Walter Ellsworth Reno

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Lieutenant Commander Walter Ellsworth Reno (3 October, 1881 – 19 November, 1917) served in the United States Navy.

Life & Career

Walter Ellsworth Reno was born in Davis County, Iowa on 3 October, 1881. He was appointed to Annapolis from Missouri and entered the U.S. Naval Academy on 7 September, 1901.[1] His classmates in the graduating class of 1905 included Chester W. Nimitz and Theodore G. Ellyson.

Reno was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 28 October, 1910.[2]

Reno was appointed to duty in charge of the Navy's recruiting station in Chicago, Illinois on 4 February, 1914.[3] After two years in Chicago, Reno was ordered to the Asiatic Station, where he was appointed to take command of the destroyer Chauncey on 4 April, 1916.[4] Chauncey was one of the five destroyers that comprised the First Division of the Asiatic Fleet's Torpedo Flotilla.[5]

America's entry into the First World War turned the Navy's destroyer force into a critical Allied naval asset. Many were rapidly deployed to Europe, and among those were the Chauncey and her sisters from the Asiatic Station. They sailed from Cavite for their new base at Saint-Nazaire on 1 August, 1917. On arrival Reno and his fellow destroyermen began taking part in the arduous but vital convoy escort duties that had become one of the primary duties of destroyers in wartime. The war also earned Reno a temporary promotion to Lieutenant Commander.

Lieutenant Commander Reno was killed when the Chauncey was rammed and sunk by the British freighter S.S. Rose in the early morning hours of 19 November, 1917. Twenty of his crew perished with him, including all but one of the ship's officers.[6] One of the numerous new war production destroyers was subsequently named in his honor.

See Also


  • Feuer, A. B. (1999). The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
George H. Bowdey
Captain of U.S.S. Chauncey
5 Jun, 1916 – 19 Nov, 1917
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost


  1. Register of Officers, 1904. p. 99.
  2. Register of Officers, 1917. pp. 30-31.
  3. Register of Officers, 1916. p. 30.
  4. Register of Officers, 1917. p. 30.
  5. Register of Officers, 1917. p. 310.
  6. Feuer. U.S. Navy in World War I. p. 23.