February 27, 1920 (New York City) – November 13, 1942; 22 years old; unmarried
Last local address: North Taylor Avenue, Norwalk
Enlisted on January 15, 1942; 5 weeks after Pearl Harbor
Fireman Second Class
Service number: 6420921
USS JUNEAU (CL-52)
MIA (at sea)
Awarded the Purple Heart Medal
Norwalk High School Class of ‘38
From Norwalk Hour January 13, 1943
Fireman Second Class William Fred Caldara, U.S. Navy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Caldara of North Taylor Avenue, who was reported missing in action by the Navy Department on Monday. Seaman Caldara was a member of the crew of the Juneau, a 6,000 ton light cruiser, sunk in the battle of the Solomons.
Killed in the sinking of the USS Juneau during the Naval battle of Guadalcanal. The Juneau, in the early morning hours in near pitch darkness, was first struck on the port side by a torpedo causing a severe list. The Juneau, once dawn broke, then tried to return to Espiritu Santo for repairs along with the battle damaged U.S.S. Helena and U.S.S. San Francisco, when the Juneau was again hit by a torpedo from Japanese I-26 causing her to sink. This is the same incident that killed the five Sullivan Brothers.
Wreckage from the USS Juneau (CL-52) was discovered on March 17, 2018, by the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel. The Juneau was sunk by a Japanese torpedo during the Battle of Guadalcanal, ultimately killing 687 men including all five of the Sullivan brothers. The Atlanta-class light cruiser was found 4,200 meters (about 2.6 miles) below the surface, resting on the floor of the South Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands.
NOTE: Two people from Norwalk, Charles Byington and William Caldara, enlisted on the same day, January 15, 1942, ended up on the same ship (USS Juneau), and died on the same day when the ship was sunk on November 13, 1942. It is unknown whether they knew each other prior to enlisting. They grew up on New Canaan Avenue and North Taylor Avenue respectively. Only five months separated their birthdays (9/25/1919 & 2/27/1920). Their names are nearly next to each other on the final muster roll for the USS Juneau on September 30, 1942. They died six weeks later.
From The Norwalk Hour January 12, 1943.
Two Norwalkers, with the U.S. Navy, were reported as missing in action by the Navy Department in Washington yesterday. The two, Second Class Seaman Norman Byington, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carlton M. Byington of New Canaan Avenue and Fireman Second Class William Fred Caldara, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Caldara of North Taylor Avenue, were both on the Juneau, a 6,000-ton light cruiser, captained by Lyman Knute Swenson of Provo, Utah, also reported missing. The Juneau commissioned in 1942, was one of the 11 ships reported by the Navy Department as sunk during the Battle of the Solomons. Both families today were still hopeful that the boys would be found and feel that the Navy Department will write soon to tell them of their sons’ safety. “The waiting is hard, but I know that Norman is safe. I only hope that they pick him up soon, as I’d hate to have him floating around the Pacific on a raft too long,” Mrs. Byington said. The two families, friendly since the boys left Norwalk together a year ago, have been in constant touch with each other and with the Navy Department during the past 24 hours attempting to gain further information. Seaman Byington, a plumber aboard the cruiser, was a graduate of the Center Junior High School prior to his enlistment in the U.S. Navy on January 15, 1942, was employed as a carpenter with the Tilly Construction Company in New Canaan. His twin brothers, Carlton M. and Cyrus Irving Byington, are also in the service. Carlton is stationed in the quartermaster regiment at Fort Custer, Grand Rapids, Michigan, while Cyrus is now confined to the Station Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Mr. Byington is a carpenter and his three sons in the service of the grandsons of former Postmaster C. Irving Byington of Westport Avenue. With faith and hope glimmering in their tear-rimmed eyes, Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Caldara of North Taylor Avenue today read and re-read the government telegram to obtain more information. Mr. Caldara who performs important defense work at the Sikorsky plant in Bridgeport, bolsters his wife’s courage today with repeated expressions of belief that their son, on of three now in the armed services will eventually turn up alive. Fireman Caldara was graduated from the Norwalk High School, Class of 1938, and entered the employ of the Fox Cycle Company on Washington Street. He enlisted in the United States Navy at the recruiting station in the South Norwalk Post Office Building in January 1942. He would be 23 years of age next month. A second brother, 21 last August, Arthur Frank Caldara, for several years, one of the Norwalk Hour’s most enterprising newsboys, enlisted in the Untied States Army on September 3, 1942, and is now assigned to training in Utah. Frank H. Caldara, 19, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on December 17, last, and is in training at the Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I. Mrs. Caldara was consoled today by an admonition written in a letter recently received from her son, William, now reported missing. “If you should hear that I am missing or that something has happened to me,” William wrote, “don’t believe it. I’m going to be all right.” “We hope so,” remarked Mr. and Mrs. Caldara sadly today.
The USS Juneau In New York Harbor, 11 February 1942; U.S. National Archives
Memorialized at Sea Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery Manila, Philippines.