Sunday, November 20, 2011
In Memory of Charles
The day before Charles was killed was a horrific day for the men on the USS Suwannee. A kimikaze plane was flown into the ship on October 24, 1944 killing about 92 men. During the darkness of that night the bodies of these men were put into body bags, hefted upon a board that when tilted slid the bodies into the ocean. We can only imagine the horror of that day and night. The next day wasn't any better. Another kimikaze plane flew into the ship again and that day Charles was killed at the young age of 20.
We learned from a survivor of those two days how it all happened. Planes would land on the ship and then lowered below deck to get refueled, lifted back up to the deck to take off again on their missions. Charles was one of the sailors that refueled the planes. The survivor told us that he and a friend were taking the stairs to the deck for a smoke break when another kimikaze plane hit the ship. He looked back and saw Charles on fire and Charles was calling for help but there was nothing he could do. So many more men losing their lives and it was total chaos. Another night of burials at sea. The ship was damaged and it sailed on to Nagasaki, Japan, then later sailed to Pugent Sound shipyards for repairs. The ship in the photo to the right is the actual picture of the USS Suwannee leaving Pugent Sound In January 1945 after those repairs.
"The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the greatest battle of American history. It marked the last chance the Imperial Japanese Navy would have during World War II to destroy a substantial portion of America's Pacific Fleet." The Battle of Leyte Gulf
The above statement taken from the book "The Afternoon of the Rising Sun"