USS Lexington CV-16



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View the 2001 Reunion Pictures from Riley Cannon here


Watch Surfaces After 70 Years

 Lieutenant Roger Stanley Boles died November 5, 1944 

Awarded the Navy Cross for "Extraodinary Heroism" during aerial operations against an enemy fleet on October 24, 1944 in the Philippine Sea. Boles used his Navy Hellcat to strafe two Japanese battleships and a destroyer from 100 feet. His actions supressed the enemy fleet's anti-air fire, which enabled bombers and torpedo planes to successfully attack them. Boles actions saved the lives of many pilots and their crews. Two weeks later Boles led a flight from the USS Lexington to Manila, where they shot down four enemy planes. As they were departing the area, his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft & he was killed. Boles was given the nickname of Smiley by his crewmates, because he never smiled. 

Hello, My name is Bryan Newton.  My grandfather's best friend was Roger Boles.  When I was a teenager in the '70's my grandfather would sometimes mention, with misty eyes, how his best friend Roger was killed in WWII.  My grandpa was my hero and I miss him dearly.  He died at the age of 63 of cancer.  When he knew he wasn't going to beat the cancer, he and I went through one of his scrap books.  He talked of how his best friend Roger Boles was killed in WWII when his plane was shot down.  He was emotional telling me the story.  When my dad gave me a watch, thought belonged to my grandfather a few months ago for my 50th birthday I was very surprised to see the inscription on the back. I realized it had been my grandfather's best friend's watch, Roger Boles.  I have attached a photo.  I would like to return this watch to Roger's family if that is possible.  When I googled Roger's name up came your USS Lexington site and lo and behold, Roger's name.  If you are able to contact anyone in Roger's family I would like to send them his watch.  Sincerely, Bryan Newton 

Grand Nephew Found

Hello.  My name is Christopher Roger Custer (but I go by Roger) and I am named after Roger Boles.   We honor Roger with a scholarship at Santa Paula High School (his alma mater and my mom's) each year and we sometimes make it to put flowers on his grave in Santa Paula. We named our son (5 months old now) Peter Roger Custer in order to keep Roger's legacy alive through another generation.  Please keep me informed of your efforts because I want to keep his memory and legacy alive.  Sincerely, C. Roger Custer

Hello Paty and Roger,
Wow!!!  I'm so happy to hear that Roger's legacy lives on.  My fear was that I would try to find Roger's family and no one would seem to remember him.  Well that certainly is not the case.  There are a couple of interesting coincidences.  My middle name is Robert, I am named after my Grandpa Bob, Roger's good friend.  And if I would've had a son his middle name also would have been Robert, but I have 3 beautiful daughters.  Also, my family honors my grandpa Bob Wood each year with a scholarship at King City High School, the school that near the town he farmed for so many years.  It's interesting that two young men (Bob Wood and Roger Boles) who were best friends at Santa Paula high school, are honored each year with scholorships. 

Roger, I don't know if you and your family have a lot of Roger's belongings.  If you would like to have his watch, I would be honored to send it to a family member who is named after him. Sincerely, Bryan Newton

Hello Bryan.  Thanks again for getting in touch with us.  Please find attached a photo of Roger Boles, Roger Custer, and Peter Roger Custer we took at my parents' house. As for the watch, we would be honored to include it in a collection of his belongings, including his Navy papers and his Purple Heart. 


Paty,  I had no idea a week ago this "journey" would be so exciting.  Thank you again for connecting me with Roger Boles' family.  My Grandpa Bob is smiling up in heaven. Bryan Newton

Bryan, Itís been a real pleasure helping to make this happen. It was a wonderful journey and fabulous ending!  I enjoyed learning about your Grandpa too. This is a time that I will never forget. Thanks for the memories. Sincerely, Paty






Gone to Glory

Today July 17, 2014, marks a full year since my Dad passed away. I haven't worked on the web site or posted his obituary until today. I'm sorry for the time the site has been neglected and hope to keep it up to date. You can read about his time served on the Lexington here:  R C Cannon

The picture on his memorial card was him on the deck of the Lexington at the 2001 Reunion in Texas. He was buried in the Blue Ghost shirt he is wearing in the picture.

Riley Cecil (R.C.) Cannon, age 87, of Bakersfield and Lake Isabella, California, passed away, on July 17, 2013 at his home with his loving family at his bedside.

He was born in Sweetwater, Texas, on October 29, 1925 to John Cecil Cannon and Ruby Hazel (Ashlock). He was married to Maxine Anderson on January 3, 1947.  He was the 4th Great Grandson of Colonel John Canon who served in the revolutionary war and founded the town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The Canon family came to the United States from Ireland.

 R.C served in the US Navy during WWII on the USS Lexington CV-16 as a Plane Captain. He was injured by the propeller of an F6F Hellcat which injured his hand, elbow, shoulder and head. He was medically discharged.

 After a very long convalescence, R.C. worked and retired as a Journeyman Carpenter with 60 Ĺ years as a member of the Carpenters Local 743.  He and Maxine built 2 family houses, one in Bakersfield and one in Lake Isabella, California.

 He was a highly intelligent man who had family and many friends who shared his passion for working and restoring classic and antique cars. He raced cars (Jalopies) in Bakersfield in the 1950ís. He was a self taught machinist.  He was a perfectionist with everything he accomplished and there werenít many things that he couldnít accomplish.

 He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Raymond Edward Cannon and wife Jackie; and his best buddy Bill Heyart, who was also his son-in-law.

 He is survived by his wife, of 66 years, Maxine (Anderson) Cannon; his sister Betty (Cannon) Johnson and husband Buck Johnson of Los Molinos, CA; 4 children,  Carol (Cannon)and husband Ken Yates, of South Lake, CA; Chris (Cannon) Heyart, of Bakersfield, CA; and Paty (Cannon) (Vido) Johnson and husband Gary Johnson, of Bakersfield, CA; Riley Cecil Cannon Jr. and wife Cyndy (Thurman) Cannon of Bakersfield, CA.

 He is also survived by 7 grandchildren, Stephanie (Yates) Lawson; Tonya (Heyart) Eagle; Bill Heyart III; Tammy (Vido) McGuire; Kristin (Vido) Ackerman; Riley Cannon; and Tyler Cannon ; 17 great grandchildren and  2 great-great grandchildren.





© Copyright . February 2001 by Paty Cannon Johnson. All Rights Reserved