North High School Wall of Honor
Ralph Andrew Fitch
Would have graduated in Class of June, 1939?
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
Ralph Andrew Fitch
Ralph would have graduated as member of North High's class of June, 1939, but he left early to join the US Navy.. His next of kin was Mr. Doss K. Fitch, 1920 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA. Ralph's service number was 8606237.
Ralph Andrew Fitch
Year   Rank/Rating   Status
June, 1939 x x x Would have graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
1939-1944   Employed
  Rissien's Grocery, 13th and Forest Avenue
Apr 26,1940 x Family x Married Ruby Leveda Carson
Sept 30,1940 x Family x Daughter born; Beverley Carlene Fitch in Des Moines, IA
Jan 7, 1942 x Family x Daughter born; Sharon Kay Fitch McClure. Deceased 02/21/13, West Branch, IA
May 12, 1944 x US Navy x Enlisted in Des Moines
May, 1944 x Training x One month of Basic Training;
Great Lakes, Illinois
1946 x Training x US Navy, Fort Pierce, Florida
date x Training x A1B, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA
date x Training x N1S, Newport, Rhode Island
Oct 28, 1944
Jan 15, 1946
x Enroute x US Navy cargo ship USS Starr, AKA-67
Dec 31, 1944 x Duty x USS Starr, AKA-67; US Navy Muster Rolls 1938-1949
Jan 20,1945 x Transferred x To US Naval Base Hospital #6; Navy 128. Ralph fell off of the USS Starr. The crew made several passes to save him from his overboard experience. On the "last pass", they rescued him.
Jan 27, 1945 x Duty x USS Starr, AKA-67; US Navy Muster Rolls 1938-1949
Jun 24, 1945 x Duty x USS Starr, AKA-67; US Navy Muster Rolls 1938-1949
Jan 22,1946 x Duty x USS Starr, AKA-67; US Navy Muster Rolls 1938-1949; San Diego, CA to San Francisco, CA. V6, USNR to PSC, Minneapolis, MN
Jan 24,1946 x Discharged x Where?
1946-on x Employment x Rissien's Grocery
- 1994 x Employment x MidAmerican Energy as an estimator
Feb 25, 1994 x Deceased x Des Moines, IA
aft Feb 25, 1994 x Buried x Glendale Cemetery; Memorial #114809360 , Des Moines, IA
USS Starr (AKA-67)

USS Starr (AKA-67), the only ship of the United States Navy named for Starr County, Texas, was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship. She served as a commissioned ship for 20 months.

Her keel was laid down as a Type C2-S-AJ3 ship on 13 June 1944 (as MC hull 1392), under Maritime Commission contract, by North Carolina Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, North Carolina. She was launched on 18 August 1944, sponsored by Mrs. C. L. Griffin and acquired by the Navy from the War Shipping Administration on a bareboat charter; and was commissioned on 29 September 1944 with Commander Frederick O. Goldsmith in command.

Starr completed fitting out at Charleston, South Carolina, and sailed on 31 October for the Chesapeake Bay on her shakedown cruise. After loading cargo, she stood out of Norfolk, Virginia, on 27 November and proceeded, via the Panama Canal, to the Pacific. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 18 December 1944 and remained there until after Christmas. Starr participated in amphibious landing exercises during the first week of January and then entered Kahului Harbor, Maui, for combat loading.

Starr joined a large convoy and sailed west on 27 January, stopping at Eniwetok for two days, before proceeding to Saipan, where the Iwo Jima assault force was staging. The force cleared Tanapag Harbor on 16 February. At 0640 three days later, Starr launched her boats against the Iwo Jima beaches. The attack cargo ship had multiple duties: she was a receiving ship for wounded; an ammunition ship for Salt Lake City (CA-25); and she had a priority cargo of vehicles which were to be delivered only when requested and then, as quickly as possible. She waited until 25 February to begin discharging her cargo and finished on 5 March. She then got underway for Leyte.

Starr loaded combat cargo from 9 to 27 March and joined a convoy for the Ryukyu Islands. On 1 April, her first boats hit the water at 0615; and they soon joined their prearranged waves for hitting the Okinawa beaches. At 0420 on 9 April the ship was raked from stem to stern by an explosion. At first, it was thought that she had been torpedoed; but it was soon learned that she had been attacked by a Japanese suicide boat. The suicide boat had exploded as it contacted one of a cluster of Starr's landing craft that were moored alongside. The explosion was sufficiently removed from the side of the ship, and the water absorbed the shock so Starr suffered little damage.

Starr sailed for Guam on 10 April with a convoy and was routed onward to Pearl Harbor. She arrived there on 26 April and was notified that she was to return to the West Coast for overhaul. She arrived at San Pedro, California, on 5 May; and repairs were begun immediately. When they were completed, the ship participated in an amphibious exercise and then loaded cargo at San Francisco, California, to be delivered to Guam. She sailed on 24 June and arrived at Guam on 11 July. On 20 July, she steamed to Pearl Harbor for another load of cargo for Guam. Starr was several days out of Guam when word was received that hostilities with Japan had ended.

Post-war activities, 1945–1946. After discharging her cargo at Guam, the ship was routed to the Philippines on 2 September; she arrived at Leyte on 5 September. Starr operated in the Philippines until 29 November when she got underway for China and arrived at Tsingtao on 4 December 1945.

Starr sailed from China to Sasebo, Japan, and thence to Vladivostok. She arrived there on 2 January 1946, unloaded her cargo, and returned to Sasebo where she received orders to proceed, via San Diego, to San Francisco. She remained at San Francisco from 9 to 18 March and then got underway for Hampton Roads. Starr arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 April 1946; was decommissioned on 31 May 1946, and was returned to the War Shipping Administration on 1 June 1946. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 June 1946.

*Photo and call signs of USS Starr (AKA-67)
USS Starr; AKA-67 Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (9 April 1945, Okinawa) - American Campaign Medal
Bottom Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) -World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
Buried Glendale Cemetery; Memorial #114809360, Des Moines, IA

US Navy seal

Ralph Andrew Fitch
US Navy

Ralph Andrew Fitch photo

US Coast Guard: Storekeeper 2nd Class

US Navy Insignia
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Ralph Andrew Fitch's class page is:
Died: 02/25/94.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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