Last Update: December 1, 2020

A Tribute Honoring

Arizona Submarine Veteran

Frank Wesley Rodriguez, Seaman First Class

(1923-1944)

Morenci, Arizona

    Frank Wesley Rodriguez was born as Francisco Wesley Rodriguez on 2 April 1923 in Morenci, Greenlee County, Arizona to Miguel Juan and May Chapin Rodriguez.  The 1930 Census reflects that Miguel worked as a repairman at a local machine shop while he and his wife, May, raised their family that grew to three sons and one daughter.  Of particular note, Frank and his brothers all used Wesley as their middle name.  The reason for this was brought to light when a family relative recently shared that none of the Rodriquez boys were given the middle name of "Wesley" at birth. That came about when they joined the service and their grandmother told them to use their grandfather's name "Wesley" as their middle name.Their maternal grandfather's middle name was "Westley" as in Charles Westley Chapin (1846-1925). As a Private in the U.S. Calvary, Charles Westley Chapin fought in the Indian Wars.  Mary May, Francisco's mother, passed away in 1928 from unknown causes leaving her mother Victoria Chapin to raise the children of Miguel and May. In 1940 at age 17, Frank was living with Enrique Rodriguez (age 24) and his wife Betty (age 22) Tucson, Arizona. 

     

     On 14 January 1942, Frank Rodriguez enlisted in the Naval Reserves in San Diego where he also received his basic training.  From there, Navy Muster Reports indicate he reported to the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Oakland Airport, Oakland, California on 28 February 1942 where he remained through 30 June 1942. Between June 1942 and 28 August 1943, it is uncertain where Frank was based, but, he is believed to have been assigned as a member of a relief crew under the command of Commander Submarine Division 82 (USS Guardfish SS-217).  On 28 August 1943, muster reports reflect that Frank reported aboard the USS Scamp (SS-277) from CSD 82 (Guardfish).  Scamp itself had returned to Pearl Harbor 6 August 1943 for more repairs from its third combat war patrol.     

     While serving on board Scamp, Frank became qualified in submarines as evidenced by an entry in his service jacket dated 5 May 1944.  He was on board Scamp crew when it conducted its fourth combat patrol (2 Sep - 1 Oct 1943). Muster reports also reflect that Seaman First Class Rodriguez worked to become a Quartermaster (QM). When Scamp returned to Pearl Harbor from its successful 4th combat patrol on 1 October 1943, he met fellow Arizonan and Radioman Basil Abad. Together, the two were on board Scamp and made the next three combat war patrols (#5, #6, and #7) together. On 16 October 1944, Frank and Basil departed for Scamp's 8th patrol and were lost at sea with Scamp's crew of 83 men on or about 16 November 1944.

 

  

   More information about Scamp and the names of its crewmembers, go to the following links:

     Francisco's father Miguel passed away in 1980 while living in Oxnard, Ventura County, California. 

   Source of above mini-plaque is http://www.togetherweserved.com.

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Website developed and maintained by Ray Olszewski USS TUNNY (SSG-282) 1958-1962 Boat Yeoman YN1(SS) and IS1(SS) USSVI Life Member and Author of USS TUNNY: A History, Tribute and Memoir.