8:18 | Following the repair of the USS Chicago, they would return to the South Pacific to continue fighting in the Guadalcanal Campaign. Jesse Linam describes the Battle of Rennell Island and the devastating losses when the ship was hit by multiple torpedos.
Keywords : Torpedo Japanese pilot bomber sink overboard shark rescue
Jesse Linam, like many WWII veterans, had a tough childhood. Growing up through the Depression, there were not a lot of opportunities for a young man, so before the war even started Jesse had joined the Navy which would put him face to face with history.
The USS Chicago was lucky to be out on gunnery practice on the day of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Jesse Linam recalls being stateside for Range Finder training during that time, only to return to the ship and a devastated Pearl Harbor.
Early in the war, the USS Chicago would join the ANZAC Squadron, a fleet made up of ships from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Jesse Linam remembers sailing to Guadalcanal and supporting the 1st Marine Division in their assault of the island.
Jesse Linam tells the story of the Battle of Savo Island where the bow of the USS Chicago was struck by a torpedo. Despite the damage, they carried on in fighting, and Jesse tells the tragic fate of their CPT Bode.
After the Battle of Savo Island, Jesse Linam and the crew sailed the wounded USS Chicago back for repairs. After a brief time away from the war, they'd be back to sea.
Jesse Linam's life at sea was far from over after the sinking of the USS Chicago. Upon rescue, they'd be given medical treatment and sent back to the states. He had hoped to be reassigned to the European Theater for a chance to fight the Germans, but the winds blew him from Newport News, VA to the Panama Canal and he was on his way back to the Pacific Theater.
As the war raged on in the Pacific, U.S. forces were trying valiantly to take over as many islands as they could from the Japanese. Jesse Linam found himself a witness to the carnage of the Marshall Islands Campaign where many men lost their lives on the beaches. From the sea, they could support them by bombarding the islands, but it was often so close he was worried they'd hit their own men.
Two weeks after his discharge, Marine Braswell Deen entered the University of Georgia law school, and two weeks after he graduated, he was running for office. After decades of public service, he still thinks about those nights on Peleliu.
They told Clyde Burnette that if he enlisted instead of waiting for the draft, he could pick his specialty school. He held out for aircraft maintenance school while they tried to make him accept others, and was soon training as an engineer and gunner on heavy bombers.
Charles White was a "90 Day Wonder" out of Ft. Benning when he shipped out to the European theater. Right away, the fresh Lieutenant was cold, wet, and miserable. At the Maginot Line, he had to take over his company when the captain was shot.
Don Scott explains why he celebrates the second day of May every year. It was that day in 1945 when British soldiers found him on the road in a forced march of Allied prisoners. The guards had fled and soon there were happy men walking west toward relief.
Florence Fattig, a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps, goes into detail about how front line field hospitals worked, what kinds of injuries they saw, and the role she played in treating injured soldiers in Europe during World War II.
Don Scott's fateful mission started out badly for him at his radio operator's position. As soon as the B-17 was aloft, his first duty was to power up the classified identification unit, which had a self destruct charge. The charge went off causing a minor fire. They pressed on to the target and successfully dropped their payload and then came the flak. Part 1 of 3.
The ball turret was "the worst torture chamber ever," according to Clyde Burnette. He was very happy when the bombing mission didn't call for it and he could man a waist gun instead. Wherever he was positioned in the plane, it was cold, so cold that layer upon layer of clothing was necessary.
After the interrogation, Don Scott never saw his crew mates again. In fact, when he got to the Stalag, he was assigned to a barracks full of British prisoners. He became very good friends with the British and way too familiar with potatoes, and black bread.
During long flights at high altitudes, Kindem and his squadron had to go to extra lengths to preserve oxygen. One particular mission, a group of Germans with an old American plane tried to join Kindem's formation and faced the consequences.
They knew that the time was close. Equipment was being loaded. Then they were bused to a highly secured camp near an air field. Canadian paratrooper Dennis Trudeau had trained hard and now he was told his mission. His targets were in a small town just inland from the Normandy coast and he would be in the first wave. (This interview made possible with the support of SUZANNE & RALPH HUDGENS honor of Malcom Skinner.)
Lewis Fern recounts his responsibilities as jump master when parachuting into Sicily amongst intense gunfire. They include coordinating with the crew chief, giving instructions to Pilot Brown, preparing his men for the imminent jump, instructing the Assistant Division Commander to jump with them, and regrouping with his men once on the ground.
A backlog of mail from home was hurting morale in the European theater, so the WAC's Postal Battalion was organized to go overseas to redirect the mail to the soldiers. Gladys Brumfield had always wanted to be in the military, so she answered the call and, after training, she shipped out to Birmingham, England.
Hubert Aaron was drafted in 1943 and after a short stop in North Africa, his unit joined the push into Southern Italy. Soon he was celebrating his twentieth birthday in combat. He recalls diving into the mud in a cabbage patch as the bullets punctured the vegetables all around.
He was there when Dachau was liberated, but a more emotional experience for Howard Margol occurred on a convoy of several thousand Jewish camp survivors being taken to luxury resorts high in the Austrian Alps. Even though they were only 20 minutes away from their destination, it was sundown on Friday and they all got out and sat down on the side of the road.
The atomic bombs had ended the war and B.E.Vaughan had the experience he'd hoped for, sailing into Tokyo Bay in dress blues. The things he'd seen haunt him to this day and he wonders how it was that he lived and others died. He recalls the moment when, as a typhoon bore down on his ship, he decided he was ready to die and it was OK.
When the advance across North Africa began, the French were fighting with the Germans, recalls Ed LaPorta. That soon changed and the Nazis' other allies, the Italians, had no heart for the fight. It was still a struggle, and as German planes strafed mercilessly, LaPorta went to the aid of a wounded man.
An enlisted man in a tank usually had no idea where he was, but Arnold Mathias knew he was at the Siegfried line because of the sawtooth obstacles and bunkers. Warning a group of teen boys away from the bunkers, he engaged them in conversation and was highly amused before it was over.
The score from the color-coded bullet hits on the target showed he had no hits, until they found out the scorer was color blind, recalls B-24 gunner Clyde Burnette. He was on a model crew, held back to wait on new aircraft, but the men got tired of waiting and volunteered for combat. It got his attention when he was designated a ball turret gunner, yet never saw a ball turret in training, even as he arrived in England.