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A WWII Navy Vet

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Joined: Aug 27 2003
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:10 pm    Post subject: A WWII Navy Vet Reply with quote

I had the pleasure of meeting a vet who lives near my daughter, in Annville, PA. His name is Bob and he is 88 now. He walks most days when the weather is pretty. Yesterday he came in for coffee and we had a great conversation. I learned a lot in just a short while and I will share it with you. While not about Japanese weapons, it is about the Pacific war. He was a torpedoman on the U.S.S. Yorktown, CV-10. The ship was commissioned "The Bonnhomme Richard" and christened by Eleanor Roosevelt on 15 April 1943. When the original Yorktown CV-5 was sunk, this ship was renamed. He served on her from the time of her commissioning until he was discharged 6 months after the war ended. Her first engagement was the attack on Marcus Island, 31 August 1943. Her final was taking part in the occupation of Japan, 15 August to Oct 1, 1945. Bob went ashore in Tokyo and said the devastation was terrible. I learned from him that torpedoes from submarines were electric powered but for firing from above the water on distroyers and dropping from aircraft, they had to be steam powered with a fresh water resovour on board each. Rockets fired from the planes had steel rods in the nose for weight and penetration for attacking submerged submarines. This kept them from hitting the water and deflecting like machinegun bullets would do. He said these rockets would enter and exit a sub leaving good holes. He also advised me that a lot of the crewmen on the landing crafts during island invasions were full time U.S. Coastguard members. NOT Navy personel. And finally, the only Marines on board were the captain's guard and for use as policemen in charge of the brig. At one island, the Marine casualties were so high they ask for 20 volunteers from the ship's company. Only two volunteered. The rest were voluntered by command. Now....Marines....don't be upset with me about this....I am just sharing with you an old sailor's memories. After the war, Mrs. Roosevelt attended their first ship reunion. I look forward to visiting with him again. 10-12-10, I talked with Bob again today. He mentioned the rockets (3")were available toward the end of the war and that the pilots had little training with them. When his pilot returned from the first mission with them, Bob asked if he hit anything. The pilot's reply: "I think I hit the island with at least one of them!" He also said that ordnance was loaded on the planes sometimes in the hanger deck and sometimes on the flight deck. One final comment today was that: "I had my hands on one of the several torpedos that sunk the Japanese battleship, Yomato. It was dropped from a Gruman TBF torpedo plane."
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