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The Divine Wind Begins to Blow – Kamikaze Attacks

Sat. Oct 28, 1944

Hello Darling:

Air attack this morning. Air Combat Patrol shot down 4 planes.

Air attack at 08:00 – one Jap plane was hit and it crash dived into the superstructure of the California. The bomb it was carrying exploded and scattered parts of the plane and the frantic pilot all over the ship and the water. The radar and some other minor damage but by some miracle none of the crew were injured.

The California, was in formation about 1000 yards to our port quarter.

Another plane (this one was not hit) attempted the same trick on the Cruiser Louisville, but missed and crashed into the water. How Nice.

The Louisville was hit by Kamikaze attacks 3 months later.

Late October of 1944 was when Kamikaze attacks started to become more prevalent.  Due to the destruction of most of the Japanese navy during the battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese high command realized that nothing stood between America’s naval forces and Japan.  Therefore, Japanese suicide attacks become Japan’s final option.  Read more about the the historical significance of Kamikazes here.

Oh! Where is our ammunition?

P38 ‘s and P61’ s are up today. Hurrah, for the Army Air Combat. The Army must have Laclomb Airfield serviceable.

P38 Lightning (Left) and P61 Black Widow (Right) were land based craft. The Sea Bees were able to repair or create air bases at an amazing rate, providing much needed support.

All hands are a working party unloading empty 5-inch brass onto the lighter~ (All except me).

Maybe we will take on ammunition soon — I hope.

Signed Payroll, morale rising. Signed for money you can’t spend.

Air attack at sunset. Shot down 2 planes.

Where in the devil is the ammunition?

Weather is hot again same as usual.

Tokyo Rose, claims they sank the West Virginia. Again? I guess we have nine lives. She also says the Jap fleet was defeated at Surigao Strait. Claims their losses were light.

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Two More Jap Planes Were Shot Down

Nov. 29, 1944


Air Defense again this morning and two more Jap planes were shot down. We didn’t get to shoot at these either, too far away.

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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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The Can is hitting the water just in front or them throwing up a big wall of water. They got one of them.

Jan. 9, 1945

My Sweet:

We are up at 3 :30 a.m.  Today is the day all the troops will land. And it is a good thing. If they don’t get the troops in there soon we won’t have any ships left.

There are 8 torpedo planes coming from the port side and I can see them all. They are flying about ten feet of the water and they are going like hell. The ships between us and the planes are shooting at them. Now we are shooting at them.

There are 2 planes going straight towards a Tin Can. The Can is hitting the water just in front or them throwing up a big wall of water. They got one of them.

This is an interesting phenomenon that I cannot find any record of anywhere else, that is, hitting the water in front of the attacking Japanese plane and letting the water destroy the plane.

Right now there is a Val crash diving the Mississippi. ‘There are several ships tiring at it besides ourselves. It hit the Mississippi, on the starboard side and it is burning like the devil.

USS Mississippi

There is so much going on I can’t see it all. In all I saw six of the planes shot down and I think there were two ships that were hit. The California was also hit.

We are now shelling the beach for the troops. Honey, I never saw so many ships. They are all over the horizon. I can’t begin to count them. I’ll bet there are 200 of them.

Now the troops are in their  L. S. I.’s and are headed for the beach. In the first wave there must be 100 of them.

Men landing on shore at Luzon

We have changed to rapid fire in fact all the ships have now. The small boats are now shooting and straffing the beach. There are some rocket ships also shelling the beach and they are really doing a good job.

The troops landed 5 minutes late. It is now 9:35 a.m.

Our job is now about done. All we are doing now is waiting for the Army to get a better hold.

The Army has been on the beach for half an hour and finally received some mortar  fire and they have sent their tanks in after them.

The Army have asked us to shoot a couple of salvos at a pillbox. We knocked it out. (Hurray)

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