Contributors Page


Subject: Re: Archives of USS Bennett D-473
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 20:19:43 EDT

I just returned from the National Archives at the University of Maryland campus. They house all Military records of the US Navy as well as the Army and Marine Corps. I was able to obtain all casualty lists and ship logs for the USS Bennett with regard to April 7, 1945. I will forward a story under separate cover for your web page (Bennett DD-473 ). This was the day my uncle John Austin was killed in action.

John Harold Austin, KIA Apr 7, 1945
Kamikazi Plane off Okinawa. John Austin was a Water Tender in Forward Fireroom or Engine Room. 600lb psi steam line reuptured releasing 535 degree steam.
Photo from George N., Austin, Jr, Nephew

George Austin
PS --- Atttached is Casualty Report from 7 April 1945 when Bennett Got his by Suicide Planes.


This was SECRET- Declassified 4-18-02
ServPac CasForm 4

Kind of Action:----- Hit by two Japanese Suicide Aircraft - Ref: SD/4/070755
Place of Action:-- Ryukyu Retto------------------------------------------ SD/4/072345 SD/4/071830
Extent of Damage: - Major----------------------------------------------- SD/4/180231 SD/4/090330
Location of Survivvors: -------------------------------------------------- SD/4/090302
Casualtiesd:--------D 7 ----- M - C - W - 14 --------------------------- SD/4/091205


At about 0830 on 7 April 1945, while enployed in operations in the Okinawa area, th BENNETT was attacked by a Japanese suicide aircraft (Val) which crashed into the ship forward just above the water line on the starboard side. The plane carried a bomb which penetrated the shell plating and exploded in the forward fire room, badly damaging equipment, decks and bulkheads with ahraapnel. The shell plating in the area where the plane struck was holed both above and below the water line in addition to being badly wrenkled and buckled. With the exception of two men who received shrapnel wounds (were topside when the plane struck), all casualties suffered burns from escaping steam which filled the fire and engine rooms when lines were severed by the explosion of the bomb. The dead were transferred ashore for burial on Kerama Retto; the wounded to the U.S.S. CRESCENT CITY (APH-21) for treatment and dispossition.

USS BENNETT (DD472) - Date of Action 7 April 1945


Subject: Re: Bennett All: New Crew Photo page - Then and Now
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 19:56:09 EDT

Thanks for your recent note and your excellent work on your webpage.

With great sadness I should let you know that my father Bob Lawson passed away suddenly at his home in Tennessee on 5 April 2001. He was buried with full military honors befitting a proud WW II Veteran.

Among the many things I am thankful for is the chance I had to hear him talk about his days on the BENNETT. With my own research and the help of sites like yours I had the chance to make those days of his youth come alive again.

Regarding your request for before and after shots I am attaching several photos of dad and family for your web site. Also I have come across several BENNETT related photos that I will send to you when I have time to process them. Please let me know if you need any help with the photos or info.

All the best,
Randy Lawson

Subject: USS BENNETT "Lucky"
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 21:22:51 EST

Thank you for your excellent site, and all the information you have helped to gather concerning USS BENNETT and the brave men who served her well.

I find it so amazing to now talk to sons of the men who were my father's shipmates all those years ago.

My father is Bob Lawson and ,as you know, he served on the ship as a Fireman 2C from 1943-1945.

Attached is a photo of a man I know only as "Lucky." He served on the BENNETT and was one of the men killed in the engine room as a result of the 7 April 45 kamikaze attack. Dad has told me stories of their friendship. "Lucky's" real name has been lost to the years. now I am trying to find out who he was and see if he has family.

My research shows 3 men killed on BENNETT that day; John Austin, Fredrick E. Donelle, and Joseph F. Mullholland. I know that it was not Mr. Austin, as I have been in touch with his family and they didn't recognize the photo.

Do you have suggestions on how we might do this on your site?

Thanks so much,
Randy Lawson

Do you know who I am? - Tell Randy
Click on the photo for a larger version.


Subject: Crew member USS BENNETT
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1999 13:29:11 EST
From: Bill Kickler

Would like to know if you have any crew info such as photos, log entries for the Bennett, circa 1944-45?

My dad, Charles J. Kickler, served aboard at that time and I would like to get some info for him.

Am including photo of him on leave 1944. Maybe someone would remember him? If so, would like to hear from them.

Thank you,
"Bill Kickler"
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

My Dad, Charles J. Kickler
On Bennett 1944-1945

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Links to other pages.

BENNETT Photo Album
Mike Wright Crew Photo Page
BENNETT Email Addresses