Oroville Mercury Register
May 25, 1945
A caption under an injured soldier on his way home.
“Every 60 seconds, one of us comes home”
“This isn’t just the way I expected to come home. But that’s
Okay. I don’t want any pats on the back. Just a chance to get fixed
up- and get me a job. Will you lend me a hand-me and all the other
boys? Just till we can step out and use our own again?” There are
the men who are winning the war for us. To lend a hand, we’ve got
to make our quotas in the 7th War Loan. It’s a big loan,
and they’re big quotas. Bigger than ever before, because Uncle Sam
needs 7 Billion Dollars from us in this drive. If you have an income
from any source, you have a quota in the 7th War Loan.
Find out what it is and make it! ALL OUT FOR THE MIGHTY 7TH
WAR LOAN! Burton & King Shoes, 1949 Montgomery, Telephone 459
Above the Headlines of the Oroville Mercury Register
May 25, 1945
First Story of Japanese Suicide-Plane Attack; Six Crash On Destroyer,
But She Lives Aboard Adm. Turner’s Flagship, Okinawa
April 19- Delayed)- (U.P.) – Brave sailors died strapped to
their gun seats in the agony of the United States destroyer Laffey,
another great ship that refused to be sunk. The gunners fired until
they were swallowed up in the searing flames of exploding Japanese
suicide planes and bombs. In two hours the 2200 ton destroyer was
hit by six suicide planes and two bombs. The ship’s rudder was jammed
hard left by a bomb and the vessel sped dizzily in a circle during
the raging battle. The skipper, Cmdr. Frederick J. Becton, uttered
these words: “I’ll never abandon ship as long as a gun will fire.”
And so the Laffey came through the third mass Japanese suicide attack
on ships off Okinawa, still proudly afloat. It was unquestionably
the most savage and spectacular action in which an American destroyer
has participated in the entire war. In no other part of the world
would the enemy hurl six screaming war planes in flaming suicide
dives onto a ship. The gallant destroyer saw the last enemy planes
destroyed by gun fire or American planes. Then it was found that
31 of her officers and men had been killed or were missing in action.
Another 60 were wounded. Her gunners had shot down eight Japanese
planes and probably a ninth, added to the six suicide crashes that
made a score for the Laffey of 13 certains.The story was told by
one of the ship’s communications officers, Lt. Frank Manson. Twenty
planes converged on the Laffey. Four enemy dive bombers came at
the ship. All were shot down at ranges of 3,000 to 10,000 yards.
Then the Laffey’s 40 mm. gunners bagged a suicide plane before it
could crash onto the deck. A sixth Japanese plane was exploded by
intense fire from the Laffey so close that it caused the destroyer’s
first casualty. A man was killed by flying metal. The tempo of the
battle mounted. Other planes attacked, bombed and were destroyed.
One enemy suicide plane demolished a gun mount, killing many men.
Then two enemy planes dived into the Laffey with in a space of 30
seconds. The two sealed off openings to the repair parties fighting
the fires below decks. Many died then from suffocation and burns.
Not a single gun was abandoned, Manson said.
Public to inspect the Laffey
Seattle-(U.P.)- The U. S. Destroyer Laffey is here for repairs
following her savage battle against 22 Japanese suicide planes.
Most of the crewmen of the destroyer were granted immediate leave.
Those remaining were busy with welding torches until ordered to
suspend repairs, after a decision had been made to allow the public
to view the vessel’s scars.
Stu’s Notes: This is the first article I’ve read of the 7th
War Loan, by May 25, 1945 the War in Europe was over. The War in
the Pacific would be over in 2 ½ months. The loan was going to create
jobs for the men coming home and get the wounded back on their feet
if possible. Maybe we need to fund a War Loan now for our men and
women who are coming home. Let’s get them all good jobs and get
them healed. Money should be no object for this endeavor. That Destroyer
story is so unbelievable but it happened. The Destroyers of WWII
did there part over and over all over the world. Small Ships that
often took on much larger ships, in some straits through the Philippine
Islands, a small force of destroyers and “Baby Flat tops” small
aircraft Carriers, took on a whole Japanese Armada. The Destroyers’
charged in at full speed with guns blazing and the torpedoes flying
off their bows and they sent the Japanese Fleet in fast retreat.
Be Proud of those men on those little ships.
I was invited to the American Legion’s Post 95 award night dinner
for High School Students of Oroville and Las Plumas who went to
Boy’s and Girls State to learn about how Government works.. The
Boys went to our State Capital and the Girls to Claremont
McKenna College in Claremont, CA. Commander
Ron Scharbor of Post 95 introduced the students that went, they
were; Maximilian Cordeiro, Isaac Morelli, Christina Ferretti and
Clistie Acosta, two others went but could not attend the dinner.
The students that attended the dinner each wrote a little about
themselves and what they did at Boys State / Girls
State. We will get their stories next week. Don’t forget the
Veterans Parade on 11/11/11 at 11am.