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Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Coral Sea: Lt. Edward Max Price
Lieutenant Edward Max Price, of Princeton and Charleston, was killed on the U.S.S. Lexington in the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 8, 1942. Lieutenant Price was officer in charge of weapons in the after control station of the Lexington. He was responsible for the training and action of the automatic gun crews, and when in battle he directed the aim for his gunners.
On the second day of the Coral Sea Battle, the Japenese were coming at the Lexington from all directions. The dive bombers zoomed close. Their deadly missiles fell all about the marked ship. The men were too busy to think of dodging them. Their minds were on their jobs. Their young officerн┌s attention was focused on the job he had to do- fight off the Japenese planes. A bomb whistled close- then exploded. A fragment struck Lieutenant Price. He died giving the command "Keep firing!" And the gun crew did.
Although the Lexington sank later that day, those surviving shipmates remembered the young lieutenant and his orders. William Harbour, a shipmate, who was directly under him in the ammunition handling room when the bomb exploded, told the most complete story of his galant death. Mr. Harbour, later released from the Navy to become an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps, said further: "My first three Japanese planes will be offered as a token to the memory of Lieutenant Edward Max Price."
He attended Lincoln Grade School in Charleston; Hargrave Military Academy (Class of 1932) in Chatham, Virginia; Concord State College, Athens, West Virginia; and the United States Naval Academy with the highest scholastic record in the class. He was valedictorian, and received medals for scholarship and marksmanship on the rifle team, and an award for being the most outstanding senior of the year. His high record was maintained at the Naval Academy where he ranked twenty-sixth in a class of 550. On graduation from the Academy he was assigned to the Lexington as an ensign. In the line of duty, his superiors rated him as a "splendid officer.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, commended the young officer in a citation for bravery: "He contributed immeasurably to the destruction wrought on the attacking aircraft by skillfully directing the fire of his batteries. He perished at his battle station carrying out his duties in the best tradition of the Naval Service."