+13 Okinawa Campaign

(A brief summary of some of the incidents)
Data taken from several logs aboard the USS GUEST - DD472

(Note: this narrative was copied from a carbon copy of a document typewritten in 1945 and because of fading carbon ink and wear and tear over the years caused it to become illegible in many places. Some of the spelling of the names of the ships and designation numbers may be inaccurate. This is a review of the OKINAWA Fight, our part in it along with some of the other events. This isn't absolutely accurate because there were so many things happening at one time and in different areas, making it impossible for us to keep an accurate check. However, this will give you a fair idea of what was taking place there.)
Roy Dickson



March 26 We were in San Pedro Bay, Philippine Islands, off Samar.

March 27 We left San Pedro Bay 0830, accompanying 4 "Jeep Carriers"; USS SANGAMON CVE26, USS SUWANNEE CVE27, USS CHENANGO CVE28, USS SANTEE CVE29. We were designated as Task Group 51.6 heading north enroute to Okinawa.

March 31 1830 - Weather foul, visibility poor, 150 miles from Okinawa.

April 1 0830 - We arrived at our operating area, off the SE corner of Okinawa. At the island landings were successful, a beachhead established on west coast of island; only 7 Jap planes appeared over landing area, 2 airfields captured on this day. (No raid as yet on our group.)

April 2 Everything coming along better than expected. It appears that the Japs have headed for the hill to dig in. 100,000 men ashore already. (Third Marines, Army's 77th Division) Condition "RED" all night around the beachhead, 14 Jap air raids during night. USS HALLIGAN DD 584 sunk by a Jap "Suicide" boat.

April 3 Beachhead extended across the island. As yet our Task Group hasn't had any real trouble (a few snoopers now and then).

April 4 Army and Marines well organized. The Marines to go North from the beachhead. The Army is to the Southern half.

April 5 The Island had many air raids. No damage to any of our installations.

April 6 Part of our group under attack, 1 plane splashed, fighters from CVE26 SAGAMON claim 3 VALS over island during one of the many attacks today. One destroyer on Picket Station north of the island was attacked by 10 "ZEKES", no further report on her. USS Mullany DD528 was hit by a "ZEKE"- they abandoned ship USS PRINGLE DD477 sunk by suicide plane. Two Victory ships and one LST loaded with ammunition were sunk by suicide planes. USS McCOMB DMS13 and the USS ELLYSON DMS 19 were hit by suicide planes. All told there were eleven ships sunk or damaged. 22 out of 24 "Zekes" hit their targets.

April 7 Crew of USS MULLANY DD528 went back aboard.1200: a unit of the Jap fleet was sighted by one of our scouting planes. It consisted of one BB, one CL 9 DD's. This unit was taken under attack by planes from Task Force 58 (360 Carrier Planes) Later reports were that one BB, one CL, one CA, and 3 DD's were sunk (this took place north of Okinawa, near Kyushu. Around the island more action was taking place. As usual, the small units of the Navy took a shellacking. The USS BUSH DD529 was sunk of suicide planes. USS CHOLHOUN DD801 sunk, the USS HUTCHINGS DD476, USS LUETZ DD481, USS MORRIS DD417, USS HYMAN DD732, USS NEWCOMB DD586 were all damaged by suicide planes. USS RODMAN DMS21, USS WITTER DE636, USS BENNETT DD473 damaged also. USS EMMONS DMW 22 sunk. USS DENESTATAR AM318 sunk. USS NEWCOMB was hit by several planes cleaning out everything amidships from the mast all the way aft to Gun 5.

April 8 Our Carrier Task Force Group moved south to a position 180 miles south of Okinawa, just east of Sakashima. Planes from our carrier group hit the Sakashima airfields. (This was believed to be a base for Suicide Planes.). 5 Jap Suicide Planes attacked the British Fleet Units operating off Sakashima, damaging the SS King George, One CR, one CV.

April 9 Back at our operating area, planes from our group were flying over the island assisting ground forces by bombing and strafing. One plane returning aboard the CVE Chanango missed the arresting gear, leaped the crash barrier and landed in some planes on the forward end of the flight deck that were gassing and rearming. An explosion followed and 10 man were blown over the side. We picked up 6 of them, 2 were badly burned about the face and hands, some of our seamen jumped in the water to assist them as they couldn't hang on to a line. THE Chanango brought the fire under control and resumed flight operations as soon as the flight deck was cleared of debris.

April 10 We fueled from a "JEEP". 7 Jap planes shot down over island.

April 11 USS Suwannee CVE27 went into KERAMA RETTO to fuel, arm, etc. Transport area at island under constant attacks all day. We received some information about Suicide Planes taken from experiences and observations around Okinawa.
(1) Planes usually approach low and from behind land.
(2) Frequently pick on ships with weak fire power, often neglecting better targets.
(3) No one type of plane is being used; be on lookout for all types.
(4) Sometimes planes come in simultaneously from different angles, sometimes one plane stays away until all guns are in operation on targets and then comes in unopposed.
(5) Maintains steady course--concentrates fire power on one or two targets.
We went to GQ (General Quarters) at 2145, 2 Boogies on our screen. Chased off by night fighters.

April 12 GQ at 0100, Boogies on our screen, fighters got a MYRTE. We proceeded to rendezvous, met fleet oilers, Carriers & Cans; fueled. Many large air attacks over Picket Stations and the islands. 16 more ships damaged. 40 raids (consisting of 280 planes); 111 splashed by fighters, 43 destroyed by surface units.

April 13 Transferred men that we had picked up from sea back to their carrier. Later we blew up a floating mine (Believed to have been dropped by planes during night).

April 14 Left task group during night with USS Sangamon CV226 and went into KERAMA RETTO arriving there at 1000. Had GQ twice during the day. Departed from KERAMA RETTO at 1700. Soon after we left harbor it was attacked by 3 Jills. One Judy was shot down by USS Luce DD552.

April 15 At 0600 we arrived back out at our operating area. Ashore, the Marines, reinforced by the 1st and 6th Divisions have secured the northern half of the island with the exception of a few pockets of resistance. The Army in the southern half remained at a standstill. Ships and beachheads still under constant air attacks. USS Laffey DD742 hit by a Suicide.

April 16 Landings made on IE Shima. This is to be made into an airfield. Nine more ships hit.

April 17 Small pockets of resistance still remain on northern end of island. B-29's hit airfields in southern Kyushu. (Suicide plans are known to be operating from there).

April 18 Planes from our carrier group hit Sakashima again. A fighter director station was setup on the northern tip, air installations, landing strips, planes, etc.
Ernie Pyle was killed in IE SHIMA (machine gunned by Jap sniper.

April 19 An all-out assault took place on the southern end of island. Marines on one flank, Army on the other. A fake landing was staged to throw the Japs off. Very little dope today due to radio silence.

April 20 Ernie Pyle buried on IE SHIMA. No further dope from ashore.

April 21 13 air raids over islands and Picket Stations. Many ships hit, Army made gains up to 1400 yards in all out push.

April 22 No news from the island. USS Jefferies exploded a mine.

April 23 We departed from Carrier Task Force Group and proceeded to KERAMA RETTO, arriving there at 0900. We departed at 1700. Exploded a floating mine.

April 24 At 0800 we arrived back at our operating area and rejoined the carrier task force group.

April 25 Planes from our group again attacked SAKASHIMA.

April 26 Planes from our group again attacked SAKASHIMA. No information from the island.

April 27 A large air raid consisting of 50 planes attacked the island and Picket Stations, 25 were splashed by ships Ack Ack fire. No other dope.

April 28 A large air raid consisting of 200 planes attacked island and ships on Picket Stations and ships in transport areas. 96 were shot down over island. USS ZELLERS DD777 hit by a bomb and a plane (just reported today, may have happened sooner) USS WADSWORTH DD516 was hit by a suicide plane (no casualties). After sundown the USS COMFORT (HOSPITAL SHIP) was hit 50 miles off OKINAWA. She was all lit up and complying with all rules, but was attacked just the same. Many casualties.

April 29 Our task group bothered by reconnaissance planes. Fighters shot down two. After sundown we and the USS SUWANNEE CVE27 left the task force group and headed for KERAMA RETTO.

April 30 Arrived at KERAMA RETTO at 0700, fueled, carrier fuelled, armed, gassed, etc. We departed from harbor at 1500. Went SE to rejoin carrier task group.
Note: USS LONGSHAW DD559, USS ABELE DD733, USS DICKERSON APD21 were sunk during the month of April. As of now, I Don't know exact dates. USS NICHOLS DD49 was severely damaged by several suicide planes also.

May 1 Arrived at operating area. Passed mail to ships of the screen. Took our new Captain aboard. (James B. Weiler, Commander, USN)

May 2 Fueled from carriers. Transferred our old Captain (Pinky) M. G. Kennedy, Commander, USN by Breeches Buoy to the USS FULLAM DD474.

May 3 OKINAWA under numerous heavy air attacks. USS LUCE DD522 and the USS LITTLE DD802 were sunk. USS BIRMINGHAM CL62 was hit. 4 LSM's were also hit by suicide planes. All told, there were 18 raids that came in. After dark the USS SANGAMON CVE26, two Cans (USS FULLAM DD474 and USS HUDSON DD475) left the area and proceeded into KERAMA RETTO.

May 4 Many large raids today. A total of 168 Jap plans were destroyed (45 by Marine flyers, 57 by planes from TF 58, the rest by ships in the area). At dusk when the USS SANGAMON CVE26, USS HUDSON DD475, AND THE USS FULLAM DD474 were just outside the harbor at KERAMA RETTO, they were attacked by Suicide planes; they flew over the cans in an attempt to get the carrier. One plane crashed into the carrier's after end of the flight deck and exploded down in the hanger deck starting many small fires and causing considerable damage. the USS HUDSON DD475 came alongside to help fight the fires. She caused considerable damage to herself by bouncing off the side of the carrier and getting caught under the overhand of the flight deck tearing off her port side of the bridge, damaged all her port AA guns; she later went to GUAM for repairs. The USS SAGAMON CVE26 and the USS FULLAM DD474 rejoined us the next AM. USS MORRISON DD560 sunk by suicide plane.

May 5 The USS BLOCK ISLAND CVE106 joined our task force to replaced the damaged USS SANGAMON CVE26. We passed out mail and refueled

May 6 We passed mail to all ships in screen. OKINAWA under heavy air attacks today (15 raids)

May 7 Planes from our group hit SAKASHIMA again. After dark we left the task group accompanied by the USS CHENANGO CVE26, headed for KERAMA RETTO.

May 8 Arrived at KERAMA RETTO at 0800. Fueled. We were then detached from Task Group 51.6. We departed from KERAMA RETTO at 1300 and proceeded across channel to the transport area off OKINAWA (HAGUSHI ANCHORAGE) Reported to Screen Commander. Went to GQ (General Quarters) at sundown and remained there all night (19 raids).

May 9 Operated around transport area as AA screen.

May 10 Operating around OKINAWA. (Anchoring all day and patrolling off transport area at night). GQ at 0110; remained at GQ until 0600 May 11 (9 raids).

May 11 Went to GQ at 0900. Radar Picket Stations under heavy air attacks. (40 planes - - 26 splashed). USS EVANS DD552 was sunk, 145 men saved.

May 12 GQ set at 1800, one raid USS NEW MEXICO BB40 took a hit. We were sent out to Radar Picket #13 (AA Screen).

May 13 Took up anti-submarine patrol east of OKINAWA. Went to GQ at 1400 (turned out to be friendly planes). Island was under attack in afternoon. USS NEW MEXICO BB40 was hit by a suicide plane on the port wide amidships, knocking out all her secondary 5" AA guns, many casualties. Relieved from sub patrol. We proceeded on into KERAMA RETTO (Wiseman's Cove) for tender availability. Arrived 1700 went along side USS HAMUL AD20. Went to GQ at 1800. Radar Pickets under attack at north end of island. USS STERN DE187 and USS BACHE DD470 were damaged by suicide planes. (USS STERN splashed 3).

May 14 Went to GQ at 0310. USS FULLAM DD474 splashed an "OSCAR" that was attacking KERAMA RETTO. (We were alongside the tender and in the smoke screen and couldn't fire.) Range Finder being fixed by HAMUL. GQ again at 0630. OKINAWA under attack.

May 15 Underway from alongside USS HAMUL AD20 at 0800. Left Wiseman's Cove and reported to screen commander at OKINAWA. Took up AA screen off transport area. Big raids expected from west. GQ set at 1830. 4 raids came in. Fighter splashed 4 planes. 1 splashed by USS POWELL DD685 on Radar Picket #11.

May 16 Took up AA screen off Point Bolo. Several raids that night. We fired at 2 Sallies over Point Bolo (alt. 24,000) we expended 200 rounds 5". One plane flew over our bow missing us by a few yards.

May 17 Departed OKINAWA at 0600 and proceeded to Radar Picket Station #7 arriving at 0800. USS FOX DD779 was hit by a suicide plane at Station #9. Many large raids over OKINAWA.

May 18 Still on Radar Picket Station #7. Went to GQ at sundown and ramained there all night. Three planes splashed on Radar Picket Station #15. (USS STERN DE187 got 2 of them). Nine more were splashed over OKINAWA. USS LONGSHAW DD559 sunk by shore batteries.

May 19 Word was passed to expect large coordinated sub and air attacks. Lousy weather, visibility poor. Report proved to be false.

May 20 Relieved from Radar Picket Station #7 by USS FULLUM DD474. We reported to transport area and anchored. Later we took up AA screen between KERAMA RETTO AND OKINAWA, GQ at 1005. Planes proved to be friendly. GQ again at 1730 again, 3 raids over OKINAWA.

May 21 Relieved from AA screen and proceeded into Wiseman's Cove at KERAMA RETTO arriving at 0730. 35 planes raid over OKINAWA, 26 splashed. GQ again at 1730. Three raids over OKINAWA.

May 22 GQ set at 0630. All raids were in the northern area. 6 planes were splashed. Departed from Wiseman's Cove at 1700 and went to OKINAWA arriving there at 1840. Assigned to outer AA screen.

May 23 Relieved from AA screen and proceeded into anchorage off OKINAWA arriving at 1130. Assumed inner AA screen.

May 24 Anchored off OKINAWA all day. Underway at 1700 took up AA screen outside transport area. GQ sounds at 2100. It lasted until 0410 (May 25). All told a total of 158 planes came in during GQ. Nine ships were hit, 52 planes were splashed by ships, 89 shot down by fighters.

May 25 Still at GQ. We fired at 2 BETTYS over Point Bolo, one was damaged and started to come down in a long turn. He came near our fantail, crossed over and hit the water and blew up. Our 20 and 40 mm was firing at it and we received credit for it. Radar Picket Station #15 being attached by PT boats and subs. They sank 2 subs. Jap Suicide planes landed on airfield at IE SHIMA. They succeeded in damaging several planes around the air strip before they were all killed. Air strips on OKINAWA heavily bombed starting many fires (70,000 gallons gasoline, on OKINAWA) also the temporary Post Office was wiped out.) At 0245 we were hit by a Suicide plane. We were tracking a BOOGIE off our port quarter at 8 mi. We started to take in our anchor as it was coming in stern, began to swing to port. The 5" guns began to train to starboard so that when the stern finished swinging they would be on him again. We were silhouetted by the red glow of the fire ashore. We fired our 20 and 40 mm's;; we hit him, but not enough to stop him. As he neared the bridge he banked to the right,and as he did, his left wing hit our mast tearing down all our signal halyards. His wing broke off, his right wing tore down all our radio aerials, his fuselage bounced off No. 1 stack and he fell into the water off our starboard side of the midships 40 mm's. He exploded, showering the ship with fragments of the plane, bomb, and even parts of himself. (No casualties, many men were hit, but their KOPAK life jackets saved them). When later reports came in, we found out that 11 more ships had suffered some damage from Suicide planes that night. At 0400 we anchored off OKINAWA. Underway again at 0515 for AA screen off OKINAWA. Anchored off transport area at 1530.

May 26 Weather poor, low ceiling, etc. No. Raids.

May 27 Many raids from the north. RADAR PICKET STATION # 15 under constant attack. 2 APD''s sunk (USS BATES APD47). 1 gun boats were hit. YONTAN airfield on OKINAWA was heavily bombed all night. All ships in transport area in smoke screen the biggest part of the night.

May 28 YONTAN airfield bombed at 0230. We went to GQ. A RUFUS was splashed near us at 0600. Underway for KERAMA RETTO for repairs to our serials, etc. Arrived there at 0630. GQ at 2215. All ships made smoke. USS DREXLER DD741 sunk.

May 29. Still anchored off KERAMA RETTO. Adverse weather conditions. A reduced number of enemy aircraft in area. A few raids were made on some light units on screening stations. 2 ships were hit. 8 planes were splashed.

May 30 Still anchored in Wiseman's Cove repairing the serials. Wento to GQ once at 1700.

May 31 Underway at 1500 from KERAMA RETTO and went to transport area off OKINAWA arriving there at 1700. Anchored.
June 1 Underway at 0600. Proceeded to RADAR PICKET STATION #5 (40 miles +east of Point Bolo). Arrived there at 1030 and relieved the DAMS (RPM, USS GUEST DD472, USS FULLAM DD474, USS AMMEN DD527) GQ at 1200 (Friendly)

June 2 Still at RADAR PICKET STATION #5, one GQ at 0900 (Friendly)

June 3 Still at RADAR PICKET STATION #5. One GQ at 10 raids came in, 32 were splashed. (6 by our Cap.) No ships hit. We lost 2 planes by collision. (1 pilot was rescued). Early this morning 4 planes were splashed over the transport area and 8 more over the island.

June 4 Still at RADAR PICKET STATION #5. Weather very bad, typhoon reported. All RADAR PICKETS were called in. We left RP#5 at 1500 and went into NAKAGUSUKU WAN (harbor on east coast of OKINAWA) arriving there at 1500. Underway again at 1830 with 6 merchant ships to ride out the coming storm.

June 5 Storm missed OKINAWA area. We returned with merchantmen to NAKAGUSUKU WAN arriving there at 0730. Then we returned to RADAR PICKET STATION #5 arriving there at 0930.

June 6 Relieved by USS AULICK DD569 at 0200. Proceeded to KERAMA RETTO arriving at 0630. Fueled. Departed at 1500 reporting to Com. Task Force (Bombardment Group) at OKINAWA at 1700. Underway at 1800 to the southern end of OKINAWA to screen the bombardment group and to bombard. We anchored off NAHA at 2255. At 1400 RADAR PICKET STATION #5 was under attack: CAP shot down 4 planes. Station 11 was attacked, 2 more planes downed.

June 7 GQ sounded at 0320. Secured at 0410. Underway at 0500 to bombard. Commenced firing at 0855. Targets were 75mm gun emplacements hampering advances ashore. GQ at 2130. All raids were north of transport area and didn't bother us.

June 8 GQ at 0130. Secured at 0315. We are now attached to fire support group. Underway to bombard at 0530.

June 9 Underway at 0630 to bombard, expended 2000 rounds, then proceeded to KERAMA RETTO to rear. Departed from KERAMA RETTO at 1600 and returned to bombardment area in the southern end of OKINAWA, arriving there at 1800.

June 10 Underway from bombardment area at 1500. Arrived at transport area at 1615. Left transport area at 1915 and returned to the southern end to bombard again. Arrived at 2045. RADAR PICKET STATION #15 under heavy attacks all day. One destroyer, the USS W. D. PORTER DD579 took a near miss. She broke in half. Three hours later she sank.

June 11 At 00530 we left the bombardment group and went to KERAMA RETTO arriving at 0800. Re-armed and left at 1630 returning to the bombardment group. Arrived at 1800.

June 12 At 0530 we left the bombardment group and went to transport area. Arrived at 0650. At 1600 we left the transport area and returned to the southern end, arriving there at 1800.

June 13 Departed from southern end of OKINAWA at 0500 and went north. Met some LSTs off the transport area and escorted them to IYEMA SHIMA (36 miles off the NW end of OKINAWA.) LST's were to evacuate tanks and personnel from island. We arrived at 100 and patrolled all day waiting for the LST's to finish. Several air raids over OKINAWA. LST's didn't finish today.

June 14 Still patrolling off IYEMA SHIMA. Underway from IYEMA SHIMA at 1530. We arrived in transport area of OKINAWA at 2200.

June 15 Anchored off OKINAWA. GQ at 0400. At 1500 underway for the southern end to bombard again. Arrived there at 1600. Left there at 1630 and went to KERAMA RETTO. Arrived there at 1730.

June 16 (USS TWIGGS DD591 relieved us in the bombardment group and tonight she was hit by an aerial torpedo blowing off the bow, killing all Officers and Chiefs except the CPHM The plane that launched the fish then crashed into the ship sinking it. Only about 100 men survived).

June 17 Underway at 100. Went along USS CASCADE AD16 outboard of the USS AULICK DD569.

June 18 Still alongside USS CASCADE. Many air raids over OKINAWA.
Thanks to Roy Dickson
Mission Viejo, CA
for this log.
Jan. 2, 2000

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