the bottom of the page. We thank him for his very generous contributions to the story of the USS Dennis.





Morning  Search

12/7/41 morning search assignments
placing Fogg and DENNIS in plane

Action Report
(click left)
Report of ENS C.T. Fogg of Fogg/Dennis action during Pearl Harbor Attack. 

Action on 07 Dec  1941
Scouting squadron 6 planes were ordered from EWA to Hickam field
(6-S-11 couldn't follow due to action damage)



 SBD Dauntless dive bomber piloted
by LT(jg) Carleton Fogg, with
Otis Dennis as Radioman/Gunner.




Letters Mattie and Elizabeth wrote to brother Leo about the Christening



 Christening Box and Plaque, USS Dennis 
"Sea Box" that held christening bottle, and sister's plaque.
Jeff Von Holten



Otis Dennis's Last_Letter Home and Snapshots




Otis Lee Dennis 1939



Otis and his sisters,
Lorraine and Elizabeth.

Otis Dennis as a child.

Brothers: Leo and Otis Dennis





March 25, 1913 - February 1, 1942
                                                         Air Medal

(click to enlarge)

(Medals Pictures
Courtesy of K Stauffer)


by ComSco Dtd 9 Mar 1942

AWARDED:  AIR MEDAL by Bd Review D&M Dtd 7 Nov 1946 App:  Adm. HORNE

"For gallantry in action.  As aircraft gunners of Scouting Squadron Six, these men participated in the initial attack on Kwajalein Atoll, which was effected in the face of enemy fighter opposition and intense anti aircraft fire.  Although the planes, pilots and gunners were lost it is felt that these men contributed greatly to the success of the attack when they gallantly gave up their lives in the service of their country and in the execution of their mission."

From the Fowler Tribune   (should read: Scouting Squadron 6)

Otis Lee Dennis, born 26 March 1913 in Scottsville, KY., enlisted in the Navy from his hometown, Fowler, Colorado, 26 October 1940. Radioman Third Class Dennis was cited posthumously for his heroic conduct as an aerial gunner in the initial attack on Kwajalein, in which he was killed in action on 1 February 1942.  He was survived by his ex-wife Lilly Dell (Harriman),  a daughter Dolores Ann, and parents John and Mattie Dennis,  two sisters Loraine and Elizabeth,  and a brother, Leo.

1955 - Dolores Ann,
Otis' daughter


To read:  Capt. N. J. "Dusty" Kleiss, Ret., the last living survivor to see Fogg and Dennis shot down, has generously shared his story in a series of letters to the Dennis family.

The SBD Gunners sat facing backwards in the open (left).
The pilot is to the right.







Laid down: 1943
Launched: 4 December 1943
Commissioned: 20 March 1944
Decommissioned: 31 May 1946
Fate: Scrapped
Displacement: l,350 tons
Length: 306 ft ( m)
Beam: 36 ft 8 in (11 m)
Draft: 9 ft 5 in (3 m)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Armament: 2 x 5 in/38 (2x1)
4 x 40mm (2x2)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
3 x 21 in (533mm) torpedo tubes (1x3)
8 x depth charge projectors
1 x depth charge projector (hedgehog)
2 x depth charge tracks

USS Dennis (DE-405)

USS Dennis (DD-405) was a World War II John C. Butler-class destroyer escort in the service of the United States Navy, named after Radioman Third Class Otis Lee Dennis.

 The USS Dennis was launched on 4 December 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Company, in Houston, Texas; sponsored by Mrs. J. L. Dennis, mother of the late Radioman Third Class Dennis; and commissioned on 20 March 1944, with Lieutenant Commander S. Hansen, USNR, in command.

The USS Dennis arrived at Pearl Harbor on 19 June 1944 to escort a convoy to Eniwetok and Kwajalein. She returned to Eniwetok on 29 July screening Belleau Wood (CVL-24). Joining the 5th Fleet, she escorted Carrier Division 22 to Manus for exercises, then sortied with Task Force 77 on 10 September to supply air support for the landings on Morotai Island 15 through 27 September.

From 12 October the USS Dennis screened the escort carriers supplying the air cover for the invasion of Leyte. On 25 October she joined her carriers in making history as they fought a gallant action with the Japanese counter-attacking force in the Battle off Samar phase of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  The USS Dennis rescued 434 survivors from the bombed St. Lo (CVE-63). For this action she shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to TU 77.4.3, "Taffy 3". Arriving at Kossol Roads, Palaus, on 28 October, she sailed 3 days later for the west coast, arriving at San Francisco, California on 26 November for an overhaul.

Returning to the forward area the USS Dennis departed Guam on 16 February 1945 for the invasion of Iwo Jima, patrolling off the island until 8 March when she sailed to escort a convoy to Ulithi. On 21 March she proceeded to join a carrier group launching air strikes in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa. She remained with the carriers as they gave close support to the invasion forces ashore. Again she performed rescue services, on 4 May, saving 88 of the crew of Sangamon (CVE-26), a kamikaze victim. She served on radar picket duty at Ulithi from 9 May to 3 June, then returned to Okinawa to join the Third Fleet for strikes against the Japanese mainland until 26 June.

From 30 June 1945 until the end of the war, the USS Dennis escorted convoys among Ulithi, Okinawa, the Philippines, and New Guinea. After the war she escorted landing craft to Okinawa, then departed Leyte Gulf on 14 October for the west coast, arriving at San Diego, California, on 6 November. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 31 May 1946.

In addition to her Presidential Unit Citation, the USS Dennis received four battle stars for World War II service.

USS Dennis (DE-405)

Class: John C. Butler Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1,350/1745 tons Dimensions: 306' (oa) x 36' 10" x 13'4" (max)
Armament: 2-5"/38, 4 (2x2) 40mmAA, 10-20mm AA, 3-21" TT, 1 Hedgehog, 8 DCT's, 2 DC tracks
Machinery: 2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 knots Range: 6000 nm@12 knots Crew: 14 / 201

Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Brown Shipbuilding, Houston TX on 15 September 1943
Launched 4 December 1943, Commissioned 20 March 1944
Decommissioned 31 May 1946, Stricken 1 December 1972

Fate: sold for scrapping 12 September 1973


The Tribune-Sun, San Diego, CA
November 6, 1945

from Family Archives
Click to enlarge and read




Celebrating the victory of the Battle off Samar, Battle of Leyte Gulf
One of the USS Dennis cooks, name unknown, paints the bridge indicating ship
credit for sinking a Japanese cruiser.  Note the painting over his left shoulder
indicating credit for downing a Japanese aircraft prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Photo submitted by Charlie W. Touzell, Mam 3/c, USNR. 

40 mm Gun Crew
This is an excellent photo of the ship's Quad 40mm gun.  DE's of the John C. Butler
class had several different armament arrangements.  DE 405 was one of a few
of this class to be equipped with a Quad 40mm.
Photo submitted by Charlie W. Touzell, Mam 3/c, USNR.


The Five who gave their all, killed in action at Leyte Gulf
 from the USS Dennis DE 405

submitted by Charlie W. Touzell Mam 3/c USNR USS Dennis DE 405

Curtis William A. FC 3c USN
Davis Charles B. F 1c USN
Emery Maynard W. F 1c USN
Grater George W. Sea 1c USN
Sambo John A. F 1c USN

From USS Dennis Deck Log, Thursday 26, October, 1944, "Colors at half mast.  Conducted burial at sea for (the above five men) of this ship's company and Greaves, William B., from the USS St. Lo (CVE 63); Latitude 09 degrees, 30' N, Longitude 129 degrees, 20' E;
1040 completed burial ceremony."



As Charlie Touzell (USS Dennis) was driving to meet with Percell Worley (USS Dennis) and Jeff Von Holten (his father served on the USS Dennis), a piece of debris hit his windshield, breaking it and spraying him with glass.    Thankfully, he is ok.  He has generously given us permission to publish his photos and his story from the USS Dennis.  Ann D 7-13-07

Ann: Thanks for your concern about the incident I had enroute to Percell Worley's house. I am fine, just got shook up a little. I am glad that Jeff Von Holten is helping you with your researching the USS Dennis DE 405. The Dennis DE 405 was a great ship. You should be proud she bore your uncle's name. She had a great crew who were dedicated to making the Navy proud also. That sailor drawing a Jap cruiser on the bridge was one of our ship's cooks. I was one of the eight men who came aboard as the nucleus crew after the ship was launched, and have a part of the commission flag.   If I can be of any further help let me know.
Shipmate: Charlie W. Touzell Mam 3/c USNR  USS Dennis DE 405



June 02, 2007

Hi Ann and Don:

I spent some time today viewing your wonderful website, particularly the USS Dennis section.

My father served on the USS Dennis and I believe he was present at the christening ceremony on December 4, 1943.  I have electronic copies of three more documents I can share that you may wish to see and maybe put on your website.

1st is a letter from and signed by Mrs. John L. Dennis, dated October 24, 1943, to Mr. Knox of the US Navy, accepting the designation of sponsor for the USS Dennis.

2nd is a letter from Brown Shipbuilding to Naval Personnel, among several things extending launching invitations to Mr. John Levy Dennis, Mrs. C. J. Andrews of Pueblo, Colorado, and Mrs. Elmer C. Hancock Jr. also of Pueblo, Colorado.

Another document I'll send you is the Presidential Unit Citation that the USS Dennis earned as part of Taffy 3 in the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

My father is deceased (1975) however I honor him and his Dennis community by having Ohio license plate DE 405 on my car.   When the Dennis shipmates had their 50th anniversary reunion for the 1944 Leyte Gulf Battle, in 1994 in Pensacola, Florida, I attended.

Again, thank you for sharing the tremendous website.

Jeff von Holten
Columbus, Ohio

ad:   Thank you so very much for those precious documents that we would never have known about otherwise. Jeff has, since this letter, become a researcher for this site, and many of the archives are credited to him (jvh).   We are deeply in his debt for sharing his expertise.

My Father Maynard Warren Emery fireman first-class served and was killed on October 25, 1944 aboard the Dennis. He was from Greenville Maine.
Charles Emery  3/25/09

The Blackburn-Dennis Community Center in Otis Dennis' hometown of Fowler, Colorado, started out as the Blackburn American Legion Club.  After Otis Dennis was killed, his name was added.  In 2005 it became a Community Center.

Blackburn was the first Fowler casualty in WWI and Dennis was the first Fowler casualty in WWII.

Allan C. Blackburn  served during WWI at Camp Kearny in San Diego, in G Company, on the Mexican Border.   He was shipped overseas in June 1918 and joined the 28th Division fighting in France at the Vesle River under Pershing.   They fought for 26 days.   270,000 Americans were involved and there were 11,500 American casualties.  The 28th Division was one of 8 A.E.F. Divisions in this battle.     Allan C. Blackburn was killed in early August 1918.

Both from the Fowler Tribune

see:  Hullnumber DE-405

 Muster List - The USS Dennis Crew & Officers
Photos from the USS Dennis: Collection of Leroy Blackburn
Rescue at Sea:   Collection of Leroy Blackburn
Edward Cafferty Diary, written while he was on the USS Dennis, WWII
The Edward Cafferty Scrapbook Crossing The Line Ceremony
Pages of Cafferty_Photos from DE 405
Hobart Glen Kelly  USS DENNIS - DE 405  
Letter home describing details from the Battle off Samar
Sea  of Thunder by Evan Thomas
Legacy Join-Up, August 6, 2008- seeking names and addresses of Taffy III survivors

"Life Jacket" by Evan Crawforth

A Day with Lt. Vernon Kennedy

USS Dennis, Miscellaneous Pictures



1994 Reunion
of DE 405 Shipmates
 with Pictures



(Article from the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association, DESA)




Memorial to Taffy 3
San Diego, CA

Hullnumber   USS DENNIS



Survivor List Rescued from the USS St. Lo,
USS White Plains and USS Petrof Bay
taken aboard the USS Dennis

(and Letters from Holly Crawforth, from the USS St. Lo)



USS Dennis
(See USS Dennis on Facebook also)


USS Fogg


Delbert W. Miller


 USS Fogg Di Milla  Photos  

DE-405, Cafferty Scrapbook



Baguio POW Camp, Philippines

Omori POW Camp

USS Fogg Honor Roll


EM2/c Harold M. Compton, USS Fogg, DE-57      

WWII Diary

ZERO by C. Davis Fogg


Letter to Carleton Fogg
by Susan Lane Fuss

USS Fogg Ship's Log
 1943 to 1945