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Another Invasion

Jan. 1, 1945

Hi Honey:

Left Manus, guess we are going to make an invasion some place.

There are 17 C.V.G’s. with us and 3 Battleships, fifteen Destroyers and four cruisers. Nice way to start out the New Year.

I am going to start out the New Year by loving you twice as much. I am going to wait until we get someplace and continue.

Escort carriers were smaller and more numerous versions of the big aircraft carriers.

“CVG” is in reference to carrier battle groups.  Aircraft carriers had superseded battleships as the premier naval power during WW2.  During the battle of Luzon, there were 6 escort carrier, not 17.
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Preparing for Luzon Invasion

Jan. 3, 1945

Darling Kay:

We have arrived back to Pogie Junction (Philippines) and are going to pick up some more ships and make an invasion on Luzon. They claim there will be twice as many men and material in this invasion. There are so many different kinds of ships with us now it is hard to count them all. We are going to need them too.

One plane crashed about 100 yards in front of a cruiser.

PBY CATALINA AMPHIBIAN FLYING BOATS over the U.S. invasion fleet in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon

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Kamikaze Planes All Around

Jan. 4, 1945

Kay my Dearest:

We were awakened with Air Defense at 03 :45. I guess they were just looking us over as they stayed quite far away.

Our Captain, called us together and told us what we were going to bombard and also all the targets. So I guess we will start shooting day after tomorrow. We are going to bombard for 4 days steady. We will probably have an air attack tonight. Our planes shot down one plane this morning.

Well, it’s eight-thirty at night and there was plenty of action aound here for a while. One Jap plane crash dived into one of our C.V.E’s. and Boy!  It really hit it. The whole flight deck is on fire. It was about 1000 yards ahead of us.

We are now going up along side of it. We passsed a lot of fellows in the water. We were going too fast to pick them up. They have passed the word to abandon ship.

We can see sailors throwing ammunition over the side.

There are about 8 planes on the flight deck. There is so much fire they can’t take off.

We can now see the sailors jumping off the ship. There are 4 Cans, standing by to pick them up.

Ever since she was first hit ,we could hear her ammunition shooting off. The Carrier is really burning now, the planes on the flight deck are all burning.

The Ommaney Bay Burning

She is not listing it’s just burning. We can see the hot metal running off the ship now, you can tell how hot the fire is.

About 2 hours later a plane dived into one of our Tin Cans and we can see it burning in the distance. It looks like it is about 5 miles away.

They just shot down another plane and it is burning on the beach.

Stayed on my gun all night again.

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We Are Getting Ready To Move Into Lingayen Gulf. The Mine Sweepers Are In The Lead

Jan. 6, 1945

Hi Darling:

We are now in sight of land. The Chaplain, said we were within seeing distance of Bataan, last night.

All the ships are in battle formation and we are getting ready to move into Lingayen Gulf. The mine sweepers are in the lead sweeping the Gulf of all the mines that might be there.

Minesweepers were small, fast ships which had special equipment to get rid of mines.

I am beginning to get pretty nervous. Never can tell when the Japs may start shooting at us. Our first firing will be on San Fernando as it has a lot of warehouses and gasoline dumps there.

Just before we got there we saw a freighter burning. Flames were shooting hundreds of feet in the air. Dive bombers sank it. We have now spotted another tanker. It looks like it is right close to the beach. The New Mexico, has opened fire on it, they are getting close but not close enough. Now a Cruiser at our stern has began to fire and they can’t hit it. I guess they will have to let a good ship shoot at it. It is reported that the tanker has been beached. I sure am disappointed in the navy. But I’ll tell you more when I get home.

We are just about to our target.

We have opened up and are hitting our target. Now all ships opened fire and there are several fires on the beach.

Here come 6 Jap planes. The ships have all stopped bombarding and are firing at the planes. The New Mexico is just ahead of us and a Jap plane is going to crash dive her. They are shooting and we are shooting. The plane hit the yard arm on the port side. The whole side of the ship is covered with fire.

Now the fire is out, casualities amount to 50 men.

The USS New Mexico being hit be a Kamikaze

All the ships are really close together. A plane is diving at the Mississippi, but they blew the plane to pieces before it hit them.

Here are some more planes flying overhead. Our ship and a couple more were shooting at them.  Three of them are ours and one Jap. The Jap plane crashed but  they kept right on shooting at our planes. There were none shot down. I can see another plane diving into a Cruiser. There is another plane flying close to the water and all ships are firing at it but he got away.

There is so much going on that I can hardly remember all that I have seen.

We have started bombarding again and are setting more fires.

We also had another attack, 2 planes shot down.

We bombarded again and then went back to sea.

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We Are Going Clear In, Within A Few Thousand Yards Of The Beach

Jan. 7, 1945

My Darling Kay:

We are headed back in again as we never bombarded San Fernando.  Today we are going clear in, within a few thousand yards of the beach. I am kinda worried that the Japs might start shooting at us.

We were the second ship to open fire. We are firing 16-inch armor piercing shells. In fact that is the only knid we have in 16-inch.

With the glasses I can see a lot of little houses on the beach.

We are not going to shoot as much as we did at Leyte. We don’t want to get caught short of ammunition as we did before. The ships will take turns firing. We will fire for a couple of hours then another ship will fire for awhile.

We had an air attack and one plane crashed into an Australian Cruiser. If it had been a little higher it would have missed them. It hit one of the stacks.

I guess I will be up most of the night again.

Australian cruiser hit by Japanese kamikaze, as seen from the USS West Virginia

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