Welcome aboard, Spuds
Happy New Year!
On this day in 1914, Lt. Theodore Gordon Ellyson, (USNA 1905), better known to his friends as Spud, was named Naval Aviator Number One.
After service on a number of battleships and cruisers, Ellyson served on the early submarine USS Shark (SS-8) before commanding the more advanced USS Tarantula (SS-12) with her massive six person crew.
At the end of 1910 he was sent to Glenn Curtiss’ flying school and left the ground on 28 January 1911 under his own control– the first U.S. Navy officer to do so. Ellyson later made the first successful launch of an airplane (A-3) by catapult at the Washington Navy Yard 12 November 1912.
After WWI service, Ellyson was tragically killed on 27 February 1928, his 43rd birthday, in the crash of a Loening OL-7 in the Chesapeake Bay while on a night flight from Norfolk to Annapolis. His body washed ashore and was recovered two months later.
Spuds is buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery.