(Died: February 9, 2012)
Interests: Cosmology Age: 97
Captain James Aaron Masterson Sr., USN (Ret), 97, died of natural causes on February 9 at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, WA.
He was born on May 9, 1914 in Metz, MO. He grew up in Pittsburgh, KA. His father claimed he was 2nd cousin to the real Bat Masterson. When he graduated from high school, he and his good friend were recruited to join the Navy. It was in the depths of the Great Depression and the Navy would provide their clothes, three squares, and a bunk plus monthly income so he could send some of his pay home to his mom. When they were studying for seaman 1st, their officer convinced them to take the entrance exam for The Naval Academy. "Monk" (his Naval Academy nick name) graduated in the class of 1938. In 1940 he met and married Mary Hume from Snohomish, WA.
During World War II, he became the Commanding Officer of a seaplane squadron that fought the Japanese out of the Aleutian Islands from Dutch Harbor and bombed the beaches at Iwo Jima before the Marines went ashore. He was awarded The Legion of Merit and The Distinguished Flying Cross and a chest full of other medals. He was also awarded The Order of the Sacred Treasure medal by the Emperor of Japan.
After the war he earned his law degree from George Washington University. In Korea he served as the liaison officer between the United Nations and the Communist Chinese during the prisoner exchange conference in Panmunjom. He then served as executive officer of the NROTC at Notre Dame University. He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The commands he held besides the WW II squadron included NARTU at Anacostia NAS in D.C., Atsugi NAS in Japan, Naval Air Technical Training Center in Memphis, TN (largest command in Naval Aviation), and for a time as acting commander of Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines.
He retired in Seattle, WA after 36 years in the Navy. He worked for a time for the State of Washington in their court system. He was an avid golfer.
He was preceded in death by three sisters, his wife of 67 years and one son, Frederick.
He is survived by son Norman and daughter-in-law Joyce, son Frederick's widow Linda, son James Jr., and daughter-in-law Christie, a blended family of eight grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.
Inurnment will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 29, in the columbarium at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, with his wife Mary and next to son Frederick, USNA '67.