Charles R. Broderick Jr., 78, decorated World War II officer

February 11, 1996|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

Charles Richard Broderick Jr., a World War II Navy officer who received the Silver Star and Purple Heart and survived a direct hit on his gun battery aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway, died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Glyndon. He was 78.

After the war, Mr. Broderick worked for several companies in Baltimore, including the American and Gunther breweries. He founded the Bees Distributing Co. in 1955, a beer-distribution firm that remains a family business.

Born in West Baltimore, he graduated from Loyola High School at Blakefield in 1935. He attended Loyola College on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1939 with a liberal arts degree.

He attended the Navy's V-2 officer candidate training course at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and was commissioned an ensign in 1941.

At the outbreak of the war, Mr. Broderick was sent to gunnery school at Norfolk, Va., and later was assigned to the USS Yorktown, where he was a battery officer.

During the Battle of Midway in June 1942, his gun station was hit by a Japanese bomb that killed or wounded 20 crewmen.

Mr. Broderick's back and legs were peppered with metal splinters.

Despite his severe wounds, Mr. Broderick helped evacuate the dead and wounded until the loss of blood forced him to leave his post.

The Yorktown eventually sank.

Mr. Broderick spent a year at a Navy hospital at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where his roommate for a time was Ensign George Gay, the lone survivor of his torpedo plane squadron during the Battle of Midway. Ensign Gay witnessed the fighting from a life raft.

While recuperating, Mr. Broderick was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and numerous battle and service ribbons.

He was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the aircraft carrier Essex, on which he served in the Pacific before being

transferred to the submarine school at New London, Conn., as a lieutenant commander in 1945.

In 1944, Mr. Broderick married the former Mary Elizabeth Sturm, who survives.

Mr. Broderick was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce, the Hibernian Society, Knights of Columbus Council at the Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon, the 4th District Democratic Club and the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on Sacred Heart Lane. Burial will be in the Maryland Veterans Cemetery, 11501 Garrison Forest Road in Owings Mills.

Besides his wife, Mr. Broderick is survived by two sons, Charles R. Broderick III of Reisterstown and Dennis S. Broderick of Finksburg; three daughters, Carol Wissel of Glyndon, Patricia Waskevich of Reisterstown and Mary Elizabeth "Beth" Hannon of Reisterstown; a sister, Rose Marie Bond of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren; and 16 grandnieces and grandnephews.

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